What Are Entitlements In Real Estate? (TOP 5 Tips)

Real estate entitlements are a set of approvals needed for the right to develop a piece of land. The term entitlements doesn’t refer to any one specific approval. Common real estate entitlements include: Use permit. Zoning variances.

What is the land entitlement process?

  • Land entitlement is the legal process of obtaining approvals for your development plans. This process can be lengthy, complicated, and at times, expensive. Simply put, entitlements are a legal agreement between you and the governing municipality to allow for the development of a certain building type.


What does land use entitlements mean?

Entitled land is land that has all required government agency permissions to be developed for specific use. Entitlement is the process by which you gain the legal right to develop a property for your chosen use.

What is an entitlement process?

Entitlement processes are timelines that include all the steps (or milestones) that your support team must complete to resolve support records like cases or work orders. Each process includes the logic necessary to determine how to enforce the correct service level for your customers.

What is an entitlement deed?

An entitlement is a general term used to describe a variety of land use approvals that grant a vested right to the landowner to develop their property.

What does entitlements mean in construction?

The process of Entitlements is the legal method of obtaining discretionary approvals for the right to develop and/or construct on a property for its desired use (s).

How long do entitlements last?

Here in California, most developers will estimate a 12 to 18-month schedule for entitlements, assuming that the local jurisdiction is fairly pro-development and the project does not come with a lot of controversy and opposition. And then in some cases, the entitlement schedule might span 3 to 4 years – or longer.

What fully entitled means?

“Fully Entitle”, or “Fully Entitling”, means, with respect to a specific portion of the Property, Borrower has obtained all of the Remaining Entitlements with respect thereto, such Entitlements are final, all applicable statutes of limitations and appeal periods thereunder have expired, including statutes of

What is an entitlement package?

January 6, 2017| DIGBClientsFeatured, Specialist| AIA California. Entitlement is approval from governmental agencies to use or develop a parcel of land. Approval may depend on many factors—including the building’s use and size, appearance, historic status, and environmental impact—overseen by separate agencies.

What are entitlement costs?

Entitlement Costs means the aggregate amount of costs and expenses actually incurred by Parent and the Company (including, but not limited to, the fees and expenses of attorneys, architects, consultants and other advisors and any overhead costs such as reasonable travel and entertainment) to seek or obtain approval by

What is entitlement risk?

What Is Entitlement Risk? Entitlement risk occurs when trying to acquire a property and develop it for a specific use. Entitlement risk can include zoning as well. However, if the property is zoned for the developer’s use before being acquired, zoning doesn’t present any risk.

What is the difference between permits and entitlements?

Entitlements are issued when an entity obtains approval to develop a building for a specific use. For example, a building that was originally created to hold a library would require a change of use permit to later be adapted into a restaurant.

How do you prove ownership of personal property?

To officially prove ownership of a property, you will require Official Copies of the register and title plan; these are what people commonly refer to as title deeds because they are the irrefutable proof of ownership of a property.

How do you prove ownership of property?

Documents required to prove ownership of flats

  1. Sale Deed.
  2. Sub-Lease Deed in case the land is given to a builder on permanent lease, from whom the flat is purchased.
  3. Proofs of deposits of property tax/electricity bills/water bills etc.
  4. Will (along with probate) in case of inheritance.

What are entitlement services?

The entitlement service accepts a single, multi-valued string attribute that specifies the root nodes for searching the Security Access Manager protected object namespace. This specification enables the application to limit its search to a particular set of protected objects in the web space.

Real Estate Entitlements: A Guide for Developers

Real estate has traditionally been the preferred investment for people seeking to accumulate long-term wealth for their families and future generations. By subscribing to our complete real estate investment guide, you will receive assistance in navigating this asset class. Every new development begins with a concept for how to enhance a piece of real land. This is the beginning of every new development. However, without the right real estate entitlements, the project would never be able to come to fulfillment.

What are real estate entitlements?

Real estate entitlements are a collection of permissions required in order to have the right to develop a piece of property. The phrase “entitlements” does not relate to any specific approval or authorization. Depending on the exact project and region, a number of different permissions may be required to complete the project. Additionally, entitlements are not granted by a single office or department. There are a variety of different city, county, and state departments that a developer may be required to obtain approvals from for various aspects of a commercial real estate development project.

  • Approval of site plans, approval of architectural designs, approval of landscaping, permission to install utilities, permission to construct a road, and other requirements.

When do you need entitlements?

