While many owner/developers choose to have an initial meeting with neighbors, the first step of the process is to file a pre-application plan with Planning and Design Services. The purpose of this pre-application is to allow the developer to discuss his proposal with staff and allow staff the opportunity to point out potential problems with the proposed development prior to the formal filing for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The project proposal also circulates to agencies and utilities for initial comments.
Meeting with Adjoining Property Owners/Neighborhood Groups
During the pre-application stage, the owner/developer is required to meet with adjoining property owners and neighborhood groups prior to formal filing of the development proposal. The purpose of this meeting is to increase understanding of a case earlier in the process and to encourage dialogue between developers, area residents and the general public. Early conversations between applicants and neighbors of the site encourage consensus building. The meeting will be conducted at a time and location that is convenient for area neighbors and concerned citizens. Documentation of the meeting (including a copy of the meeting notification and a sign-in sheet) and a summary of the significant issues discussed is required as part of the application process for formal filing of the CUP.
Before the meeting, do your homework. The meeting notification letter will have provided some idea of what conditional use is being proposed. You may obtain copies of all documents in the file for your further study. Review the Land Development Code so that you know what the standards are for that conditional use. Think about the surrounding properties and current and future developments in the general area.
Then consider the following questions:
- Does this proposal “fit” the area in terms of density and quality?
- Is the proposed use needed and welcomed by the neighborhood?
- Are your roads sufficient to handle the additional traffic?
- Is the tract subject to flooding or causing flooding downstream if developed?
- Pretend you own the property proposed for development. What feedback from the neighbors would be useful for you?
When you attend the meeting, listen to the owner/developer’s presentation and compare it to your thoughts about the questions above. Remember that this is a very early stage; the developer should be able to give you general outlines but may not yet have definitive answers because the proposal will be reviewed by several agencies (e.g., MSD and the Highway Department) who will make their own recommendations and changes.