Site design and project entitlements

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Site design and project entitlements

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  WBS 3 days, 8 hours ago.

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  • #3559093

    WBS
    Participant

    So I work in a planning department and I typically receive applications for development projects, among other things. It seems like the site design/master planning skills that landscape architects possess would be greatly complimented with the ability to get project entitlements. Is this something many LA’a do? I don’t see it in my region and I am curious why.

    #3559096

    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    We have a lot of regulation on home construction here on Cape Cod. Most of the projects that I work on are as part of a team consisting of an architect, builder or developer, civil engineer, landscape architect (me), and often an attorney. These projects are usually waterfront homes that are being torn down and replaced with a new custom home for a wealthy client who bought the older house for the water front lot. We have to deal with wetlands protections, setbacks, buffer zones, mitigation plantings, …), zoning (setbacks, lot coverage, building height,…), sometimes architectural review boards, and sometimes historic district review. This all works best with a full team, but most of it could be done with just the civil engineer’s knowledge and experience. The tougher situations require the attorney. I’d say that most LA’s have a general knowledge – some more deep than others and familiarity with the exact boards and local regulation is geographically specific.

    So, I would say that a landscape architect that has extensive familiarity with the specific community’s regulation could be capable, but not likely as strong as a more experienced CE. However, a client or developer who is trying to be very well prepared would want to have an LA experienced in the local regulations as a part of the team in order to have a well prepared plan and present at the hearings to immediately address remedies for any concerns brought up during a hearing.

    I go present plans at Conservation hearings (sometimes all alone) all of the time and occasionally present at zoning board of appeals hearings (but only as a member of a team).

    I’m not sure that I’m answering the question that you asked, but that is how things are in my little world.

    #3559099

    WBS
    Participant

    I guess I was just trying to facilitate a conversation and didn’t have any specific questions. Thanks for letting me know!

    I agree that a CE might be more helpful leading the entitlement of a parcel map or a subdivision entitlement or in an area that specific stormwater/infrastructure constraints may be present because most of the project concerns would likely be directed to an CE to address. Of course, if the jurisdiction just needs a site plan and a project description, it might a great opportunity for an LA to navigate the regulations of site design for a land developer, lets say.

    #3559105

    Andrew Garulay, RLA
    Participant

    I’m not sure that I understand what you mean by entitlement, but I assume it means vetting out the possibility of a project moving forward.

    I think the difficulty is that unless the LA is continuously involved in every regulation applicable to the project in question, it is easy to “not know what you don’t know”.

    A lot of people reach out to me to see if they can do what they want to do on a lot that they see is for sale. I can check zoning, look for wetlands possibilities, see if it is in a historic district, see if there is a public water protection district, look to see if is in an endangered species habitat, … those are some of the things that I would know to look for – would not be surprised if I got blind sided by something else. I don’t think many of the LAs working in the towns that I work in would know to check for all of those, but maybe some would.

    It is much better to use people that are constantly involved and sitting through a lot hearings while waiting to present their own projects week after week. When I check out things like this for friends and colleagues it is to either rule it out or so they don’t waste time and money, or to let them know it might be worth follow up with a CE or an attorney.

    #3559109

    Lee Martin
    Participant

    Where are you working?

    LAs frequently take a lead role on large multi-use planning & zoning projects in and along the Front Range. It really depends on the type of project and the developer’s preference as to who gets hired as the lead. Civils and architects can be perfectly capable of taking the lead as well, although in my experience that usually that works out better on smaller jobs.

    #3559133

    WBS
    Participant

    I work in a planning department on the west coast. That is good to know that some LA’s are taking this role, seems like a natural fit.

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