Even life’s greatest challenges present opportunities. If you were thinking about asking local government for additional concessions for your development project, now may be a good time.
As we move closer to the gradual re-opening of the economy, businesses and developers are altering their designs and operations to accommodate the possibility of prolonged social distancing in the coming months and, if needed, in the longer term. To that end, buildings altered to enhance space, air, and light, as well as supporting areas that lend themselves better to social distancing, ventilation, and sanitizing can market these features to buyers and tenants.
Current regulations may not properly account for the new emphasis on these kinds of features. Certainly, floor area, height, and other restrictions may limit redesigns or new features and force property owners and developers into difficult choices to forego safety in favor of more traditional building design. Avoiding this result may be a good incentive for local government decision-makers to consider variances and other modifications of current restrictions. In other words, the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures identified to prevent future waves of infection provide potential new justification for seeking relief from the limitations of zoning and other land use restrictions.
Our land use and zoning practice specializes in charting a course through local government restrictions to achieve our clients’ objectives. At times, that involves variances and administrative modifications where we work within the code parameters, while at other times amending the code is more appropriate.