What is Land Entitlement?

What is Land Entitlement?

May 24, 2024
June 14, 2024
Blog Posts
Jeanne Shaffer
Jeanne Shaffer

Land entitlement encompasses all the various jurisdictional approvals required before construction can begin. The exact requirements of the entitlement process vary depending on local, state, and federal authorities, as well as factors such as property location, size, and other unique characteristics of the property and project. The following entitlement processes are common, and some (or all) may apply to a project.

  • Pre-Application: The first step with the jurisdiction prior to submitting a formal entitlement process application. The purpose of this is to provide general development proposal information and receive initial feedback and direction from the jurisdiction. It typically includes a meeting with the jurisdiction’s planning, engineering, building, and other department staff.
  • Annexation: Inclusion into an incorporated city from an unincorporated county jurisdiction and is typically pursued when there is a benefit to being under the city’s jurisdiction. Benefits include zoning/use allowances, access to water, sewer, or transportation network, and economic incentives. Specific legal requirements must be met to qualify for annexation.
  • Rezoning: Changes the zone district to allow desired uses, intensity, or density to develop on property.
  • Subdivision Plat: Divides a larger property into smaller lots or parcels for sale or individual development.
  • Site Plan Approval: Jurisdictional review to confirm that a development is in compliance with landscaping, lighting, parking, architectural elevations, and other site/building design regulations.
  • Conditional Use or Special Use Permits: Uses that can be allowed/approved in a specific zone district, subject to compliance with additional regulations. Usually these uses have greater negative impacts that must be mitigated to be allowed to operate on a property.
  • Civil Construction Documents: Review by public works and engineering department for site design, roadway design, stormwater, detention, water quality, etc.
  • Utility Permits: Water, sewer, electric, gas, and telecom review processes.
  • Building Permit: Review of building construction plans.

The entitlement process also can include neighborhood meetings, jurisdictional staff review, variances, planning commission hearing, and city council or board of county commissioner public hearings. Other processes or reviews from architectural and design review committees and property owner associations can also be required and impact the jurisdictional entitlement processes.

Entitlements are multifactorial and nuanced. A skilled entitlement professional is uniquely qualified to navigate all issues that arise during this process, and their involvement will add certainty and minimize risk. If you need assistance getting your projects through the entitlement process, please reach out to Alcorn, and I’ll help guide you through the process with our entitlement services.

Jeanne Shaffer
Director of Land Use Entitlements