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Development Approval Process


Construction developments generally follow a similar path on their way to final approval. The first decision a developer must make, and one that can have lasting ramifications throughout the process, is site selection. Choosing a proper location for the development requires taking into account a multitude of factors, not the least of which is the property's zoning designation, density requirements, access, and existing covenants running with the land. It must be determined which governing entity holds the power of regulation over the development. For example, what entity will be making the zoning decisions concerning the development property?


The next stage in gaining approval for the development is ensuring the availability of public facilities such as water and sewer systems. If the local governing body is unable to extend such facilities, the development will likely be denied. After the availability of public facilities has been certified or the developer has completed its due diligence duties in investigating and determining that such facilities will be available, the next step is usually rezoning. Rezoning requires that both the city or county planning commission, or its equivalent, and the city or county itself approve the rezoning. A public hearing is generally held before final approval is given.


A review of the development plans occurs next, which includes perusal of the development concept, construction phases, and location of the phases. More detailed plans will be submitted for approval later. The next hurdle a developer faces is review on both the state and federal levels. These reviews are utilized to determine the development's impact on conservation areas, air quality, traffic, and the like.

The developer will next submit a preliminary subdivision plat that identifies every lot in the subdivision with the dimensions for each. A final plat is then submitted, which generally matches the preliminary submission. If the local governing body requires the developer to make certain public improvements, arrangements for completing the same will be made at this time. The final plat is thereafter recorded in the land records. The developer can then proceed with the sale of individual lots, if that is its intention.


The permitting phase begins with the health inspector determining the necessity of a septic tank permit. Next, building permits are obtained. Finally, after construction is completed and final approval received, the developer will obtain the certificate of occupancy.

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Individuals involved should consult with legal professionals for specific guidance tailored to their circumstances.


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