Every successful development project requires collaboration and communication between the regulator, the community, and the applicant. I believe in a proactive approach where the local municipality proactively engages the development community. Through this engagement, the municipality gains a voice for the citizens of the community and provides an ear for the developer early in the process.
As both the Director of Community Development in Ranson, and the Martin County Urban Designer, I have been responsible to coordinate review of development and building permits through the respective entitlement processes. This work includes public inquiries as they relate to zoning, land use, architectural requirements, and design standards within these communities.
Both communities relied on the conventional accept and review approach to development where the development departments wait for the private sector to make an application and then battle out the performance standards. This results in frustration and a waste of resources.
I have developed a process to provide technical support to property owners within these communities by familiarizing owners with development requirements and illustrating how regulations may be applied to their specific site. Development inquiries receive more than just allowed use or setback requirements. The development reviewers take a hands on approach which involves pro actively meeting with the developer of a site to understand their desires and communicate to them the community’s vision.
This engagement may include mocking up development applications, drafting redlines code complaint master plans, or suggesting ordinances changes. The development review team is empowered to advance the project towards an approval. Once an applicant begins the formal development process, staff serves as an advocate for the project and assists in moving the application through required review in an expeditious manner.
The unconventional approach to development review is an investment into the community. This engagement results in a living update to the respective community's master plan by advancing a vision into an implementable project at the level of the block. Each one of these inquiries or applications are memorialized in preparation to inform and inspire implementation.