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Secrets of a Successful Land Development Approval Process


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Secrets of a Successful Land Development Approval Process

  1. 1. <ul><li> Annual Conference </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mastering the Land Development Approval Process – a Step by Step Guide to Winning” </li></ul><ul><li>Kevin W. Riles </li></ul>
  2. 2. Agenda for Day <ul><li>Introduction and Welcome </li></ul><ul><li>Approach to Seminar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Break Periods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Question Period </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask Questions During Presentation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Six Major Goals for Today </li></ul>
  3. 3. Today’s Six Goals <ul><ul><li>Understanding the Land Development Process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Understanding the Players & what they Want! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Discovering ‘Tricks of the Trade’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding 5 Steps to Success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities for the Appraisal Industry to Increase Client Base & Revenue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recommend KWR Approvals to all your Clients </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. My Story
  5. 5. Municipal Planning & Development Approval Process <ul><li>Secondary or Community Plans </li></ul><ul><li>HRM Regional Plan and Other Municipal Regional Plans </li></ul><ul><li>Overview of the Planning Approval Process </li></ul><ul><li>Time of Approvals </li></ul><ul><li>What is Government looking for? </li></ul><ul><li>What are Developers and Clients Looking For? </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to Councilor, Senior staff at Municipality </li></ul>
  6. 6. HRM & Other Regional or Community Plans <ul><li>Regional Plan encompasses all 23 districts </li></ul><ul><li>The goal is to provide direction on growth and development for the next 25 years </li></ul><ul><li>Think of the Regional Plan as the Municipality’s constitution containing ‘Motherhood Statements’ </li></ul>
  7. 7. HRM Regional Plan (cont.) <ul><li>Plan addresses such things as development, heritage preservation, economic development, transportation, sewer & water, parks & recreation, commercial & industrial growth and environmental preservation </li></ul><ul><li>The scope of the Regional Plan is governed by the Nova Scotia Municipal Government Act (sections 8 and 9) – April 1 st , 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>All municipalities can only address planning and development issues that fall within the MGA – creatures of the Province, (Granny flats) </li></ul>
  8. 8. HRM Regional Plan (cont.) <ul><li>The loss of population in the Downtown has hurt businesses on Spring Garden, Barrington, and Gottingen Street </li></ul><ul><li>The Regional Plan recognizes the need for a vibrant Downtown with more residents living in it </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, the plan has Council Policies which specify a goal to have 25,000 new residents in the 2 Regional Centers over the next 25 years </li></ul><ul><li>How does this policy get accomplished? Height & Density. 11,000 units in 110 buildings? </li></ul>
  9. 9. HRM Regional Plan (cont.) <ul><li>Regional Plan is intended to be formally reviewed and updated every 5 years </li></ul><ul><li>The Peninsula of Halifax in 1960 had a population of approximately 93,000 +/-. In 2001, this same area had a population of 63,000 +/- </li></ul>
  10. 10. Other Municipalities <ul><li>All municipalities are governed by Sections 8 & 9 of the Municipal Government Act </li></ul><ul><li>East Hants was the first municipality in Nova Scotia to have a regional plan approved under the MGA in 1999. This Plan won a national award. </li></ul><ul><li>Each municipality has its own ‘Hot Buttons’ items in its Regional or Community Plan. For example, in East Hants in 1996 they had the lowest commercial tax base assessment in the Province at 9%. Provincial average is +/- 20% </li></ul><ul><li>Every Regional Plan has great development opportunities – Often Hidden </li></ul>
  11. 11. Secondary or Community Plans <ul><li>There are 19 secondary or community plans covering 23 HRM Districts </li></ul><ul><li>Comprised of and Key Documents: </li></ul><ul><li>Successful Municipal Planning requires detailed review of Secondary Plans (Street by Street) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) - Policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Land Use Bylaw (LUB) – Zoning Regulations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subdivision Bylaw (SUB) – Surveying of Land </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Red Book (Engineering Standards for Sewer, Water & Roads) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capital Cost Charge (CCC) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Secondary or Community Plans (cont) <ul><li>Secondary Plans must be consistent with Regional Plan </li></ul><ul><li>HRM has decided to review Secondary Plans in groups of 3 over the next 5 to 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>The first series of reviews is for the Communities of Bedford, Fall River and Musquodoboit Harbour – Opportunity vs. Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Kings County Agriculture Protection versus growth struggle </li></ul>
  13. 13. Overview of the Planning Approval Process <ul><li>As of right development – only permits required. Approved by Staff only. </li></ul><ul><li>Rezoning and development agreements (contract). Usually approved by Community Council only. Site Plan approvals – DO’s. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Overview of the Planning Approval Process (cont) <ul><li>Plan Amendment Applications – changing the policy of Community / Regional Plan. Must be approved by HRM Regional Council. </li></ul><ul><li>A plan amendment is often regarded as the most time consuming, expensive and difficult approval process to achieve </li></ul><ul><li>Often development agreements are required in conjunction and/or piggy backed with plan amendment applications </li></ul><ul><li>Example of plan amendment applications are surplus schools. Need to change institutional zoning. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Time of Approvals <ul><li>Varies depending on the type of application </li></ul><ul><li>Permits and Subdivision plans are as of right and therefore not a major concern to the Development Industry – Urban Development Institute of Nova Scotia (UDI) </li></ul><ul><li>Approvals for development agreements, rezoning and plan amendments have doubled in the past 10 years in HRM. This is a major concern with the Business & Development Community </li></ul>