In the majority of cases, real estate entitlements are necessary when a vacant parcel of land is being developed. However, they are frequently necessary on improved property when the usage, appearance, or landscaping of the property is going to be altered in any way. The scope of the project will determine the extent to which entitlements will be required. When taking down an existing restaurant and building a new one, the procedure will be far less complicated than when converting an empty piece of undeveloped land into a retail center.

The process for getting entitlements

The actual method for obtaining rights varies from development project to development project and from local municipality to local municipality. Having a master plan for a city or township is typical practice in the United States. This master plan outlines the strategy for growth and development that the local government will employ. The manner in which a particular project is integrated into the master plan will define the nature of the entitlement process. In general, the following are the actions to take in order to get each land entitlement:

Project review

Even though it is not a formal procedure, it is advisable to consult with the local planning director about the project. You will normally receive a straightforward explanation from the planning director as to how the development will fit into the master plan and what factors you should take into consideration while designing the development.

Knowing what the planning board is likely to want to see – and what they could object to – is really valuable information. It’s also beneficial to have a positive working connection with the planning director, because they often offer recommendations to the board of directors.

Zoning variances or rezoning

Hopefully, your proposed development will comply with the zoning regulations for the land use that you have in mind. If this is the case, you will not be required to request any revisions or permissions. If the zoning does not permit your proposed development and land use, you will need to petition the planning board to either amend the zoning or grant a variance to your request. Zoning regulations are occasionally out of date, and they may be easily amended. You may also be required to make a persuasive case for why the development would benefit the community and will have no negative influence on the adjacent area at other times.

  • The planning board may be referred to by a different name in your local jurisdiction, such as the planning commission or the planning committee.
  • Afterward, the planning board will ask questions and vote on whether or not to approve the modification.
  • If they do not authorize the usage, they may ask you to make adjustments that would be necessary in order to obtain permission.
  • Another possibility is that you’ll receive a flat “no,” which implies that you won’t be granted your land-use permission.
  • Residents and businesses in the neighborhood will be notified of the proposed zoning deviations or amendments, as well as the development, so that they can attend the public hearing and express their opinions or ask questions.
  • The thoughts and comments of the general public will be taken into account by the city council or township board when deciding whether or not to accept the use permit.
  • If it is not authorized, you can address the grounds for the denial and file an appeal with the court.

Use permit

If you were required to submit a rezoning or zoning variance request, there will very certainly be restrictions attached, one of which will be that the property must be utilized for the precise use that you suggested. In this instance, you will very certainly not be needed to get an usage permission. It is quite likely that it will be included in your zoning approval. If your proposed use is permissible under the zoning regulations, obtaining permission for a use permit will be the first step in the approval process.

It’s critical to conduct thorough research on the local master plan or planned unit development since some places may be allocated for extremely specific purposes, regardless of what is permitted under the zoning rule.

After passing through the planning board, you will most likely be invited to present your case before the city council or township board.

There may be constraints attached to the usage permission. This may include limiting the provision of additional services or goods, making certain enhancements to the real estate, or refraining from removing trees from the property.

Project approvals

There will be a number of other permissions necessary, which may vary based on the jurisdiction and the development project in question. The majority of these land rights are associated with building. These may also need to be approved by the planning board before being implemented. Perhaps you can combine them instead of going through the same approval procedure more than once, saving you time and money. Site plan approvals, architectural design approvals, and utility hookup permissions are among the types of approvals that may be required for your project.

This is by no means an entire list, but rather a selection of some of the more prevalent disorders to keep in mind.

The difference between land entitlements and zoning

Zoning regulations provide broad restrictions for the sorts of structures and uses that are permitted in certain zones of the city. They are set in place in order to regulate how the various sectors of the community are developed and improved. Development should be restricted to specific regions in order to safeguard the usage and pleasure of the community. For example, places will be designated to prohibit a factory from being established in the center of a residential neighborhood, which would be inappropriate.

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Zoning rules can be thought of more as constraints than as rights in most cases.

They prevent you from creating items that do not adhere to the rules.

When you get the entitlements, you have the authority to perform the necessary land improvements and to utilize the land in the manner agreed upon by the local government.

Real Estate Entitlements Explained

Receiving real estate entitlements is essential when purchasing vacant land or redeveloping an existing property, as well as when verifying the authorized use of existing developments on a site. Entitlements are basically precise permits granted to property in relation to its usage that are specific to the property. A distinction exists between entitlements and the general rights that every property owner possesses, such as the Constitutional right against unjustified search and seizure, and general rights that pertain to the specific use of the land as given by an appropriate governmental agency.

