Virginia Loaney Promoted to Land Development Team Leader

Virginia LoaneyHerbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) is pleased to announce that Virginia Loaney is now the Land Development Team Leader in our Pittsburgh office.

Loaney joined HRG in 2016 as a landscape architect and has 13 years of experience in the healthcare, education, recreation, government, commercial and residential markets. Her work includes land use feasibility studies, site planning and design, utility coordination and regulatory approvals for projects primarily in the Pittsburgh region. She is currently assisting clients with Planned Residential Developments, retail sites, streetscape improvements and institutional renovation projects.

In her new role as team leader, Loaney will take on additional supervisory and business development responsibilities, striving to expand the presence of HRG’s land development services in Western Pennsylvania.


Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) is a nationally ranked design firm providing civil engineering, surveying, and environmental services. The firm was founded in Harrisburg in 1962 and has grown to employ more than 200 people in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  For more information, please visit the website at

Cody Cogan Named One of Central PA’s Foremost Under 40

Cody CoganThe Pennsylvania Business Central has named Cody Cogan one of Central PA’s Foremost Under 40. He is featured in the November 17 edition of the business journal, which recognizes individuals who have overcome challenges to achieve significant success under the age of 40.

Cogan is a project manager in the land development service group of Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) His is a success story with particular relevance today. Many stories have been published throughout the past year documenting the difficulties rural areas are facing in the current economic climate. Factories have closed, and new industry has not developed to take its place. Opportunity is scarce.

Cogan grew up on a horse farm in Elk County and began his career as a factory worker in a powdered metal plant in St. Marys, PA. Like his friends in the community, he knew opportunities like that were becoming hard to find and even harder to hold onto, so he focused on education as a path to success. Cogan earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental resource management and a master’s degree in agriculture and biological engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. He joined the team at HRG in 2012 and has quickly risen through the ranks to be a leader in the firm’s land development practice area.

“Cody has a tremendous work ethic,” according to Jeff Garrigan, the regional manager in HRG’s State College office. “Every day he puts that same drive that carried him through school to work for his clients, and he inspires others on the team to work just as hard.”

Cogan remains committed to his hometown. He mentors young athletes and is chairman of the local chapter of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA). KECA is a non-profit organization dedicated to wildlife conservation, education, habitat enhancement and permanent land protection.

In his spare time, Cogan enjoys archery hunting and fishing.



Founded in 1962, HRG has grown to be a nationally ranked Top 500 Design Firm, providing civil engineering, surveying and environmental services to public and private sector clients. The 200-person employee-owned firm currently has office locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. For more information, please visit the website at

Jason Leonard Joins Land Development Team at HRG

Jason LeonardJason Leonard has joined the Lewisburg office of Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) as a member of their Land Development Services team.

Leonard has four years of experience in civil engineering for residential and commercial development projects.

Office manager Erin Threet is excited to bring Leonard onto the HRG team. “Jason brings new dimensions to the skills and experience of our existing staff in Lewisburg,” she says. “This will further enhance our ability to provide quality service to our local clients.”



Founded in 1962, HRG has grown to be a nationally ranked Top 500 Design Firm, providing civil engineering, surveying and environmental services to public and private sector clients. The 200-person employee-owned firm currently has office locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. For more information, please visit our website at


Randy Goshorn Joins Our Land Development Team in Shippensburg

Randy GoshornRandy Goshorn recently joined the Land Development team of Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. He is working as a project engineer in the firm’s Shippensburg office.

Goshorn has 14 years of experience in commercial and residential development and is a licensed professional engineer in Pennsylvania. He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Geneva College and earned a master’s degree in aquaculture and aquatic resources from the Asian Institute of Technology while living in Thailand for seven years.

“We’re so excited to have Randy join our team,” Shippensburg office manager Jamie Keener says. “He has in-depth knowledge of the land development sector in this area that will help HRG as it continues its expansion along the I-81 corridor.”


Founded in 1962, HRG has grown to be a nationally ranked Top 500 Design Firm, providing civil engineering, surveying and environmental services to public and private sector clients. The 200-person employee-owned firm currently has office locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. For more information, please visit our website at

Premier Projects: Dauphin County Honors Middletown Sewer & Cal Ripken Field

Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) is pleased to announce that two of our projects have been selected by Dauphin County in its annual Premier Projects award program.

