What should I do before starting a land development project?
As a land developer in British Columbia, you probably already know that you can take no steps forward with your project before you have a plan. In fact, since there are numerous aspects of land development, you will likely create multiple plans. Of course, before beginning the planning of your project, you must first consider the many laws and regulations that govern the process of development.
Land development is not as easy as purchasing property and constructing buildings on it. There are zoning laws, land use regulations and environmental impacts to consider. You might also face resistance from members of the surrounding community. Whether you are planning to create a residential subdivision or a commercial district, your best chances for success will include careful planning and attention to development standards.
Community and economic development plans
The residential or commercial development of land will invariably affect the local community. Some of these impacts will be positive, such as the potential for attracting new businesses, creating jobs or improving infrastructure. In order to ensure your development adds only positive factors to the community, you will start by creating a community plan. This plan will build on any existing official plans for the community and will address such issues as:
- The economic goals and strategies of the community
- Steps you will take to protect the environment and its resources
- The kinds of investments or businesses your development will attract
- The creation of new jobs
- Other goals and the tools you will provide for reaching them
One challenging aspect of your plan will be convincing the community of the value of your project and building consensus for moving forward with it. You will likely meet with members of the community to hear their opinions and assess ways to include them in your vision.
Complying with zoning codes
Of course, any project that violates local and provincial zoning laws will have great difficulty proceeding. Zoning laws regulate the way one can use certain land, even if it is privately owned. You would be wise to find and review the zoning bylaws for the land you plan to develop. This way, you will know if you have the authority to continue with your project or if you will need to take additional steps to obtain that authority.
As complex as this may sound, many find that their projects go much more smoothly when they seek the input and guidance of legal professionals who have extensive knowledge and experience working with developers through every phase of the process.