  • The general plan of a county or city is often where entitlementrequirements are established.
  • Generally, general plans designate certain regions under their authority for residential or commercial development, as well as open space areas for the benefit of inhabitants and companies.
  • General plans are often painted in broad strokes, but they set the stage for more precise documents such as zoning and land use laws to be developed later on.
  • The compliance with architectural review boards is also required in some localities as part of the building code compliance process.
  • Despite the fact that they are not the same as government rules, they are a contract engaged into when acquiring real estate and are therefore legally enforceable.

Consider are instances of real estate entitlements that we could require in order to construct a bespoke house on an empty lot. The list of entitlements will, of course, change depending on the unique state, county, and local regulations, among other factors.

  • Grading permit, tree removal/relocation permit, building permit, utility connection permit(s), sewage disposal system permit (if a septic system is required)
  • Architectural design approval (per CC Rs or similar requirements)
  • Subdivision map (approved tentative and final maps)
  • Zoning variance

It is necessary to provide supporting documents for these entitlements before they can be approved in order to ensure that the property is fit for the changes that are planned. The following are examples of studies and reports that are often undertaken and prepared:

  • Survey of the boundary and topography
  • Phase I and Phase II Environmental Reports (to check for ground contamination)
  • Geotechnical and soils investigation
  • Inspection of trees and other surface plants
  • Report of the perc test (if a septic system is necessary)
  • Tests on the well (if the well is to be used as a water source)
  • Site preparation and construction plans that are in depth
  • A review of the architecture

Because each site is unique, particular rights, as well as associated research and publications, might differ significantly from one another. It is the obligation of the person who intends to develop the land to get the necessary entitlements. In order to lessen a buyer’s risk while simultaneously increasing the value of the land, it is usual for sellers to do a few tests and inspections (for example, environmental testing). Many developers insist on having all of the necessary entitlements in place before purchasing a property.

If you have any queries concerning real estate entitlements, land acquisition, or other general real estate subjects, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

What is the Entitlement Process?

It is the legal procedure by which a real estate developer or landowner attempts to secure government permission for their development plans. The development entitlement process, also known as the land use entitlement process, may be found here. Before they can begin construction, the developer must first get all of the necessary entitlements, which include zoning, density, design, use, and occupancy approvals. However, even though the entitlement process might be lengthy and difficult, it is the most critical step in the development process!

Examples of Entitlement

Zoning is the process of determining the function of property in a certain place by separating land into zones in which some land uses are authorized and others are not. If the land you propose to construct on is not designated for the purpose for which you intend to use it, you must first obtain permission to rezone the property before proceeding. Land is rezoned when its use or purpose changes, and this is the procedure through which the land is reassigned to another zone.

Zoning Variances

Variances in zoning regulations are requests to differ from the present zoning regulations. When a variance is granted, the landowner is given permission to use his or her property in a way that is not authorized by the zoning code. It is possible to obtain exceptions for things like adding more off-street parking or installing a fence along a property border.

Use Permits

Use permits, which are similar to zoning variances, allow a landowner to use his or her property for a purpose that is not permitted by the municipality’s zoning code.

Your development project must be deemed essential or desirable by the government in order for it to proceed. Using the example of commercial land use in a residential neighborhood, or industrial land use in a commercial district, the zoning board may approve these types of uses.

Utility Approvals

If there are no utilities currently installed on the property, you must obtain approval before any utilities may be built. It is possible that some of the land may need to be donated to the city in order to facilitate adequate utility installation and utility company accessibility.


Prior to beginning a development project, you will almost always need to get your landscape design authorized to ensure that it complements the local environment.

Road Approvals

It is necessary to acquire approval before beginning construction if there are no roads connecting your land or if your development plan includes the building of new roadways on-site.

Land Entitlement: 11 Things You Must Know In 2021

Land entitlement refers to the legal procedure that must be followed in order to obtain permission for a development plan. It is regarded as a time-consuming, intricate, and expensive step of the real estate development procedure. If you’re presently in the middle of this stage of the procedure, this blog will provide you with all of the information you need. Let’s get this party started.

1. Land entitlement may occur for several reasons

Entitled land is land that has received all of the necessary government agency approvals to be developed for a certain purpose. Entitlement is the procedure through which you obtain the legal right to develop a piece of land for the purpose of your choosing. This procedure may need the participation of a number of different organizations and permits. The procedures shown here are only a few of the many things you may be required to complete as part of the eligibility process. Real estate zoning: Zoning ordinances are written rules that specify how real estate should be used in different zones.