Since its inception five years ago, the Dauphin County Premier Projects program has honored 23 projects that promote smart growth and spark revitalization throughout the region.  Among this year’s six honorees, HRG provided engineering services for two of them: the replacement of sanitary sewer facilities in Middletown’s downtown business district and the construction of a state-of-the-art youth baseball field at the Harrisburg Boys and Girls Club.


Middletown Sewer Replacement

Premier Project 2017: Middletown Sewer Replacement

(Left to right) County Commissioners Mike Pries and George Hartwick,III, HRG Staff Professional Staci Hartz, Middletown Public Works Superintendant Ken Klinepeter, and Tri-County Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Tim Reardon


The replacement of Middletown’s sanitary sewer lines played a crucial role in promoting renewed economic development along South Union Street, which is the heart of the borough’s business district.  Some of the sewer mains in this area were close to 100 years old and had deteriorated enough that community and business leaders feared a collapse could endanger streetscape improvements in the area.  This project successfully replaced aging infrastructure and eliminated a cross-connection between the borough’s sanitary and stormwater systems that had caused several sewage overflows near Hoffer Park as well as sanitary sewer back-ups in businesses along South Union Street. Without excess water entering the system during wet weather events, the sewer authority has additional capacity available and is able to extend service to nearby growing communities in Londonderry Township and Lower Swatara Township (which, in turn, can promote further economic development in those areas, as well.)


Cal Ripken Senior Youth Development Park

Premier Project; Cal Ripken Field

(Left to right) County Commissioners Mike Pries and George Hartwick,III, HRG Eastern Region Vice President Andrew Kenworthy, Harrisburg Boys and Girls Club Director of Development Blake Lynch, and Tri-County Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Tim Reardon

The Cal Ripken Senior Youth Development Park at the Harrisburg Boys and Girls Club provides recreation and character development opportunities for disadvantaged youth.  The park was funded through the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation, which supports the development of baseball and softball programs in distressed communities.  This initial donation inspired other businesses and community organizations to pledge their own financial support for the athletic facility and its programs, which include Little League, a summer soccer program, speed and agility camps, flag football, and lacrosse.

The facility is located in an economically disadvantaged section of the city and is the only active athletic field available for youth in that area.  As such, it offers kids a safe space for recreation to keep kids busy and engaged in healthy pursuits.



Originally founded in 1962, Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) has grown to be a nationally ranked Top 500 Design Firm, providing civil engineering, surveying and environmental services to public and private sector clients. The 200-person employee-owned firm currently has office locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. For more information, please visit the website at

ALTA Land Title Changes Taking Effect

by Michael Kreiger, P.L.S.


The American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) have recently released their final approved revisions to the ALTA Land Title Survey Standards.  These standards will become effective on February 23, 2016.

How will the new 2016 ALTA Land Title Survey Standards impact your projects?

The impact is more evolutionary than revolutionary: minor tweaks to enhance the reassurance a land title survey provides a buyer or lender.

While the 2011 standards were a major rewrite of previous standards, the 2016 version is mainly just a series of clarifications that help real estate professionals and developers better understand the information the surveys provide (and don’t provide).

For example, the new standards clearly define the surveyor’s role in researching title, property records, easements, etc., and the role of the survey purchaser in providing that information. Similarly, the new standards require that a zoning letter or report be provided to the surveyor before they can address zoning issues like zoning classification, setback requirements, height and floor space area restrictions, and parking requirements.

More significantly, the new standards clarify what a surveyor can show regarding wetlands on a Land Title Survey. The presence of wetlands can have a major impact on the way a site is developed, so it is understandably a major interest to those purchasing a property.  In the past, some have mistakenly believed that a survey which reported no observation of wetland markers indicated there were no wetlands present on the site. However, only a qualified biologist can certify that a site is free of wetlands; a surveyor merely reports the observation of wetland delineation markers.

Though this fact can be inferred from the 2011 standards, which included the location of wetlands “as delineated by appropriate authorities,” the 2016 revision is more clear-cut:

“If there has been a field delineation of wetlands conducted by a qualified specialist hired by the client, the surveyor shall locate any delineation markers observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork and show them on the face of the plat or map. If no markers were observed, the surveyor shall so state.”

