In The News
How the Land Entitlement Process Works in Utah
Land entitlement is the process of acquiring the legal right to develop a piece of land.Sept, 2022
- Zoning Request: The approval process begins with a rezoning request. The rezoning request must be submitted to the city or county in which the property is located. The rezoning request must include a detailed plan for the proposed development, as well as information about the zoning regulations in the area. Once the rezoning request has been submitted, it will be reviewed by the planning department and the city or county council. If the rezoning request is approved, the developer will then need to obtain approval from the Utah Division of Natural Resources for any proposed changes to the land that may affect water, air quality, or other environmental factors.
- City Planning department meet to review request: After the rezoning request has been approved and the necessary environmental approvals, the planning department will set a DRT meeting to review additional factors such as elevations, landscaping, traffic, and parking. You may also have to provide environmental information and pay necessary fees. Once the meeting has been held, the planning department will make a recommendation to the city or county council. If the recommendation is favorable, the developer will then need to obtain approval from the city or county for any proposed changes to the land.
- Appeal: If the planning department votes against your request you may appeal the decision. This process varies depending on which Utah city you are working with.
- Obtain necessary building permits: If the planning department votes in favor of your request the next step is to get a building permit from the city or county. Your architect will be required to send in plans that include the building and surrounding landscaping, as well as meet all the requirements of the various departments – including, but not limited to Fire, Traffic, Water/Sewer and Parking requirements. This permit is necessary before any construction can begin on the land.
- Neighborhood Hearing: This hearing usually takes the form of an open-house meeting that will require you to send out notices or place information on the city’s website. This open-house meeting is among the most important aspects of the entire process. It’s at this hearing that any members of the public who may be impacted by your development will have an opportunity to voice their concerns. Even if every other aspect of the zoning request has gone smoothly the neighborhood meeting could derail the entire plan.
- Final Approval: After the neighborhood hearing, the city or county will make a decision on whether to approve or deny your request.
Types of land entitlement in UtahThere are many types of entitlement that could apply including:
- Rezoning: The zoning of land is controlled by local authorities and can dictate how land can be used. If you want to use your land for a purpose that is not allowed by the current zoning, you will need to apply for a rezoning.
- Utility approvals: In order to connect your development to water, sewer, or other utilities, you will need to obtain approval from the utility provider.
- Zoning variances: A zoning variance is an approval from the city or county to use your land in a way that is not allowed by the current zoning regulations.
- Building permits: Before you can begin any construction on your land, you will need to obtain a building permit from the city or county.
- Landscaping: In some cases, landscaping may be subject to approval from the city or county.
- Elevations: Depending on your Utah city, elevations may be subject to approval from the city or county.
- Traffic and parking: Traffic and parking may be subject to approval from the city or county.
- Environmental impact: Any development that could potentially impact the environment will need to undergo an environmental impact assessment.
- Road approvals: If roads don’t already exist on your land, you will need to obtain approval from the city or county to build them.
Why is entitlement important?Entitlement is a necessary part to any large commercial or land development project. Without entitlement, a project cannot move forward to the construction phase. There are many reasons why entitlement is so important. One of the most important reasons is that it protects the developer from potential lawsuits. If a development does not have the proper entitlements in place and something goes wrong, the developer could be held liable. Another reason why entitlement is important is that it helps to ensure that the project meets all of the necessary requirements. By going through the entitlement process, developers can be sure that their projects are in compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations. Finally, entitlement also helps to protect the investment that has been made in the project. If a project does not have the proper entitlements, it could be at risk of being shut down by the city or county. This could result in a loss of money for the developer and could delay the project significantly.
How to get started with the land entitlement process
Entitlement is an important part of the development process and should not be overlooked. Anyone who is planning on developing land in Salt Lake City or surrounding areas has to go through this process in order to move forward with their project. For a successful entitlement process it’s important to be prepared and take the proper steps to mitigate risk. Having the right members of your team with land entitlement experience is crucial to the success of your project. Contact Jody Jones at 801-577-2175. She can help you get started with the land entitlement process, or put you in touch with the best people to round out your team!