  1. Recreational, transportation, agricultural, residential, and commercial uses are all possible on a piece of land.
  2. As a result, if you acquired land in a residential area with the intention of using it for commercial reasons, you would need to address the issue with your local municipality by requesting arezoning.
  3. As an alternative, they would want to obtain a waiver of a specific requirement in the zoning law, such as the front yard setback or a minimum construction size.
  4. A federal or state environmental evaluation procedure may be required depending on the type of construction you are performing and the sources of funding that you are relying on to complete the project.
  5. Use Permits: In many zoning codes, some uses are only permitted with the acquisition of a conditional use permit.
  6. Permits for Construction: In nearly every county or jurisdiction, you will be required to get a building permit prior to beginning construction on the site.
  7. This is a different process from any zoning approvals that may be required.
  8. Are you going to need to install any utilities?
  9. For power, water, gas, cable, and sewer to be extended to your property, you will most likely need to collaborate with the local public utility firm on this.

It is possible that you will need to obtain clearance from the local department of transportation for egress and entry from the road that fronts your property. Landscaping: If you intend to landscape or construct a pond, you may be required to obtain clearance for your design.

2. Land entitlement is important because you need permission from agencies in your area in order to build

This procedure can help you assess whether or not your growth process can continue. As a result, you must go through the land entitlement process and secure the necessary approvals from regulatory organizations. Throughout the process, you should anticipate speaking with government officials, city planners, and local people, as well as answering any concerns they may have about your proposed use of the site.

3. The process can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months

The procedure of obtaining land entitlements is not for the faint of heart. It can take anything from three to twelve months (at the very least!). It is important to note that the process differs depending on your location. Depending on the jurisdiction, some ordinances are more intricate than others. You’ll also have to deal with a variety of stakeholders, including employees, the local planning commission, the city council, and external consultants, among others. Even if everyone is on the same page, it is possible that you may have to go through several public hearings before receiving land entitlement permission.

There is no way you will complete your task in a month!

4. Land entitlement is a multi-step process

The specific stages involved in obtaining land entitlement will differ based on your state or province. In any case, we’ll go over the normal procedure in the next section. As a developer, you have the following responsibilities: Formally evaluate the existing zoning restrictions, the building code, as well as local legislation and initiatives that have been put in place. To a greater extent, the more you know about your local region, the better. This will assist you in understanding the decisions being made and the reasons for those decisions, since your city will be reviewing these documents throughout the process.

  1. Submit a formal proposal, as well as a conceptual design bundle, for consideration.
  2. Await the outcome of the tests.
  3. They will also make an effort to determine whether or not there are any ramifications for the local community.
  4. You will get a decision when all of the necessary information has been gathered and analyzed.
  5. Engage in social activities with members of your local community.

Keep in mind that your project will have an influence on the individuals who already live in the area. You want to be able to count on receiving both support and buy-in. If you are able to complete all of these procedures, you should have received the permission you require to move forward.

5. Land entitlement cost can vary

There is a good chance that you are searching the Internet for an estimate on how much the land entitlement procedure will cost you. Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward solution. The cost of your project is determined by your local jurisdiction and the specifics of your project. Talking with a land use attorney will help you realize how much money you will have to spend out of pocket because the cost will vary depending on your individual scenario. It might range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you don’t want to be caught off guard.

6. The process is at risk of being delayed

The planning department will analyze your application, and they will take great care to look at numerous studies that will decide how your land, and any modifications to it, will influence your local community and the surrounding environment. The majority of the time, studies are carried out by independent experts that evaluate concerns such as transportation and air pollution. As a result, the procedure might take several months in some cases (if not years). In addition, you may be needed to seek clearance from a number of other agencies.

Depending on the outcome of their evaluations, your project may be refused or may be postponed.

Consider the possibility that new laws would jeopardize the development of your project, or that you will encounter a variety of zoning or code infractions that were previously overlooked.

If your employees aren’t familiar with the procedure, this might lead to further difficulties.

7. Land entitlement is distinct from zoning

Many individuals are perplexed as to what the distinction is between zoning and entitlements. Zoning is only one component of a broader entitlement puzzle that includes other factors. Obtaining land entitlement approval grants you the authority to develop the property in the manner of your choosing. Zoning regulates what may be built on a parcel of land by enforcing a set of rules that are defined by law. However, land entitlement ultimately encompasses much more than simply rezoning a property.

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8. Land entitlement is frustrating without a plan

You’ll want to develop a step-by-step strategy for how to handle the land entitlement procedure for your specific project in order to make it as easy as possible. This can save you from experiencing severe disappointments or difficulties along the road. While conducting your research, keep the following questions in mind. Who will be a part of my team to assist me in making this initiative a success? Are you a legal professional? Who are the individuals who have previously gone through the process?

