by Tina Vannucci, Attorney, Fitzgibbons Law
As you drive around almost any Arizona community, you see new construction nearly everywhere.
If that activity has prompted you to consider launching your own commercial or residential development, these tips might help you get started.
Be sure the property is properly zoned for your intended use. Most cities include a zoning map on their website, so you can easily determine the zoning for your property. You can also call the city’s planning department to inquire about the current zoning and its allowed uses.
If the zoning does not accommodate your use, you will need to work with the city (or, in unincorporated areas, the county) to rezone the property. The rezoning process usually includes a pre-application meeting with city staff to discuss your intended plans and any issues they anticipate.
After this meeting, you will need to submit a formal application to be reviewed and approved by city staff, the planning and zoning commission, and the city council.
Once your property is properly zoned, you will need to obtain the necessary permits to begin construction.
This will require submission of construction and other plans that address such issues as drainage, utilities, landscaping, ingress/egress and traffic. Your plans also may need to be approved by utility providers and state and local government agencies.
Finally, after the city has determined that your plans meet all code requirements applicable to your intended use, you will receive permits to start construction.
Permits and inspections
After completion of each stage of your project, the city will require inspections and approvals before issuing subsequent permits. You will need to work with the city on scheduling to minimize inspection-related project delays.
Utility providers and other impacted entities may have their own permit and inspection requirements.
Once you receive final approval, you will be issued a certificate of occupancy, which gives you the right to occupy the newly constructed buildings.
Fees and other costs
You also should be aware of the costs required throughout this process. In addition to the costs for preparing any necessary plans, the fees will likely include application fees, review fees, permit fees, inspection fees and development impact fees.