In some cases, there may be neighborhood opposition to a potential development project. This can derail the project and may even mean that it can’t go through. In some cases, developers anticipate such opposition upfront, but it can also come as a surprise.
After all, developers usually view their projects as an overall benefit to a particular neighborhood. What are some of the reasons that the people who are already living near a development site would oppose a project, and what steps do developers need to consider in the face of such concerns?
Changing the neighborhood
In some cases, people are concerned that development will change the neighborhood’s character. The place where they live will be fundamentally altered. They may see this as a negative change, regardless of the nature of the development project in question.
People who live in the neighborhood may be worried about increased traffic. If a new housing development is constructed with 50 units, does that mean there will be 50 to 100 new cars in the neighborhood? If a new business is constructed, does that mean traffic levels on what used to be quiet local streets will suddenly increase?
Conflicts of interest
Furthermore, people may determine that they think that development is in direct conflict with the needs of the area. For instance, maybe it’s an area with a lot of green space and those who live there are worried about ecological preservation. They believe that the development would cause irreparable harm to the environment. Or perhaps they do not believe that the development will cause economic growth in the area, which is what they are interested in seeing.
What steps can developers take?
There are many tactics that can be used to educate the public, meet with concerned individuals and even hold town hall meetings to discuss what should happen. For instance, neighbors are sometimes asked if a developer should be given a variance, and they can express their opinion at a neighborhood meeting. As developers go through the process of addressing neighborhood opposition, they can benefit from seeking legal guidance to better ensure that their interests are safeguarded and that their rights are protected.