  • Persons who have previously had “high contact” roles with local authorities and who are already familiar with both people and the process should have a distinct edge in this procedure.
  • It is really vital to conduct this study accurately the first time.
  • Carry out your investigation and design your strategy in accordance with your findings!
  • What is the estimated cost of the land entitlement procedure for you?
  • Do you have any predictions for the future?

It is always beneficial to consult with the “experts” on your team. You may not be aware of the unexpected aspects of this procedure, but they may inform you of any difficulties or problems that may prevent you from gaining clearance for your project as quickly as you would want.

Final thoughts

Land entitlement may be a difficult procedure for developers, so don’t put it off any longer. You will almost certainly experience delays, depending on the nature of your project and the procedures followed by your municipality. You should keep in mind that agencies may want separate reviews from different service providers, and you’ll want to get this process rolling as swiftly as possible. Securing the services of a capable team to assist you in reviewing local rules and developing a plan will enable you to put your best foot forward.

We also have other resources for you.

Additional Resources

If you are looking to buy affordable land, you can check out ourListingspage. And before you acquire land, make sure you check outGokce Land Due Diligence Program. If you are looking to sell land, visit our page on how toSell Your Land.

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Now is the time to subscribe. I hope you have found this content to be interesting. If you are interested in purchasing or selling land, you should look into the following: Disclaimer: We are not attorneys, accountants, or financial advisors, and the information contained in this article is provided solely for informative reasons. Our own research and experience have informed this post, and while we strive to keep it accurate and up to date, it is possible that some inaccuracies have occurred.

  1. Erika is a former Director of Affordable Housing for the City of New York who has transitioned into a full-time land investor.
  2. She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Architecture and with a Master of Urban Policy from Columbia University before establishing Gokce Capital.
  3. Erika presently resides in the New York Metropolitan area with her husband, daughter, and cat.
  4. She is originally from Chicago and still considers herself to be a midwesterner at heart, despite her current location.
  5. ), Erika has a lot of interests.
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Understanding Entitlements in Real Estate

When planning a development project, one procedure that you should be familiar with is the entitlement process, which includes all of the steps involved. This procedure is centered on the intended use of the structure you are developing, its adherence to a municipal plan, and the overall aesthetic and design of the structure you are developing. An entitlement would very certainly be required if you wanted to build a structure for a very specified purpose. Because of the requirement to inform towns and neighborhoods through city council meetings and public hearings, this process may take many weeks or months.

Even though obtaining an entitlement is normally required when beginning a development project on an undeveloped piece of land, you may also be required to obtain an entitlement when making improvements to the landscaping, usage, or look of a property that has already been constructed.

The entitlement procedure might take anywhere between three and twelve months to complete once you’ve begun it.

This article provides a clear and complete overview of rights and what they imply for your development project’s success or failure. The most important takeaways are as follows:

  • Obtaining land entitlements is a legal agreement between you and a governing municipality that allows construction of a specific building type to occur in a specific location. There are three sorts of entitlement processes, which are as follows: ground-up construction, change-of-use, and the addition of a new facade to an existing structure. Entitlements are required for constructing a new structure on a piece of land, as well as for a variety of other purposes. They differ from zoning, which we will examine later

Three Types of the Entitlement Process

A person’s eligibility procedure may be divided into three main categories, each of which must be completed. Entitlement applications for new construction, change-of-use, and installing a new facade to an existing structure are among the most often seen.

Ground-Up Build

Ground up construction is a word that is often used in the construction industry to refer to structures that are created on land that previously did not have a structure on it. An application for this sort of entitlement can also be made in the case of a previously existing structure that was demolished largely to create room for the construction of a new structure. Whenever you decide to embark on this sort of building project, you will be needed to go through a lengthy and time-consuming approvals procedure beforehand.


Another sort of entitlement that is commonly seen is a change-of-use entitlement. If there are revisions to the zoning rules or the original intended use of a structure, this phrase is used to describe the alterations. It would be necessary to obtain an entitlement if you wished to convert the building from a restaurant into a grocery store if the original structure was a restaurant. When you receive approval for this sort of permit, be certain that you also obtain a certificate of occupancy.

Adding a New Facade to a Building That Already Exists

Changing the side of a building or the complete exterior of a property is not something that can be done overnight; you must go through the entire entitlement procedure before you are permitted to do so. To guarantee that the outside of the building conforms with the city’s general plan and municipal ordinances, design reviews and planning meetings must be attended by the project’s architect and planner. If you anticipate that these modifications will be significant, it is probable that an application for an entitlement will be required.

