Companies need a lot of information before developing land

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2022 | Environmental And Natural Resources Law, Land Use Law

Companies in Oregon looking to develop office buildings, warehouses, shopping malls, factories and other commercial spaces have different approaches. One is to buy the land with existing commercial real estate with buildings and try to renovate the existing structures. They could also buy the property, knock down the buildings, and build new ones more desirable to the market. Of course, they can also start from scratch, buying vacant land and building structures. Each of the three options has its benefits and drawbacks.

Do your due diligence

Before making any purchase, it is wise to do research. The potential buyer should determine if the land is buildable. City, state or even federal authorities may regulate land use. The regulations may prohibit specific changes or any builds. Issues to consider before buying include:

Zoning: The property may be zoned for agriculture, commercial or residential use. The buyer needs to determine if the zoning aligns with their goals or if it’s possible to get a variance.

Subdivision: Some subdivisions have particular regulations in place that restrict building height, distance from the road, aesthetic details, or infrastructure issues like regulations about drilling a well or installing a septic system.

Title search: These will not tell the buyer about the zoning and some other details, but the title shows who owns a piece of property, deed restrictions, leans, and easements.

Wetlands: These are highly regulated by state or federal environmental agencies and may have restrictions because they play an essential role in the environment, particularly for flood control, water purification, shoreline stability and carbon sink (plants, soil and other natural resources that absorb carbon).

Flood plains: Buying property with a flood plain means that construction can only occur on certain parts of the lot and will need special permits that include a plan for managing the flood plain.

Building department: It is always advisable to speak with the building department staff with the jurisdiction of the potential land purchase. They can provide insight into the land and whether it is buildable. They can also provide maps of the area and potential issues they commonly see.

Experience can make a difference

Buying land is often a significant investment, particularly if there are big plans for developing it. So, working with someone who understands the ins and outs of land use regulations in Oregon is often helpful. They can also propose creative and practical solutions to many roadblocks threatening the project’s viability.