Petenwell Park Improvements | Adams County, WI

Consider the big picture when preparing Developer's Agreements

MSA Technical Expert | with 0 Comments

Consider the big picture when preparing Developer's Agreements

When communities and developers get together to discuss upcoming projects, details and logistics can be overwhelming. There’s a silent partner that shouldn’t be forgotten in the legalese and paperwork – a community’s vision for the future. A community’s engineer can help offer insights about the future needs of infrastructure that could be totally unrelated to the project at hand. This information may be included in a Developer’s Agreement that protects all parties. See Negotiate a Win-Win Relationship with Developers.
Engineers and planners work with communities to advise them of potential impacts of a proposed development. They also help protect a municipality’s interests in the following ways:
  • Review infrastructure plans (sewer, water, stormwater, sidewalk, street lighting, etc.) to make sure they comply with a municipality’s standards and overall vision for the development site
  • Determine if infrastructure should be upsized (i.e., a larger water main), at the municipality’s expense, for existing or planned projects not related to a developer’s project
  • Obtain a developer’s cooperation to help seek grant funding, if available
  • Stipulate that a developer will pay for a city engineer’s plan review and construction-related services
Engineers can provide expertise with the water and wastewater portion of a Developer’s Agreement. The goal should be to seek a fair and equitable solution for both parties. As part of the agreement process, engineers can investigate a system’s ability to serve the additional demand on the system, and then calculate the costs associated for improvement. These costs can then be incorporated into an agreement.
In Farley, Iowa, for example, the City and a biofuel producer negotiated into their agreement a user charge proportionate to the cost of improvement required to meet their anticipated demands.

For another project, a developer and the City of Decatur, Illinois agreed to amend the incentives in the agreement to encourage further development on the site.

Each community has unique goals when preparing a Developer’s Agreement. A municipality needs to balance its desire for encouraging new growth with the protections that they should get for itself and taxpayers.

For information about preparing Developer’s Agreements, contact MSA’s Steve Thompson, Vice President.

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