Key Consultants for Entitlements?
As a land developer, the commencement of an entitlement process will mean you need to hire some key consultants to prepare the project documents and help assist through the approval process with the local government. You will need to determine a preliminary scope for the project (parcel size, lot/unit count, product, etc) so that you can request proposals from your consultant team, with the intent of signing consultant contracts for the effort to be performed.
One of these key consultants, assuming more of a single-family tract development, will be a land planner or civil engineer with whom the developer will work closely on the overall site plan and design of the project. On sites that are more infill in nature or planned for attached product, the site plan design can be more architecturally driven. In these cases, an architect might be your key design consultant because the building design will drive the grading and site improvement layout.
Consultants that provide key information at the beginning of the process can be the geotechnical/soils engineer and the traffic consultant. The geotechnical consultant will typically need to obtain soils samples from the site through borings or trenches and will write a soils report with recommendations that has critical info for your land planner or architect. The traffic engineer will study pre-development and post-development traffic patterns, which provides the basis for both onsite and offsite street improvements to accommodate the additional traffic from the new development. Again, most of the effort from these consultants are done upfront, with some support and answers needed during the review process with the local government.
Other key consultants, depending on your site and location, can include a market analyst, environmental expert, land use attorney, archaeologist, hydrologist, and others. I have often found that developers will tend to use the same consultants with whom they possess a good working relationship and can count on for accurate work.
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