Since this item is an optional item in Table A, anyone purchasing a property who is interested in the presence of wetlands on the site should hire a qualified specialist to investigate them and specifically negotiate this item into their survey contract. (Some firms, like HRG, have qualified environmental professionals on staff to provide these wetland investigations services as part of the survey.)

In some cases, the 2016 revisions ensure that the information provided in the survey documents is more accurate and complete. For example:

  • Observed utility features are now mandatory, rather than an optional item in Table A.
  • Surveyors will now merely indicate the observation of substantial areas of refuse at a site, rather than being asked to designate the site as a solid waste dump, sump or sanitary landfill. (Again, this is an optional item in Table A, so anyone requesting this information should negotiate it into their survey contract.)

When you purchase a land title survey, you are essentially purchasing peace of mind: that you clearly understand exactly what you will own and what ways you will be able to use the site once it’s purchased. The new 2016 ALTA Land Title Survey Standards enhance that peace of mind by making sure surveyors have the information they need to accurately characterize a site and that the information they provide in the final survey documents is clearly understood by the client. The revisions contained in these new standards tighten the language and remove any confusion buyers, lenders, and insurers might have had about what the survey documents show. They also ensure a uniform level of accuracy in the information the surveyors provide and the methodology they use to gather and report results.  By doing so, they strengthen the reassurance these documents offer a buyer about the likelihood of regulatory burdens, liabilities, or potential claims to the property by another party.

If you have questions about the new 2016 ALTA Land Title Survey Standards, please contact Michael Kreiger by email at or by phone at (717) 564-1121.

Michael Kreiger, P.L.S., Kreigerhas 23 years of experience as a surveyor, including ample experience completing ALTA Land Title Surveys for commercial and industrial properties. Other survey experience includes topographic boundary surveys, construction stakeout, and aerial ground control.

HRG is a full service consulting firm with capabilities in surveying, environmental compliance (including wetland investigations), permitting, site design, and construction inspection and administration.

Penn Hills Senior High School Named Outstanding High School Design

HRG is proud to announce that Penn Hill Senior High School has been honored as an Outstanding High School Design by American School & University Magazine.  HRG served as the civil and site design engineer on this project alongside the architectural team at Architectural Innovations, LLC.

The 301,000 square foot facility seamlessly integrates technology into the classroom and incorporates many green design principles to help the school district lower its energy costs.

Video produced by Architectural Innovations

Because the new building was built on the same site as the existing building, HRG had to carefully phase the development of the site in order to avoid disrupting school activities.  Once the new building was complete, students were transitioned to that facility, the previous building was demolished, and site work began for athletic facilities and additional parking.

HRG’s project manager Jim Feath said, “It was an honor to work on this project and be a part of Architectural Innovations’ team.  We’re proud of the facility we were able to create together.”

American School & University Magazine assembles a distinguished panel of education administrators, facility professionals and architects to select the best in school and university designs from that year.  Penn Hills Senior High School was one of seven high schools across the United States cited by the panel as an Outstanding High School Design.

Congratulations to our partners at Architectural Innovations on this achievement!”



Originally founded in 1962, HRG has grown to be a nationally ranked Top 500 Design Firm, providing civil engineering, surveying and environmental services to public and private sector clients. The 200-person employee-owned firm currently has office locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. For more information, please visit our website at

Form-Based Zoning Can Bring Municipalities and Developers Together on the Walkable Communities Buyers Want

Photo by North Charleston.  Published here under a Creative Commons license.Walkable Community

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released the results of a nationwide poll showing millennials increasingly prefer walkable communities over the spread-out developments in many present-day suburbs. Other studies have confirmed similar preferences for walkable neighborhoods and mixed-use development; however, traditional zoning approaches, which emphasize low-density development and a separation of land uses, makes it difficult for residential developers to obtain approval for these communities. This article explores the rise in popularity of the walkable community and discusses how residential developers and municipal planners can use form-based zoning to create a community that meets the needs of everyone.

The Case for Walkable Communities

In 2013, NAR’s Community Preference Survey found that 60% of respondents preferred a neighborhood that mixes housing with stores and businesses within walking distance, and 55% would give up a home with a bigger yard in order to get one within walking distance of schools, stores and restaurants.

