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The land entitlement process

When you are searching for commercial properties with plans for development, the land entitlement process is one of the primary steps you must go through. Before you can do anything with a property, you must get approval for your plans through the local municipality, and often the county and state, as well.

Land entitlement determines what you can build, how you can build it, what the uses of the building can be and more.

Zoning restrictions

You must find out what the land use and zoning restrictions are for the property you plan to purchase. If you want to buy real estate in a residential area, you may have trouble getting approval for commercial use of the property. Likewise, you may find there are some roadblocks to buying a building zoned for industrial purposes and renovating it for condominiums.

In some cases, you may be able to acquire a zoning variance that allows you to develop the land for one type of business use, even though zoning for the properties around it is different. You must typically be able to show that if the municipality allows you to do this, it will not lower the values of the properties surrounding yours.

Environmental permits

You may need to apply for multiple permits from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. For example, you may need a permit to alter the terrain, to withdraw groundwater or to build within 250 feet of certain shorelines. The state requires temporary permits for emissions and other factors that affect the environment during the building or renovation process, as well.

Roads and utilities

Especially for previously undeveloped land, you may need to seek municipal approval to create roads or share existing roads. Ensuring continued maintenance of the roads may also be a part of gaining compliance. You will also need to seek approval for utilities, which may involve donating land for easements and complying with other municipal requirements.

The complexities of any one aspect of the land entitlement process can be confusing, and missing anything during the planning stage could create major issues as you proceed. Many developers seek the advice and assistance of an attorney to ensure that they are able to maximize the potential of a real estate purchase.

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