The consequences of finishing the work before applying for an entitlement are that you may be obliged to undo all of the improvements you’ve made, which will simply serve to squander your time and money.

When Do You Need an Entitlement?

The most typical reason for obtaining an entitlement is when you are planning to build on a piece of property that is currently deemed to be undeveloped. However, when you wish to improve the look, present landscaping, or general usage of a property, you need seek entitlements as well as permission from the local government. The sort of entitlement that you require will be determined by the nature of the project that you are planning. Important to keep in mind is that the amount of time required to complete the entitlement process will vary depending on the scope and size of the project at hand.

  • It is probable that the entitlement procedure may take much longer to complete for significant development projects before they are finally authorized.
  • There is, however, a broad structure to this process that you should be aware of before you begin the procedure.
  • The particular terms of the entitlement procedure will be determined by how closely the project matches with the master plan, which will be determined by the municipality.
  • All of this documents will need to be forwarded directly to the local planning authority for initial assessment and consideration.
  • In certain cases, it is conceivable that your building ideas and designs will not be compliant with the local planning code or zoning rules.
  • If you are given a brief amount of time to make changes before resubmitting the papers, you should take advantage of it.
  • If the environmental effect is considered to be minimal, your proposals will be forwarded to other municipal authorities for consideration.
  • You will be able to go into further depth about the project and how it will assist the surrounding community at this time.
  • If they do not approve, you may need to make some adjustments to your project to ensure that it is in line with the views of the individuals of the community who are opposed to it.

When your project successfully completes all of the processes outlined above in the entitlement process, you will most likely receive final approval from the city council or the local board of supervisors.

The Difference Between Zoning and Land Entitlements

It is critical that you grasp the distinction between zoning and land entitlements before submitting a land entitlement request. A zoning code provides developers with a set of regulations for the kind of buildings that can be constructed and the purposes that these structures can accommodate. When it comes to development, zoning is intended to provide enough control over how various portions of the surrounding community are developed. Communities can be safeguarded by ensuring that only specific forms of development can take place in each part of the city, and thereby protecting the communities inside the city.

  1. Away from commercial districts where there is a high volume of traffic, warehouses and industrial facilities will also be avoided.
  2. If the structure on which you wish to construct a building does not comply with local zoning regulations, it is extremely probable that construction on the project will be delayed.
  3. When you apply for an entitlement, you should be aware that this entitlement will only be granted for a certain purpose.
  4. Any additional modifications would necessitate the creation of a new entitlement.
  5. A building’s entitlements are the foundation of many construction projects, and they are required if you wish to begin erecting a structure on an undeveloped plot of ground.
  6. Your entitlement application should be accepted by the local planning authority if you use the proper route, which means that the first steps in the development process may begin immediately.

Jason Somers, PresidentFounder of Crest Real Estate

Jason Somers has over 15 years of professional expertise in the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, and he possesses the knowledge, judgment, and track record necessary to give an unrivaled level of service in the field of real estate. His extensive experience assists customers in the identification and acquisition of income-producing assets as well as value-added development prospects. Find out more about Jason Somersor get in touch with us.

Zoning vs. Entitlements

The majority of individuals purchase land for one primary reason: to construct a structure on it. With land, you have complete control over how your structure is built and may be customized exactly as you want it. However, before you can begin construction on your ideal house or establish an exciting new business, you must first deal with zoning and entitlement issues. In fact, zoning and entitlement are so critical that they can effectively put a stop to your project, or at the very least cause it to be placed on hold for an extended period of time.

If you don’t grasp what these processes are, it’s possible that your grandiose ambitions may be entirely derailed. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to these procedures and how to navigate them as smoothly as possible.


In the context of land use, zoning refers to a procedure and set of regulations administered by the local municipality that divides land into zones for different purposes based on the kind of use. Land is often divided into zones for residential, industrial, and commercial development, with restrictions placed on the size, density, and placement of developments in each zone. When you purchase land, it is possible that it may not be designated for the purpose that you desire; in this instance, you will need to file an application for rezoning.


Zoning governs what may and cannot be constructed on specific parcels of land, but it is simply a component of a more difficult procedure known as entitlement that must be completed first. When it comes to land development, whereas zoning regulations predetermine what a piece of land may be used for, entitlement is an approval that must be obtained from the government in order to develop property in the manner of your choosing. An enormous amount of work goes into the entitlement process, and before granting it, governments will take into account an array of factors, including traffic consequences, environmental danger, and community responses to a possible development.

