The city planning department or city planning commission serves two main functions: to write and enforce municipal codes like zoning, subdivision and land development, and to prepare comprehensive plans. Code enforcement is executed primarily through the approval of development plans. If elements of your plan conflict with the community's stated code or don't conform to the image the community has of itself, approval of plans could be delayed or denied outright.
To ease the city planning department approval process of your development plans, it's a good idea to know:
- The zoning district in which you want to build and the district's regulations regarding land use, setback and building dimensions.
- The extent to which the community's subdivision and land development ordinance could restrict any elements of your design and delay plan approval.
- Whether your project is compatible with the community's comprehensive urban regional planning.
Hire an expert in urban planningUrban planning consultants are employees of an urban planning company that can perform studies to help you better understand the limits and opportunities of the local environment and economic market. They provide design services to adapt your vision to fit within those constraints or to take advantage of various opportunities you may not be aware of, such as access to transportation or economic redevelopment tax credits made available through urban regional planning programs.
Meet with members of the community for city planning feedbackPopular support can be an effective means of getting a project approved. Charrettes are intense work sessions held at public gatherings and open houses to solicit input on architecture and urban planning principles from a host community in which a development is slated to be built. The result can mean the difference between an incompatible project being forced on a community and a custom-fit development that enhances quality of life.
Consider green alternatives for urban planning projectsContrary to popular belief, green development typically does not increase construction costs or delay project schedules. In the long run, projects that provide tenants and customers access to alternative modes of transportation like transit-oriented development or that increase the energy efficiency of operating buildings are more attractive both to consumers and elected officials.
- Sell your project to the city planning department as one that is a benefit to the community.
- Wherever possible, seek out redevelopment tax breaks and other incentives to build in areas trying to revitalize.