  16. 16. Time of Approvals (cont) <ul><li>What use to take 6 months to get approved now takes 12 to 18 months to complete </li></ul><ul><li>Why the delays? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not enough Planners – 15 to 20 cases per planner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Not enough senior managers or supervisors to mentor and lead younger or less experienced planners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Need for a project management approach with clear deadlines, milestones and deliverables (computer and project management systems) </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Time of Approvals (cont) <ul><ul><li>5. Conflict resolutions within the various Departments of (Transportation, Engineering, Environmental, Recreation/Parks, Planning, Development and Finance) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase in advisory committees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dysfunctional Council </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>8. The Nova Scotia appeal process to URB </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tex Park, Midtown and Gladstone. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Original purpose of the Appeal Process – Aggrieved person was to ‘protect the little guy’. No longer the case, special interest groups use this as a tool to slow or stop development. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Time of Approvals (cont) <ul><li>The challenge for many rural municipalities is losing planners to larger urban areas </li></ul><ul><li>The appeal process to the Utility and Review Board (URB) is a concern to many municipalities in Nova Scotia </li></ul><ul><li>Key Provincial organization is the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities (UNSM) </li></ul><ul><li>3-6 year cycle for developers (buy, approve, construct and sell). When does Developer see Money? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Cost of Delays in the Approval Process <ul><li>Gladstone development took 2 years longer than anticipated – wiped out a complete market niche. A competitor who did not live in the area but had a competing interest appealed – frivolous! </li></ul><ul><li>25% of builders in Atlantic Canada surveyed in the winter 2006 Canadian Home Builders Association Pulse Survey identified “rising development charges” as a ‘critical’ issue. This share had rose to 44% in the summer 2006 survey. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Concerns with Regional Planning <ul><li>Serviceable Boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Planning Approvals and Appeal Process </li></ul><ul><li>Underground Utilities – add $10,000 per lot </li></ul><ul><li>Height, Density and Design Quality </li></ul><ul><li>Adequate Staffing Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up – Secondary Plans </li></ul>
  21. 21. Challenges of Regional Planning <ul><li>Staffing and Financial resources necessary to successfully implement the Regional Plan not always available. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Ability to place 25,000 residence in the Halifax Peninsula over the next 25 years given the past approvals trends is inconsistent with this goal. Every policy, regulation or standard of Municipal and Provincial governments has an impact on the cost of development and therefore the affordability of it. </li></ul><ul><li>Impact of Provincial Appeal Process on municipalities’ ability to meet its goals. </li></ul>
  22. 22. What is Government Looking for?
  23. 23. What is Government and Others Looking for? <ul><li>Differences between the Private and Public sector </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Making a Profit versus Making a Mistake! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Football (Business) versus Hockey (Govt) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Key stakeholders in the Land Development and Approvals Process are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Politicians & in particular local councilor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HRM Planning, Development & Other Staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provincial and sometimes Federal staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisory Groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community and Special Interest Groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public, Nimby & Cave </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. The Steps in the Approval Process <ul><li>Step 1: Review the land, Walk the land , What is the land telling you and finding highest and best use </li></ul><ul><li>Step 2: Value of Scope and SWOT </li></ul><ul><li>Step 3: Get an Appraisal! </li></ul><ul><li>Step 4: Pre-application to municipality ($300 in HRM) </li></ul><ul><li>Step 5: Formal Application to municipality ($2,500 in HRM) </li></ul><ul><li>Step 6: Public Information meeting (PIM) </li></ul><ul><li>Step 7: Review & Recommendations from Advisory Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Step 8: Receiving Planning and Development Staff report </li></ul><ul><li>Step 9: Public hearing of Council </li></ul><ul><li>Step 10: 14 day appeal period to URB </li></ul><ul><li>Step 11: Obtaining Permits to begin construction </li></ul>
  25. 25. SWOT & Scope Analysis Category Characteristics Strengths Elements of the development proposal that are identified in policy as desirable attributes; elements of the development proposal that meet or exceed requirements and/or criteria; elements of the development proposal or subject property that, although they cannot be referenced to a specific policy, are considered attractive Weaknesses Elements of the development proposal that don't meet, or run counter to municipal policy and/or criteria; physical, economic, political deficiencies Opportunities Elements of the development proposal that could be marketed or capitalized on in order to improve the attractiveness of the project. These may involve either a direct or indirect relationship between policies or the proposal. Threats Elements that can potentially diminish the overall strengths and attractiveness of the development proposal from the perspective of municipal staff and politicians. These must be reviewed very carefully as they are potential show stoppers.
