Entitlement & Permitting

Community Outreach and Communications

The commercial real estate development process is one that not only involves active parties, but impacts the surrounding communities and businesses as well. The goal of community outreach during commercial development is to keep a projects neighbors informed of the proposed development plans, including benefits, potential rezoning, community impact, etc. The ultimate goal is to inform and hopefully improve community sentiment for the project’s approval while taking consideration for their input.

Municipality Submittal and Review

In order for projects to become realities, they must first get the approval of the appropriate municipal and government entities. Submittal and review often entails the following:

Zoning Review
Zoning review is meant to ensure the compliance with standards and provisions set by each municipality, while encouraging quality development. It’s intended to encourage the most appropriate use of the land, enhance aesthetic value, and facilitate adequate provision of transportation, schools, parks, and other public requirements.

Site Plan Review
A detailed site plan is submitted, along with associated documents to particular government departments, agencies, utility companies, etc. for review and initial comments. The purpose of the review is to address how the particular development is designed and to address any issues related to public safety, water supply, sewage disposal, utilities, traffic, emergency access, public obstructions, and a variety of other elements.  

Design Review
Provide architectural building elevations, landscape plans, and drawings related to design principles and meeting the aesthetic requirements.

Once the site plan and design are approved during design review process, you are generally allowed to submit construction drawings for review by the building department.

City Entitlement Process

Before a project can commence, you must be granted permission from local regulatory agencies and the community. It is crucial to be prepared for this stage of the development process, as you may be asked many questions from city planners, local residents, and government leaders.

Examples of Entitlement can be:

  • Rezoning
  • Zoning Variances
  • Use permits
  • Utility approvals
  • Road approvals
  • Landscaping

City Council or City Planning Commission Approval
Oftentimes, new commercial development must first receive approval from city council, city planning commission, or some municipal body. Working with, and gaining approval from the city’s planning department generally allows for a planning commission or city council to approve the project at a formal public hearing. However, not all projects need the official approval of a city council or planning commission.

Public Hearing
A public hearing will take place for local property owners and residents, in order to hear feedback on the proposed commercial development. Any individual or community group including a neighborhood council has the right to speak on the proposed project.

Construction Drawings/Building Plan Submittal

Once a project receives approval from the city planning commission or city council, you move into construction drawing/building plan submittal with the building department.

The municipality will then review the plan for compliance with the approved preliminary site plan, project conditions of approval, the required building plan checklist, and all applicable codes and ordinances. The site planner reviews the site plan for final approval with the building plans.

Building Permits Approval/Issuance

Once plans have been reviewed during the usual rounds of the review process, and determined to be in compliance with the city/municipality codes, building permits are then issued. These permits give the developer authority to start construction work and allows for appropriate inspections to be performed.