Special Feature

Ten Things You Should Know About Project Applicants

April 16th, 2014

See Patrick Fox's previous article on PlannersWeb, Ten Things You Should Know About How the Public Feels About Development. Next week, Patrick will wrap up his short series by considering Ten Things You Should Know About Project Opponents.

After more than 30 years specializing in land use politics across the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, including thousands of controversial land use fights working with developers, neighborhood groups, and stakeholders of all sorts, The Saint Consulting Group has been involved in development approvals in virtually every industry.

Here is some of what we think planning commissioners should know about project applicants.

Winning businessman standing on a pedestal1. They have got to win this approval. The business men and women who appear before your commissions and boards seeking approvals are under tremendous pressure to succeed. They need to win approval. Careers are made and fortunes lost on these endeavors. The stakes are high for their companies and for them personally.

2. Responsible developers care about their reputations and will work hard to make a project work for everyone. If an applicant does not follow through on promises or acts in disreputable ways, it follows them and infects future projects. With social networking and the internet, these stories are seized upon by opponents to every future project.

One of the most powerful testimonials is that of a local board member or elected official who will attest that a developer was true to his word.

One of the most powerful testimonials is that of a local board member or elected official who will attest that a developer was true to his word and followed through on all of his promises when they successfully completed the process in their community.

3. All developers are not responsible. There are fly by night, disreputable, one shot deal developers who are looking to turn a quick buck. They might say or do anything to win an approval but it’s a long term losing strategy. You can usually count on the larger retailers and developers to be professional and highly motivated to work with you. With the other guys, check them out carefully and lock in what you can.

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