On today’s show we are talking about how cities are getting pressure to perform better when it comes to turning around zoning and building

Many cities have earned a terrible reputation for being bureaucratic nightmares when it comes to getting a zoning application approved, or a site plan application, and in some cases a building application approved.

Most cities have recognized that a new zoning application is complex and requires a multi-disciplinary approach. For that reason, most cities offer an informal pre-consultation meeting. This gives a developer the opportunity to get feedback from all of the city departments in a single one hour meeting. There will be the planning department, utilities, fire department, police department, streets department, the parks department, maybe even the local school district.  

Having gone through countless of these meetings I can tell you that they are helpful compared with no pre-consultation, but they fall far short of what is ultimately needed. Cities have a job to do and they can’t spend a ton of time in meetings with developers on projects that are still at the concept stage. Who knows if these projects will ever see the light of day?

I can tell you also from first hand experience, that cities often suffer from indecision that looks like moving goal posts from the perspective of the developer. In fact, I can’t think of a single application before a city that has not experienced moving goal posts. By moving goal posts, what I mean is that you get feedback from the planning department telling you what it will take to get your application approved. You hold your round-table pre-consultation meeting with all of the city department. Then you submit the application and the feedback from the city is full of surprises.


Host: Victor Menasce

email: podcast@victorjm.com