The Right Values for Zoning Matters Part 1

Highest & Best Use, Reasonable Likelihood of Rezoning, & Value Impact On Surrounding Properties

Honesty. Integrity. Attention to detail. Since beginning our practice in 1991, we’ve built our reputation on these three values. When we’re called to consult on a zoning matter, our values are put into action.

Basics of zoning

Zoning analysis and expert testimony is just one of many services Argianas provides its clients. For proposed development not allowed as a matter of right, we frequently are called upon to prepare and present evidence at zoning hearings. These hearings may involve the reasonable likelihood of rezoning, special use permits and/or zoning variances, and local governmental concern as to whether new development allowed – subject to issuance of a special use permit – will result in a value diminution to the surrounding environs and neighboring properties. For these situations, zoning hearings require expert testimony by a licensed real estate appraiser. This is a specialty area that requires unique valuation and presentation skills that Argianas has offered its clients for many years.

A Team of experts

The process requires a team approach typically comprised of legal counsel, a land planner, a civil engineer, and an appraiser. After meeting with local officials, counsel puts together a team of land planners (to address development, life-safety and economic impact concepts), civil engineers (engineering needs usually involve sewer and water/drainage, utility and traffic control/stoplights, curb cuts, etc.), and valuation expertise involving highest and best use and potential value impacts to surrounding properties assuming a special use permit is granted.

different assignments, same questions

When hired to work on a zoning assignment, we may work on behalf of the proposed development or on behalf of the municipality. The ultimate question we face is, “Will this development result in an inconsistent land use or a diminution of value to surrounding properties?” A factor we consider is compatibility – does this property make sense to put here? And to find the answer to these questions, we begin our investigation.

No matter how a zoning project may differ from the last – and they always differ – the appraiser’s role stays the same, the impact of a property’s development on surrounding properties assuming a special use permit is granted. We gather and review planning concepts, building plans, and proposed construction costs while tempering these considerations with existing land uses for surrounding properties. Our efforts include field reconnaissance and reviews of local zoning ordinances. Once all necessary data is gathered and analyzed, we create a report.

When drafting the report, we keep to the idea that “less is more”. Because the report will become a part of public record, we use discretion, limit extemporaneous information, and only include what is necessary to provide support for our conclusion. We work closely with legal counsel to ensure continuity with other team experts.

Presentation of Findings

Once all team members have completed their efforts and documented their findings, a formal presentation before the zoning board is made.  These meetings are open to the public so members of the community can attend. At the meeting, the team of experts present their findings before the board and we as the appraiser will be asked to speak on whether a “zoning modification will result in any change to value of the surrounding properties?”

Skillful research, reporting and presentation efforts are needed for special use permit hearings. Our President, Charles Argianas, explains that successful hearings speak to highest and best use analysis and truth.

the right values, the right experts

If you’re looking for an expert you can trust to approach your zoning matter with honesty, integrity and attention to detail, do not hesitate to give us a call at (630) 390-0113 or complete this form. Be sure to join our mailing list to receive our e-newsletter.