Today something prompted me to talk about one of the least favorite parts of my job - Feasibility Studies! Now, my good colleague George Steirer of Plan to Permit is the guru of land use code, feared by many officials for his deeper knowledge of the code than they themselves possess. I don’t jump with joy at discovering a challenging land use regulation that may significantly restrict proposed development, he does, figuratively speaking, and with enthusiasm dissects every reference and record to find solutions. See that’s his specialty!
Designers and Architects are professionals whose job is to assist their clients in navigating the process of design and construction from its conception to completion. Unfortunately, the very First Phase of any residential design project is often overlooked until the client already has the Title Report of the new property in hand. I call this gambling! At best, it may result in Land Use official’s sarcastic laugh at the counter when the initial proposal for the property is presented. At worst, the owners would have to compromise their dreams or spend a lot more time and money than they planned. What’s more entertaining (… I meant to say challenging) is that every jurisdiction has their own “rule book” sort of speak, which not only includes municipal code but also the procedure by which the approvals are processed. Like political parties, jurisdictions press for certain select agendas, like height restrictions, or tree preservation and environmental impacts, or public approvals. Understanding the guidelines upfront can establish realistic framework within which a new project design, budget and schedule may be established.
That initial First Phase, the Feasibility Study should be walked through with a design professional… unless one likes surprises!