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The Best Way to Handle Land Entitlement

It is critical to deal with a real estate development business that is familiar with the rules governing land entitlement in Denver and around the United States because regulations vary from state to state. Centerpoint delivers exceptional entitlement services in Denver and around the United States. As a client of Centerpoint, you will benefit from a dedicated staff that is committed to obtaining your approval as quickly as possible. Contact Centerpoint right now to get started on your large-scale development projects today.

Guide to the Entitlement Process for Land Development Projects

It is possible that investing in and developing untitled property may prove to be one of the most risky and profitable enterprises in the commercial real estate industry. A large amount of money must be invested long before any revenue can be generated, making the entitlement process in particular a high-risk endeavor with the possibility for delays and even complete failure. Developers must be extremely alert in order to recognize, predict, comprehend, and plan for the different difficulties that might arise during the process, especially in light of these dangers.

A High-Level Overview of Entitlements However, although the specific steps differ from one jurisdiction to the next, the typical entitlement process requires a developer to submit a formal proposal, conceptual design package, as well as various environmental and technical studies to the local planning department in order for the project to be approved.

  1. Formally examined in accordance with existing zoning restrictions, the planning code, and relevant municipal legislation and initiatives
  2. Tested to verify that there are no significant negative environmental consequences
  3. Other relevant city agencies have been consulted in order to obtain their agreement and sign-off
  4. Socialized with members of the local community in order to get input and garner buy-in and support

If the project successfully navigates past all of the aforementioned hurdles, it should gain final approval from the local board of supervisors or city/town council. Entitlement Threats and Difficulties Process hazards include: In addition to reviewing project-specific technical and environmental studies, the planning department is responsible for determining the impact of a project on the local environment and the surrounding people. These studies, which are carried out by independent experts who are paid by the developer, look at factors such as air quality, transportation, wind, shadow, and noise, among others.

  • According to one scenario, an investigation of wind conditions might reveal the production of hazardous wind conditions at ground level.
  • A planned project will also need to be reviewed and approved by other departments and agencies outside of the planning department in order to proceed.
  • It is possible that any one of these entities will stall the process or put the project at risk for numerous reasons.
  • Political and communal dangers include the following: A project will typically be approved or rejected by the board of supervisors or city council after it has been recommended by the planning department and after it has received input from members of the local community.
  • If a project is judged to have a detrimental influence on the community, to oppose their political aims, or to fail to deliver sufficient public benefits, the supervisors may be forced to take major action.
  • Another instance in point occurred recently in Seattle, when plans were announced to destroy the Showbox, a beloved local music venue, to make way for a residential tower.
  • In response, a petition garnered over 100,000 signatures, and legendary Seattle rock stars took up advertising in the local media urging local lawmakers to save the theater from being decommissioned.

The situation has deteriorated to the point that it is quite difficult to predict what will happen to the project in the end.

This is the profile that your land use attorney, environmental experts, and engineering team should fit in with.

Create a precise, step-by-step timetable that outlines how the entitlement process works in a certain municipality, including the dates and times of each stage.

Unless you have previously developed in this municipality, there may be undiscovered procedures that are not easily obvious while conducting your own study on the subject.

The cost of reaching the end of the procedure only to discover that a second research is necessary that would take four months to finish might be too expensive for the company.

Understand what can be built on the site as a matter of right and what, if any, exceptions you are requesting in order to proceed with the project.

Does obtaining clearance for the intended exclusions provide small or significant hurdles to the entitlements process, and what is the path/process for obtaining approval for these exceptions?

Try to be as comprehensive as possible in your evaluation so that you don’t receive any unpleasant news from the planners about an extra large exception at a late stage in the process.

These charges, which can range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, can normally be obtained from the local planning department and are usually in the thousands.


Are there any plans in place for the future, such as a general plan, a district plan, or another type of development plan?

Who are the significant political figures and community organizations who have the ability to, and most likely will, have an impact on the success of the project?

Prepare for your outreach by brainstorming about how and when to reach out to people, if at all, and refining the message you want to communicate.

If the meeting goes as planned, setting up a meeting with key municipal authorities to explain the proposal and transmit the comments gained from the community group could be a sensible next step to consider.

The greater the proximity of them to the project location, the better.

Finally, it is vital to address and comprehend the facts presented above in order to better assess and sensitize yourself to the numerous circumstances that may arise throughout the entitlements process.

Because the dangers and delays involved with entitlements have been removed, the site is now “shovel ready,” which means it is ready for the project to begin immediately.

Michael Belasco has over a decade of expertise in the real estate and construction industries.

