Whether you are the owner of one or many parcels of raw land, now is a great time to secure the future value of your property. While no-one knows exactly when it will happen, development activity will pick up as the economy rebounds. As the real estate market thaws, those landowners who have done their homework during these slower times will reap rewards.
Obviously, the biggest expense already incurred by landowners is the purchase price of the property. Preparing the property for resale or development usually represents a small fraction of the original investment, but can have a huge impact on eventual returns. Without the need to begin physical development work, landowners can take advantage of the services provided by environmental consultants, land management companies and civil engineers to obtain regulatory permits and local government approvals.
Environmental consultants provide information on the baseline physical and ecological attributes and limitations of the property relating to development potential. Wetland delineation, soil suitability mapping for on-site waste treatment and stormwater planning, endangered species surveys and a host of other site-specific services are available as necessary. Based on the accumulated data, the land planner can prepare a realistic layout that conforms with all environmental aspects, zoning requirements and the ultimate vision for the property by the owner.
Environmental consultants also handle permits concerning regulatory wetland impacts, coastal management permits (marinas, waterfront development), non-engineered on-site waste treatment permits and related tasks such as preparing environmental assessments and mitigation planning. The civil engineer uses information provided by the environmental consultant and prepares plans and obtains permits for sedimentation and erosion control, stormwater management, utility layouts, engineered on-site waste treatment systems and other development infrastructure. By obtaining actual permitting, there is a certain level of confidence provided for the life of those approvals. Regulatory and local government rules evolve through time and additional development limitations can befall un-permitted projects.
Landowners may either obtain complete development plans with all permitting in place for future commencement or obtain enough of the baseline information to allow a potential buyer of the property to have confidence in the development potential of his own plan. Either way, by taking action now, the savvy landowner will be best prepared to take advantage of the recovering market while others are still trying to get out of the starting gate.