Common sense for developers: don’t let your project be THE election issue

The Saint ReportPlanning and Zoning, Saint Consulting Links, saintblog, Thought LeadershipLeave a Comment

By Jay Vincent

Regional Vice President, The Saint Consulting Group

protestIt’s no surprise that if all politics is local, then today’s real estate projects are vulnerable when election season heats up.

Whether a developer has an ongoing project in the approval phase or wants to proceed with the purchase of property that needs some type of local entitlement, zoning matters are hot election issues. I am not talking about elections for Congress or the President but local elections where zoning matters and all politics is truly local. This phenomenon is certainly evidenced by the countless projects derailed by a contentious election cycle in recent weeks.

That is why in our business the need for expert political intelligence increases as we approach the municipal election season. Many developers understand that politics matter, but they don’t truly understand how elections matter and how election season can derail projects. Unfortunately, most find out through trial and error.

So as we approach this season of uncertainty for the development community, here are some helpful tips for developers who have yet to submit an application. If you have an active project in the approval process and are worried about how the election will affect your approval, then I suggest you seek advice immediately by pressing the big green button under Need Help? at the top left corner of your screen.

Here are some helpful tips:

1. Research the political landscape and understand the land use fights of the past; they typically drive the future

2. Conduct independent research on candidates and positions on the issues; we can help with that

3. Meet with elected officials who are not yet up for re-election; they have the gossip

4. Make a judgment on whether to wait or proceed with a new application; experience tells us that waiting is usually the best

Those are some quick tips to consider. However, we definitely suggest conducting an independent scope or a political assessment. No one gets better independent and relevant information that Saint Consulting when it comes to Land Use Politics.

Jay Vincent is regional vice president for Mid States, email or call 312 970 5770

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