Working as a Land Planner is a very unique skill and a lot of fun when working on a Land development project. Especially, when the land was owned by a previous developer that went bankrupt. The size of the deal and budget will determine the amount of people that are involved. Typically, a Land Planner works on rezoning, a final plating for a subdivision, and/ or creating a Planned Unit Development (PUD). The process of Land Planning starts with asking a lot of questions from a lot of people. A Land Planner asks a lot of questions and seeks the answers. Lastly, the Land Planner must obtain entitlements.
Questions a land planner should consider are: How many people live here?, How many households are there?, What is the average income?, Is this town growing?, What does the town need?, Were there any previous plans with this land that we need to be aware of?, and much more.
I am working as a land planner on a project in Strasburg, CO. This property is 53.43 acres on I-70 in the town of Strasburg. Strasburg is a smaller town to the East of Denver. There are 4,487 people within a 3-mile radius, and there are 1,639 households in the same radius. The average income for the area is $93,470. The Pauls Corporation has built 814 single family homes in this town, and the owner is planning another 700 homes.
This town is growing for a couple reasons. First, there is a group of people who like the easy pace of country living with the convenience of being close to the city. This group is moving out of the city and into the country. Second, the commute to good paying jobs in the Denver Metro area is reasonable. For Example, Aurora is 30 minutes and Downtown Denver is 55 minutes in traffic (the same as the commute to Highlands Ranch)!
As it turns out a previous land developer worked on this land 13 years ago. He put together a PUD which included 290,000 sf of retail and 110,000 sf of office space on the 53.43 acres. He made a lot of promises that have caused a lot of problems for my client and the County. A couple years and tens of thousands of dollars were spent before I came on board determining the previous plan was not viable. The next step is entitlements.
In order to develop land, the owner is required to get entitlements. Entitlements, or lack of entitlements, are what make some land worth $300 per square foot and other land worth $0.05 per square foot. A downtown lot where a high rise property can be built is more valuable land than farm or ranch land in the country on a per square foot basis. Obtaining entitlements includes government planning, zoning, water, and sewer, and these entitlements allow us to actually do something with the land. Overall, entitlements greatly enhance the value of the land.
Asking the right questions and seeking answers helped the land developer generate a new idea. Now, we are working on a new and more simple plan that will fit in better with the surrounding development and serve the needs of the community. We are planning on six commercial lots along the highway and 13 residential lots. Altogether we will have 19 lots averaging 2.5 acres a piece.