Additionally, a study by Gary Pivo at the University of Arizona’s Urban Planning Program and Jeffrey Fisher at Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business found that – other factors being equal – enhanced walkability increased the value of both residential and commercial properties.  Using data from the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries and Walk Score, they compared more than 4,000 office, apartment, retail and industrial properties and determined that a 10% increase in walkability increased property value by up to 9% for all but the industrial properties.  (There was no discernible impact on industrial properties with a higher walkability score.)

This is in line with other studies of traditional neighborhood developments (TND) published in Real Estate Economics and the Journal of Urban Economics, which found that buyers were willing to pay between 12-15% more for pedestrian-friendly homes in the studied neighborhoods, compared to similar homes in neighboring low-density communities.

Increased property values benefit the developer selling the home, but they also benefit the local municipality as they increase property tax revenues. In addition, high density, walkable communities reduce the amount of infrastructure (such as roadways, traffic signals, water and sewer line extensions) needed to connect spread-out developments, which can save the  municipality money that would’ve been needed to maintain that infrastructure.

The most important reason for municipalities to consider making their zoning friendlier to walkable communities, however, might be their desire to stay competitive as a place people want to live.

Millennials represent a demographic of 80 million people, and they are the generation that will be buying homes and putting down roots in the years to come. Michael Myers, a managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation, is quoted in an article on The Atlantic’s CityLab website, saying, “As we move from a car-centric model of mobility to a nation that embraces more sustainable transportation options, millennials are leading the way…Cities that don’t invest in [these options] stand to lose out in the long run.” 

Bridging the Municipal-Developer Gap with Form-Based Zoning

If municipalities and developers agree that walkable communities can be beneficial, why aren’t more of them being built?

Over the past few years, these communities have become more and more popular with both developers and municipalities, but acceptance still is not widespread. Traditional zoning ordinances could be one of the reasons why.

Traditional zoning ordinances separate land uses into distinct zones: Commercial is separate from residential. Single family homes are separate from apartments and townhomes, etc.  This prevents the construction of developments that combine commercial and residential uses of different types in one space like modern walkable communities do. In addition, traditional zoning has emphasized a low-density approach because communities associate higher density with a loss of open space and community character and fear higher density developments will drain community resources.  However, developers require a higher density approach in order to make the many amenities (such as recreational facilities and civic and commercial spaces) affordable in a typical walkable community plan.

But form-based zoning could be the bridge that closes the gap between a community’s concerns and a developer’s needs.

Rather than fixating on density values and strict land use definitions, municipalities using a form-based zoning approach create a vision for the type of community they’d like to have and set standards to realize that vision.  If they want a community that encourages walking and social interaction in public spaces, they can set standards that will promote these activities.  For example,  Public Space standards can specify the types of pedestrian amenities, greenspaces and recreation requirements that make a place feel safe, comfortable and walkable.  They can also set the size of a standard block and govern how roadways and pedestrian amenities interconnect.  (Keeping the size of blocks small will make them more manageable for walkers, and interconnecting streets will provide shorter routes and more evenly distribute car traffic throughout the roadway network.  This will, in turn, have the added benefit of reducing congestion that comes from concentrating cars on just a few heavily travelled corridors, as is common in many traditionally zoned communities today.)

By using a form-based approach, municipalities can focus more on the form and feel of a community, instead of limiting development to strictly separated zones with a one-size-fits-all regulation of lot sizes.

In turn, residents enjoy the quality of life they seek, and municipalities can continue to attract growth, maintain a healthy tax base, and reduce the expenses associated with sprawling infrastructure. Meanwhile developers are able to meet a market demand profitably without navigating an unnecessarily lengthy entitlements process.

This type of approach allows communities to remain relevant and competitive in the decades to come as millennials age, take their resources and preferences to market, have kids and nurture the next generation. Municipalities and developers that dismiss these trends as merely a fad may be taking a big risk. Is it worth it?  We will know in 20 years.

HRG excels at bringing developers and municipalities together to meet the needs of a community in a way that benefits all parties. To discuss how walkable communities could benefit you, please contact us

Act 162 (Riparian Buffer Equivalency) May Unintentionally Hinder Developers

by: Christopher Dellinger, P.E., and Charles Suhr, Esq.