  26. 26. Alpine Court, Bedford, HRM
  27. 27. Challenges and opportunities within the system <ul><li>Polishing a Turd – A Developers Slogan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Development example – Condo in Bedford </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Zoning permitted 80 units. Buyers appraiser valued each unit at $12,000 a door. Sellers appraisers valued each unit at $15,000 a door. Eventually deal will struck for $12,500 a unit and/or total selling price of $1 Million. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New buyer convinced municipality through an amendment to an existing development agreement to increase the density from 80 to 88 units. These 8 units were pure profit to the new buyer. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ A Fast No is Better then a Slow Yes” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Your Greatest Strength is your Greatest Weakness” </li></ul>
  28. 28. Challenges and opportunities within the System <ul><li>GET THE RIGHT TEAM. Certain professionals have better relationships with certain staff, councilors; are better known in certain communities or have certain expertise in a particular type(s) of development. </li></ul><ul><li>The value of the Development Officer & Planner in assisting with the right team – go for a coffee . Example, getting a permit for garage after survey done. Off the record. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Never Assume in the Land Development & Real Estate Business <ul><li>United Gulf Purchase of China Town </li></ul><ul><li>Bog in Stoneridge in the Park, Armdale </li></ul><ul><li>Contaminated Soil in a Development in Purcell's Cove </li></ul><ul><li>Car Dealership in Middleton </li></ul><ul><li>1954 Easement in Southgate Village, Bedford </li></ul>
  30. 30. Every Municipal and Provincial Land Development Policy, Standard and Regulation Impacts the Bottom Line ... <ul><li>The Cost of Development and therefore Affordability </li></ul><ul><li>Time of Approval </li></ul><ul><li>Certainty Key for Development Community. It can be Financed. </li></ul><ul><li>Fast No sometime better then a Slow Yes – Pre application process. Get government feedback in writing . </li></ul><ul><li>Bank Financing good for 2 years from purchase of property to final approval before construction </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance and bonding companies rate land development and construction as the riskiest business for success followed by restaurants </li></ul>
  31. 31. SIZZLE Key !!!
  32. 32. Southgate Village, Bedford
  33. 33. Southgate Village, Bedford
  34. 34. Notting Village, Dartmouth
  35. 35. Notting Village
  36. 36. Rockville Village, Armdale, HRM
  37. 37. ‘ The Meadow’, Dartmouth, HRM
  38. 38. Lack of Sizzle <ul><ul><li>A $500,000 house with 30 cent door knobs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A 15 million dollar condominium with plastic washroom mirrors </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Tricks of the Trade <ul><li>The Process needs to be thought of the same way as a Person or Firms reputation - once damaged, very hard to repair . Know when to push, pull or sit still. </li></ul><ul><li>Land development is about business acumen, marketing, understanding planning regulations and politics. A project must be good at all four. Do not have certain professions working in areas they do not have the expertise, experience or skill in. One stop shopping is not always good. It has been said it takes 20,000 hours to become an expert in a profession. </li></ul>
  40. 40. Tricks of the Trade <ul><li>Understanding the chain of approvals. A councilor for approval usually needs a positive Staff report and a public that is generally on side with the project. </li></ul><ul><li>The more comfortable a councilor is with a project the greater confidence municipal staff have supporting a project or permitting perks </li></ul><ul><li>The most important aspect in the land development process even above council and public support is a POSITIVE Staff report – URB Appeal. </li></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li>Sizzle is Essential, Quality in Presentations, Professionalism & Experience of Team Members </li></ul><ul><li>It is essential to understand the Cookie and Thorn principle when dealing with municipal staff, public and most importantly Council </li></ul><ul><li>No the importance of a Soft No </li></ul><ul><li>What is the motivations of each stakeholder, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Council, Staff, Public, Advisory Groups, SIG) </li></ul></ul>Tricks of the Trade
  42. 42. Five Step Action Plan to Success <ul><li>Successful projects and businesses is about keeping things simple and reading the `flow` of whatever you are trying to achieve. </li></ul><ul><li>Every project has a `flow` and knowing when to hit the accelerator, put it in neutral, back it up or park it for a period is critical. </li></ul><ul><li>A project is like a personal relationship once it is damaged it is very difficult to repair. </li></ul><ul><li>KWR Approvals five step action plan puts in place a process that allows the `flow` of the project to be read and adjustments made along the way. </li></ul>
  43. 43. <ul><li>Assemble the Dream Team of Professionals </li></ul>Results & Solutions Action Plan R.O.I. Action Plan that put systems in place that stress deliverables on time and budget. Stakeholders Action Plan SWOT & Scope of your Project and or Business Idea
