From Conditional Offer to Site Plan Approval in 7 Months or Less

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Land development is a complex process. Identifying potential parcels of developable land in today’s market can be challenging; subsequently, taking a potential parcel of developable land from conditional offer to site plan approval can be even more arduous. The GeoFocus Group and its team of expert analysts, project managers and construction managers can assist with the coordination, management and/or performance of the following tasks:

  • Land Use Due Diligence
  • Title and Survey Review
  • Environmental Due Diligence
  • Water, Sewer, and Utilities Due Diligence
  • Development Due Diligence

Below is a real world example of a two phase, 141 unit multi-family purpose built rental development which The GeoFocus Group and its development team took from conditional offer to Site Plan Approval and Permit Submission in under 7 months.

Item/Milestone Date/Timelines Comments/Notes
Agreement of Purchase and Sale (Conditional Offer) 08-Jun-21 The GeoFocus Group participated by assisting to identify parcels of developable land. Criteria was prepared to identify developable land suitable for multi-family residential development including but not limited to items such as land cost per acre, current zoning, variance requirements, trade contractor availability, potential construction costs and due diligence requirements.
Land Use Planner Retained 23-Jun-21 Post acceptance of the agreement of purchase and sale The GeoFocus Group identified qualified planners with experience in the local municipality. An expert planner was retained to assist with the pre-consultation process.
Planning Advisory Committee Meeting #1 03-Aug-21 The GeoFocus Group and its development partners led efforts with respect to attendance at a Planning Advisory Committee meeting. At the meeting proposed density was negotiated and agreed to by the municipality.
Shadow Analysis 12-Aug-21 The GeoFocus Group commissioned a Shadow Study in support of the development applications to demonstrate that location and height of the proposed buildings will not cause undue shade on the subject lands, and on surrounding residences.
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and Soil Analysis 16-Aug-21 The GeoFocus Group was essential to the coordination and prompt completion of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and Soil Analysis which assisted the development team to confirm the viability and feasibility of the development by mitigating environmental risk.
Geotechnical Site Investigation 08-Sep-21 The GeoFocus Group coordinated with the appropriate Geotechnical Engineers to perform the necessary due diligence investigative tasks to confirm existing geotechnical site conditions.
Planning Advisory Committee Meeting #2 14-Sep-21 The GeoFocus Group coordinated with its Land Use Planner to have prepared a Planning Report which justified an increase in both height and density to the development. Our team was successful in obtaining municipal approval to proceed to the necessary public meeting to obtain Committee of Adjustment approval for increase in: i) height, ii) density, and iii) parking reductions.
Project Architect Retained 16-Sep-21  The GeoFocus Group interviewed many architects with experience in the mid-rise apartment rental space, and retained an architect to not only lead the coordination of all design consultants but to support The GeoFocus Group’s project management and planning teams to expedite the Minor Variance and Site Plan Approval process.
Civil Engineer Retained 22-Sep-21 The GeoFocus Group interviewed both local and preferred Civil Engineers, finally identifying a local firm with previous knowledge of the developable parcel. This knowledge would be crucial to expediting the topographic survey required to enable the design team to maintain an extremely aggressive design and development schedule.
Municipal Lawyer Retained 23-Sep-21 The GeoFocus Group called upon a trusted municipal lawyer utilized in previous development projects to assist with navigating through the minor variance and site plan approval process.
Landscape Architect Retained 28-Sep-21 Landscape architect was retained in order to develop a landscape plan and provide detailed budget cost estimates for the site work to be completed
Minor Variance Application Submitted 28-Sep-21 The GeoFocus Group coordinated with its Land Use Planner to prepare the required Minor Variance Application with respect to height, density and parking.
Structural Engineer Retained 12-Oct-21 The GeoFocus Group and its development partners discussed builidng system options/ideas with a few structural engineering firms, before settling on a local firm that was able to provide concise options and price points for each – assisting the development team in arriving at a final decision regarding building system type to be used for construction.
Planning Advisory Committee Meeting #3 12-Oct-21 The GeoFocus Group obtained approval to proceed to the required Committee of Adjustment meeting with respect to its Minor Variance application.
Mechanical/Electrical Engineer Retained 15-Oct-21 To gain efficiencies, The GeoFocus Group found a firm that provides both mechanical and electrical engineering services
Traffic Impact Study 28-Oct-21 The municipality is growing and considering additional traffic lights/intersections – a traffic study was conducted in order to analyze existing traffic conditions, forecst the traffic conditions into the future, as well as propose any improvements to future traffic conditions. Finally, they were able to provide an opinion that the development be considered for approval as the added traffic would not have a negative impact on the surrounding neighbourhood
Committee of Adjustment (COA) Meeting #1 03-Nov-21 The submitted Minor Variance application was deferred with a request for additional justification with respect to the request for parking requirement reductions.
Committee of Adjustment (COA) Meeting #2 16-Nov-21 The GeoFocus Group coordinated with all required parties to obtain essential information required to permit justification of the request for the reduction of municipal parking requirements.
Grey County Appeal 06-Dec-21 The development received a “placeholder” appeal by the local County authority.
Grey County Meeting 09-Dec-21 The GeoFocus Group attended the appeal meeting. The appeal was withdrawn.
Planning Advisory Committee Meeting #4 13-Dec-21 The GeoFocus Group obtained formal approval to proceed to Site Plan Application.
Site Plan Agreement 15-Dec-21 Site Plan Agreement was received from the Municipality.

With permit drawings less than one week behind the issuance of the Site Plan Agreement The GeoFocus Group, its development partners and all project participants were able to successfully take a raw piece of developable land from conditional offer to Site Plan Approval and Permit Submission in under seven months.

Completing due diligence review for a vacant land acquisition can be much more extensive than completing due diligence for the acquisition of improved commercial real estate. The process can be arduous, and an expert or team of experts can drastically reduce due diligence turnaround times. For the purchase of vacant land, there are often additional considerations that the purchaser must address, particularly because the purchaser wants to ensure that the land may be used for its intended development.

If you are considering acquiring land for development The GeoFocus Group’s experts can assist to see your vision through to completion. Our teams land acquisition and development expertise enable our personnel to offer advice at every stage of the acquisition and development life cycle, including the provision of due diligence requirements, project and construction management from conception to completion, alternative financing arrangements, technical and environmental due diligence and specialist consultancy services.

 

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