January 28, 2023

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The Right Team Cures Developers' 'Blind Effect'

The Florida-bound migration fueled by the pandemic has created a new-construction land rush and development boom. From coastal communities to cities in the center of the state, developers have bought up property and unfurled plans to capitalize on the demand for residential and commercial capacity.

Some developers new to a region, however, suffer the “blind effect.” They may be skilled in bringing projects from raw dirt to full occupancy. In a community where they’ve never worked before, however, there may be a newcomer blind to the local spirit and players.

On-the-ground guidance into the thinking behind its rules, ordinances and the community’s future goals could help their plans earn local support. That’s where the right professional partner can help.
Whether working with municipal or county governing bodies to obtain necessary approvals for the development and redevelopment of property, or helping commercial and residential land owners to bring properties into compliance with the applicable code, an attorney within a multidisciplinary law firm can bring individual expertise backed by a deep bench of professionals proven in their areas of expertise. These can include land use, regulatory, administrative and zoning, for starters.

Partners also can bring institutional knowledge. Attorneys who have spent much of their careers in a given community often possess historical insights and relationships in government offices and civic groups that newcomers lack.

A developer might receive a permit, but did community backlash to similar efforts stall previous work? What are city planners seeking from new developments going in? To be sure, rules are codified in the city’s building and design codes and local ordinances. City leaders and residents, however, often have a vision for their community — one that may not be in writing.

Examples are common. The history of development along downtown Fort Lauderdale and its riverfront is one of builders’ visions that weren’t embraced by the community and faced a tough future. A developer who bought up land in an up-and-coming North Miami community faced code enforcement issues they hadn’t anticipated. An introduction to a civil engineer and general contractor helped correct the issue. The same may be said of working with locally-versed architects and planners.

Where can you find these local professionals? If you’re new to an area, attend city commission, planning and zoning, or other development meetings. Read the agendas. Strike up conversations. Or talk with your attorney, who may have similar connections. Get to know the different players. Then, build that network.

Most importantly, start early. The right partner brought on from the beginning can help spot and navigate around potential roadblocks, make critical introductions, and chart a path to community acceptance and development success.

Gregory A. McAloon

Director with Tripp Scott PA, practicing land use, governmental affairs, commercial real estate, and entrepreneurial business.

For more than 50 years, Tripp Scott has played a leadership role in issues that impact business, including land use law.

Fort Lauderdale • Tallahassee | 954.525.7500 • Learn more at TrippScott.com

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