  44. 44. <ul><li>Opportunities in Nova Scotia </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 5 Canadians will be 65 years and older by 2030. Nova Scotia oldest population in Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller to mid size towns and cities (i.e. Truro, Bridgewater, Bridgetown) will see more condominium and townhouse developments to take advantage of aging population and part time residents outside Province </li></ul><ul><li>Dartmouth and Spryfield/Herring Cove in HRM will be growth areas </li></ul><ul><li>Eastern Shore </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller group of professionals creating development groups to pool experience, money and expertise. Very difficult to go it alone. Banks and financial institutions typically do not finance soft costs. </li></ul><ul><li>Create your own opportunity – raw land re-designation approach </li></ul>
  45. 45. Investment Opportunities <ul><li>Real estate should bring 7-12% annual profit </li></ul><ul><li>Developers look for 25-35% profit in Condo’s </li></ul><ul><li>Look for corner lots, growing areas, water, views, trees, upgrades and anything that stands a property or dwelling apart. </li></ul><ul><li>Location, location and location. </li></ul><ul><li>Per unit rule is the foundation of all multiple family purchases </li></ul><ul><li>Apartment building purchases, $100.00 per month per unit, 15-20 year mortgage paid off, no debt along the way and would double in value at 5-7% per year. </li></ul>
  46. 48. What if ?
  47. 50. Street Level View of Halifax Metro Centre
  48. 52. <ul><li>Climate Change </li></ul><ul><li>Concerns with Development </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coastal, Erosion and Sediment Control Plans, Storm water Management, Watercourse Buffers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leed and Carbon Neutral and Positive Initiatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leed Platinum in Dockyard Project in Victoria, British Columbia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retaining Walls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decaying Infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase 1 report on how development impacts climate. In addition to Phase 1 ESA and TIS </li></ul></ul>
  49. 53. <ul><li>Essential Learning requirements for the Future! </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding Land Economics and Design Principles will be essential in the Future </li></ul><ul><li>Developers will be required to submit financial pro forma’s </li></ul><ul><li>Development Officers and Government Staff will need to better understand the financial side of development </li></ul><ul><li>All Stakeholders will need to better understand environmental sustainability principles in regards to their impacts to development </li></ul><ul><li>Without changes to how we live many scientists have estimated the polar ice caps could disappear by 2048 </li></ul>
  50. 54. <ul><li>Energy Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Homes and Specialized Homes (20% of multiple family units required in HRM to be designed for physically challenged) </li></ul><ul><li>Energy Audits maybe the way for the future </li></ul><ul><li>Materials used, solar and wind </li></ul>
  51. 55. <ul><li>Height and Density </li></ul><ul><li>Densification will be the way of the future – minimize urban sprawl and limited resources </li></ul><ul><li>Value of Land in Urban Cores </li></ul>
  52. 56. <ul><li>Older & Changing Population </li></ul><ul><li>Nova Scotia – oldest population in Canada, by 2030, 1 in 5 Canadians will be 65 or older. Housing types, working out of home. </li></ul><ul><li>Technology innovations in homes – wellness beds </li></ul><ul><li>Condominium Development and what of the Traditional Single Family Home? </li></ul><ul><li>Labor Shortage Critical - Immigration </li></ul>
  53. 57. Opportunities for the Appraisal Industry of Nova Scotia <ul><li>Partnering with other professionals in the Land Development & Real Estate Sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Becoming part of the Initial SWOT Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Connecting Clients to Other Professionals – Looking for Professionals that can Deliver </li></ul><ul><li>Making contacts outside of Nova Scotia for Nova Scotia business (A close real estate colleague and friend +27%) </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluating the five stages of Land Development & Construction </li></ul>
  54. 58. Evaluating the Five Stages of Land Development & Construction <ul><li>Raw Land </li></ul><ul><li>Development Agreement/Rezoning Approved to Create Higher Zoning/Up Zoning </li></ul><ul><li>Permits, Working Drawings and Subdivision Plans Approved </li></ul><ul><li>Roads, Services, Infrastructure and Building/House Pads Prepared </li></ul><ul><li>Building Construction & Selling </li></ul>
  55. 59. Thank You
  56. 60. Conclusion <ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>If you have further questions after today or would like assistance on any project, please contact me and check out daily tips on website </li></ul>Kevin W. Riles President & CEO of KWR Approvals (902) 431-1700 [email_address] S
  57. 61. <ul><li> Annual Conference </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mastering the Land Development Approval Process – a Step by Step Guide to Winning” </li></ul><ul><li>Kevin W. Riles </li></ul>