Last October, Act 162 was passed to amend Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law, and the land development industry rejoiced. It appeared that the requirement to provide a riparian buffer for stormwater management when developing properties adjacent to a High Quality or Exceptional Value stream was being changed to allow property owners more flexibility. This enhanced flexibility could result in the use of equally effective stormwater management techniques that would use less of the parcel, thus freeing up a greater percentage of the property for profitable use.

Now that the PA Department of Environmental Protection has begun to release its technical guidance on how the law will be applied (Implementation Plan Guidance, Riparian Buffer Equivalency Guidance, Buffer Offset Requirements Guidance], some developers and property owners are worried the legislation may, in fact, do more harm than good.

This may come as a shock to organizations like the Pennsylvania Builders Association that voiced strong support for the legislation. PBA and others in the development and construction industry felt the previous requirements of the Clean Streams Law had been too restrictive, but sometimes the devil you don’t know is more dangerous than the one you do. And, as always, the devil is in the details.

Act 162 offers other options besides riparian buffers for stormwater management in protected watersheds
Under the original law, earth disturbances were prohibited within 150 feet of rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, ponds or reservoirs in a High Quality or Exceptional Value watershed. Instead, this 150-foot-wide strip of land had to contain vegetation that helped to protect the watershed by providing shade and shelter for small creatures and filtering pollutants from stormwater runoff before it reached the special protected waters. This requirement was enforced as part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting process.

 But, setting aside a 150-foot-wide strip of land along the entire length of a protected water, could potentially result in a significant portion of a parcel being unusable (and the revenue earning potential of a site significantly decreased as a result).

Under Act 162, holders of an NPDES construction permit have greater flexibility. If their parcel contains land within 150 feet of a protected water, they can choose another stormwater Best Management Practice technique for controlling pollution as long as they can prove it is “substantially equivalent” to the buffer. Other techniques might result in a smaller loss of land than the buffer, thus increasing the economic potential of a site.

So how could this law be anything but beneficial to land developers?

Act 162 may extend protection to other water bodies not previously covered by the Clean Streams Law
The original Clean Streams Law was very careful to spell out exactly what waters required a riparian buffer; these included all high quality or exceptional value perennial or intermittent rivers, streams, or creeks, lakes, ponds or reservoirs.

Act 162 maintains the previous list of waters for determining when buffers or a substantially equivalent BMPs are required. However, in addition to requiring buffering or a substantially equivalent BMP for earth disturbance within 150-feet of the waters listed above, the law goes on to require replacement buffers (or offsetting) for any earth disturbance that occurs within 100-feet of a “surface water.” Note that this new section refers to “surface waters,” which, under current DEP regulations, is defined to include not just the waters listed above but also wetlands.

WetlandsIs it possible that development within 100 feet of wetlands within a High Quality or Exceptional Value watershed will now require replacement buffers somewhere else?

This was not the case under the previous legislation, and it could force many developers to rethink their site plans.

For example, one company developing an industrial park designed its site to maintain a 150-foot buffer from an existing high-quality stream crossing its property.  Many sections of this stream contain wetland areas adjacent to the stream.  Most of these wetlands are located within the 150-foot buffer; however, some are not.  While care was taken to avoid impacts to these wetlands, the development did propose earth disturbance close to the wetlands.  No buffers, equivalent BMPs or replacement buffers were provided because no such requirement existed at that time.  With plans for later phases still in development, the company is wondering whether it will need to provide additional buffers, equivalent BMPs, or replacement buffers now and how much square footage they may lose as a result.

The wording of Act 162 has also been interpreted by some to extend BMP requirements to all waters, not just those in High Quality or Exceptional Value watersheds.  The Chesapeake Bay Foundation of Pennsylvania, for example, submitted a letter to DEP stating:

“The plain language of Section 402(c)(1) states that ‘…persons proposing or conducting earth disturbance activities when the activity requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System [(“NPDES”)] permit for storm water discharge…’ may install either a forested riparian buffer or a substantially equivalent alternative to ensure compliance with water quality standards. There is no mention of this only occurring in special protection waters. The only mention of EV/HQ watersheds, comes in Section 402(c)(2) of the law with regard to the need to ‘offset’ activities within 100 feet of a special protection water.

