How can a land use attorney help get a project approved?
By Sean Turley
When seeking approval for a proposal, a land use attorney can provide valuable insight on navigating the process. Planning boards are made up of community-minded citizens, but often they don’t have the legal background to ensure that nothing gets missed in what can be an in-depth process.
It’s in a planning board’s best interest to take each issue into close consideration. Any time a board receives potential objections or comments to a proposal, it can trigger getting an attorney involved. If a proposal is challenged and goes to court, the court will be deferential to the board that considered the issue if they considered it. Insight from an attorney early on can help avoid any issues that would stretch the process out for both the individual seeking approval and the board.
A knowledgeable attorney makes the board’s job easier.
When an attorney presents your proposal to the board, it helps them to do their job. They’re laypeople, not lawyers, so attorneys who spend each day working on similar issues are able to help streamline the process. The more complicated the project, the more there’s a need for this type of support. In some cases, the board might not have seen a project like this and doesn’t understand what the critical steps are or how to follow them. An attorney is able to clearly outline to the board how it should approach critical issues. Part of an attorney’s job is to help lay out specifics, such as detailing the standards of a town’s zoning ordinance and how the project meets each one.
Prepare in advance.
Your attorney will play a crucial role in ensuring that things run smoothly in front of the board by providing thorough preparation in advance of presenting your project. An attorney will be able to help organize information and anticipate questions and concerns, and identify the necessary supporting information that will back your proposal.
Ensure the board makes findings on the issues.
An attorney will also stay on top of necessary steps, such as ensuring that the board is making findings on your proposal. A common hold-up can arise if your project is challenged, goes to court, and the board either did not address all the standards it needed to apply in approving a project or explain its decision. A land use attorney can alert the board to its responsibilities to make sure it covers all of the issues it needs to in order to not be reversed in court.
Reach out to our land use team if you’d like more information about preparing your project for approval.