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What Are the Processes Required to Develop Land in Pennsylvania?

If you have a decent sized plot of land you may have a goldmine and not even realize it. Raw land is frequently far more valuable than people realize if the location is right and the land I suitable for development. If you are considering developing the land you own your first inquiry will likely be “What are the processes required to develop land in Pennsylvania?”

Exactly which processes or steps are required to develop the land you have will, to some extent, depend on whether you plan to develop the land for personal use or subdivide the land. In addition, the steps required for developing residential versus commercial construction will also vary somewhat. Some of the processes are the same without regard to what you plan to build on your land though.

  1. Decide what type of development. While some issues apply to all types of development, you will clearly follow a different path if you plan to build your own dream house than if you plan to develop a commercial complex on your land. Therefore, you need to decide early on what you ultimately wish to do with the land.
  2. Check the zoning. In the world of land development, zoning is everything. You cannot do anything with land unless the land is zoned for the intended use. For example, if you wish to build office buildings on your land but the land is currently zoned for residential use you have a problem. While it is possible to change the zoning on your land, doing so will take time and is not something you can count on until it is approved. Therefore, it is crucial to check the zoning first and deal with any obstacles before moving forward.
  3. Complete studies. Along with making sure the law allows you to develop the land as you wish, you also need to check to make sure the land itself is suitable for your intended purpose. Is the land in a flood plane? Would development threaten an endangered species or otherwise cause environmental problems? Would a subdivision create a traffic problem? Studies may need to be ordered to answer questions such as these.
  4. Complete and submit plans. This is where the steps will begin to vary depending on what your plans for the land are; however, you will likely need to submit a complete set of plans to the appropriate planning commission for your county or town. This will likely require you to hire a licenses engineer and surveyor to complete the plans. The planning commission will review the plans and approve or deny them. Once approved, you may move to the next step.
  5. Hire a general contractor. After your plans for the development of the land have been approved by the appropriate commission you will need to hire a general contractor for the project. The GM should then handle hiring all the sub-contractors from that point on.

Developing land is usually a complex process, even if you are only planning to build your dream house. Working with an experienced real estate and zoning attorney is the key to getting through the process with as few obstacles as possible. Contact the experienced Conshohocken, Pennsylvania real estate law attorneys at Curley & Rothman, LLC by calling 610-834-8819 today to schedule your free consultation.