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Thread: Should developers stick to thier plans? Need resources

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    Cyburbian ABS's avatar
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    Should developers stick to thier plans? Need resources

    Hello all. I've got a debate coming up for uni where I need to argue that developers should stick to their plans. Does anyone have any links to websites that argue for this?

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ABS
    Hello all. I've got a debate coming up for uni where I need to argue that developers should stick to their plans. Does anyone have any links to websites that argue for this?
    simple answer is yes. In my municipality here in the US, the plans which the elected officials approved for the development legally bind the developer to following the plans. If they don't follow the apporved plans, then they are in violation of their approval, and work can be stopped to make correction.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    simple answer is yes. In my municipality here in the US, the plans which the elected officials approved for the development legally bind the developer to following the plans. If they don't follow the apporved plans, then they are in violation of their approval, and work can be stopped to make correction.
    Same in New Hampshire, except it's the Planning Board that approves all development plans.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    [devil's advocate]Well, let me take the counterpoint, just to keep the debate going . . . .

    Often times the approved plans SUCK. The overall development concept is cookie-cutter crap created without significant consideration to the actual property. Even fairly detailed site plans can require modification once the construction work has begun. In fast-growing areas, conditions outside of, but related to, the proposed porject can change mid-process (adjoining properties suddenly developed, infrastructure work is surprisingly required, etc.) And, not all the changes to the plans are necessarily bad for the city. In my experience, changes after plans are approved are often beneficial to the city.

    How about if there are things that the developer should "stick to", it should be clearly indicated in the local regulations and/or the specific plan approval. Then, everything else can be modified, with appropriate review.[/devil's advocate]
    JOE ILIFF
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  5. #5
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Joe Iliff

    [devil's advocate]Well, let me take the counterpoint, just to keep the debate going . . . .

    Often times the approved plans SUCK. The overall development concept is cookie-cutter crap created without significant consideration to the actual property. Even fairly detailed site plans can require modification once the construction work has begun. In fast-growing areas, conditions outside of, but related to, the proposed porject can change mid-process (adjoining properties suddenly developed, infrastructure work is surprisingly required, etc.) And, not all the changes to the plans are necessarily bad for the city. In my experience, changes after plans are approved are often beneficial to the city.

    How about if there are things that the developer should "stick to", it should be clearly indicated in the local regulations and/or the specific plan approval. Then, everything else can be modified, with appropriate review.[/devil's advocate]
    Sure, some minor field changes are often necessary....but in my experience, if you give too much leeway, the end product often sucks.

    Our Planning Board approves the construction plans for every project. All the details have to be ironed out on all aspects of the construction before the Board signs the plans (signed plans are required to pull any permits). Our Board is extremely particular on architectural and site design.....so what the Planning Board approves goes. If field changes go beyond simple administrative changes, then the plans go back to the Planning Board for another hearing.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    While minor changes to plans may be accepted, any significant changes should be required to gain some approval from the municipality. That is not to say that the plan needs to be resubmitted through an approval process. For example, when engineering plans for a new road and underground infrastructure are approved, it is not possible to completely know all of the underground conditions. If bedrock is found close to the surface during construction, then maybe a modification to the plan would be warranted, and could be simply approved by the city engineer. I do not think that anyone would advocate, however, letting the developer substitute a five-story commercial building on a residential lot.
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    Cyburbian Plus
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    From our city Zoning Ordinance:
    (C) Improvement location permits: revocation and voiding.
    (1) An improvement location permit may be revoked after at least ten days written notice, if the conditions of the zoning code requirements and/or the conditions of the permit are not met.
    (2) An improvement location permit is void if construction has not been started or the use has not been established within six months of the date of issuance.
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner
    Sure, some minor field changes are often necessary....but in my experience, if you give too much leeway, the end product often sucks.

    Our Planning Board approves the construction plans for every project. All the details have to be ironed out on all aspects of the construction before the Board signs the plans (signed plans are required to pull any permits). Our Board is extremely particular on architectural and site design.....so what the Planning Board approves goes. If field changes go beyond simple administrative changes, then the plans go back to the Planning Board for another hearing.
    My esteemed (and well-educated) colleague is entirely correct. In these kind of matters, I stick to the old addage "Pick your fights." Hold to you guns on the things you really need and/or want. On everything else, being flexible can (but doesn't always) improve a project. (This probably depends on your confidence in the pre-approval review.) Staff probably has some autonomy. If plans are approved by a board or council, signifcant changes need to go back to them.
    JOE ILIFF
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    Martin Luther King, Jr.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    We just had a case where a parking lot was located 5 feet off from what the plan said. Our ZBA said no to the variance and that they have to stick to the plan that was approved by the Planning Commission.

    I am a firm believer that the plan that is approved by the PC is what is expected. Thus, that is what should be built. If the developer want’s something else... then go back to the PC to amend the plan.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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