The failure to clearly state that buffers, or their functional equivalent, are only needed in EV/HQ watersheds where an NPDES permit is needed, while specifically mentioning the EV/HQ requirement in Section 402(c)(2), suggests a specific legal intent by the General Assembly. CBF contends that buffers or their substantial equivalent alternatives are now required wherever NPDES permits are to be issued for such activities.”

If such an approach were taken by DEP, many more parcels would be affected by this law than initially thought. Instead of allowing flexibility in design, the new law could actually create additional regulatory hurdles.

Ambiguous wording about “substantially equivalent” stormwater management techniques could cause delay in the approval process
Many questions still remain about how this law will be applied. Even the option to use “substantially equivalent” stormwater Best Management Practices in lieu of riparian buffers is quite vague. What will be accepted as “substantially equivalent”? Developers who are under pressure to build as quickly as possible do not want to spend time on ambiguity, proposing measures that may ultimately be denied. As a result, they may choose to set aside riparian buffers anyway to speed up the review process and may now need to do more than what was previously required.

Rather than opening up more land to development, the law could unintentionally restrict development even more.

Thankfully, PA DEP issued its initial technical guidance on the buffer equivalency policy and opened a public comment period to give everyone affected by the law a chance to ask questions like these. Comments were accepted until May 20, 2015.

We look forward to seeing how DEP responds to these comments and the questions Act 162 is raising.

Chris DellingerChristopher Dellinger, P.E., is the manager of HRG’s Land Development Service Group.  As such, he oversees the completion of all commercial, industrial, and residential land development projects completed by the firm throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region.  He has 17 years of experience in land development and site design, with a particular emphasis on commercial and industrial construction.

Charles SuhrCharles Suhr, Esq., is a real estate lawyer at Stevens & Lee. He represents landowners and developers in obtaining municipal approvals for residential, commercial and industrial developments and appears before local planning commissions, governing bodies and zoning hearing boards throughout south central Pennsylvania.

Investing time on the front end offers real savings in time and money on the back end


This article appeared in the September 17, 2008 issue of the Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Journal and is published here with their permission. 

You have invested significantly in a site and you spent several months in the design phase. You are anxious to get your property built so you can maximize the profit it earns you. Unfortunately, you find yourself tangled in a web of entitlements and regulatory constraints that could drag on for several more months.

How can you avoid a costly and frustrating scenario like this? The answer is by obtaining a thorough due diligence investigation. We all know time is money in the development game, so it can be very tempting to speed through preliminary investigations in order to get to construction faster. Unfortunately, this can delay your project significantly when unexpected issues arise during the approval phase.

A more reliable strategy would be to hire a qualified professional engineer who is experienced in real estate due diligence to conduct an investigation and develop a time-saving strategy that comprehensively addresses the risks and variables you are likely to face. If possible, this investigation should be conducted during the initial site selection activities and should look at a wide variety of issues related to taxes and financing, parcel size and configuration, topographic and environmental constraints, zoning and land use requirements, infrastructure (e.g. utilities and transportation), and the local political climate.

As the project progresses, the engineer will further define the details related to land title issues, floodplain restrictions, geologic conditions, wetlands presence, on- and off-site infrastructure improvements, and permitting procedures. This will lead to the development of a concept plan to maximize the yield of the site and provide an estimate of probable development and construction costs (as well as a realistic project timeline).

One of the benefits of hiring experienced professionals to perform this investigation is their experience with the local political landscape and regulatory climate of the governing bodies that have jurisdiction over the site. One of the most significant factors determining the timeline of your project is the length of the entitlement phase. Someone who knows the decision-makers who will ultimately approve your project can devise a strategy to minimize review time and gain support. An experienced professional can also bring the key stakeholders together to foster a dialogue that will make the process proceed more efficiently.

As a result, in spite of the time involved in conducting the due diligence investigation, you can often obtain required approvals and begin construction in less time than if you rushed this step. In an industry where every day of delay could potentially cost thousands of dollars, a thorough due diligence investigation could be the best investment you make in your development.

Contact Chris Dellinger, P.E., with your questions about land development.

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