At the moment, he is working for Hines, a worldwide real estate investment, development, and management business with over $116 billion in assets under management. He is now working on large-scale, mixed-use development projects in San Francisco.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016 was the date of creation. Land Century updated their profile on Wednesday, March 21st, 2018. The majority of individuals who acquire land do so with one goal in mind: to develop it. Building a home, a shopping center, or an apartment complex are all examples of how a substantial percentage of land purchasers look for sites with development in mind. However, before you can even begin working on your project, you’ll need to go through the process of obtaining land entitlement.

  • Land entitlement refers to the legal process of acquiring authorization for your development plans from the appropriate authorities.
  • However, it is an essential aspect of the development process since it assists in determining what may and cannot be done with the site.
  • Simply explained, entitlements are a legal agreement between you and the controlling municipality that allows for the construction of a specific type of structure on your property.
  • What is the significance of entitlement?
  • As a developer, it is critical to be prepared for this stage of the development process since you will likely be asked several questions by municipal planners, local citizens, and elected officials.
  • Illustrations of Entitlement Entitlement can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including:
  • Rezoning: The zoning of a property governs what you are and are not allowed to do with the land. If the location is not designated for the purpose for which you want to use it, you may be required to go through the rezoning procedure. This may be a difficult and time-consuming process. It is not always possible to rezone an area
  • Variations in zoning: This can include things like the amount of parking places, the height of the buildings, and the setbacks. Obtaining conditional use permissions for your project may be needed by the local government. Approvals for utility installation: If utilities are not already installed on the site, you may need to obtain approval to install them. It is possible that you will be required to contribute land to the city in order to get utility privileges. In the event that there are no existing roads connecting the property, you may be required to obtain clearance for the construction of new roads as part of the transaction. You’ll also need to think about things like easements and access. Landscape design: You may also need to get permission from your local planning and development office before you can start landscaping.

The Importance of Hiring a Development Team with Years of Experience It is vital to know that the eligibility procedure might take anywhere from three to twelve months, and in some cases much longer. While this is a time-consuming and difficult process, it is extremely important. This lengthy procedure is exacerbated by the fact that various city planners have varied interpretations of the same set of municipal regulations. Sometimes permissions are necessary at the municipal, state, and county levels; however, these entities are not always in communication with one another in this situation.

Before we get into the specifics of how the entitlement process works, let us first examine the necessity of choosing a development team with a lot of expertise.

Ideally, a team should include architects, attorneys, developers, project advisors, and engineers, among other professionals.

As well as negotiating issues on your behalf, they will save you time by avoiding the necessity of submitting extra requests to the local government.

Process of Obtaining Entitlement to Benefits Many various components of the entitlement process will be included in most development projects, and some may even be needed to go through a number of public hearings before they can be granted final permission. Here’s how the procedure is carried out:

  1. Commercial development will require the permission of the Planning Department Review Division or the Development Review Board before it can proceed forward. An first land use pre-application will be created by your development team, which will be in compliance with local rules. A date will be established for you and your team to meet with the Planning Department in order to discuss your planned project in further detail. This stage of the process will also involve the approval of your land location, colors, elevations, a map of the surrounding area, landscaping, and other aspects of the project. You will also be needed to provide environmental information at this time, as well as pay the applicable cost. There are differences in fees from one jurisdiction to another. A site plan rejection can be challenged in court by submitting an appeal to the City Council. Appeals procedures differ from city to jurisdiction
  2. After your site has been granted, you will need to get your design authorized as well as your master use permits obtained before you can proceed. This is where the services of your architect will be required. Your architect will be required to submit drawings for different components of the structure and its landscaping in order to receive design approval
  3. A community hearing will most likely be held as part of the process. It is possible that you may be required to distribute printed notifications or to post information on the city website. In addition, the city will send notifications to nearby residents. In most cases, an open house meeting will be held. It’s critical to be prepared for this stage of the process since you’ll need to acquire approval from the surrounding community in order to progress. Your development team can assist you in achieving success during this process. The neighborhood may not approve your project and prevent it from moving forward even if you adhere to all applicable local regulatory codes and regulations. If your property contains wetlands, you will need to obtain special documentation that details whether the Wetlands Act applies to your land or not. If wetlands make approval of the project more difficult, it may be advisable to either set aside that piece of the property or give it in order to prevent complications.

During the lengthy and intricate eligibility procedure, you’ll have to overcome a number of obstacles in order to get your benefits. However, it is simply a part of the development process. You will be unable to lawfully proceed with your project until you obtain the necessary authorizations. To persuade local authorities and inhabitants that your project would be beneficial to the community, you will want the assistance of experienced specialists who have established working connections with local government organizations.

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