Distressed Projects

Relying on inaccurate or outdated information, or overlooking an important permit can jeopardize a development project. Additionally, carrying costs for the duration of agency permit reviews can be many months and should not be disregarded in your schedule. Delays can erase your bottom line, or worse. To avoid this from happening to your project, a thorough technical and regulatory analysis should be completed before design begins, and not as a secondary task. Government regulations have created complex design constraints and one must be familiar with how this impacts their costs and schedule.

At East Point Engineering, we have been called upon to assist in a project that is distressed or troubled and typically behind schedule, over budget, or both.

Below, find some brief backgrounds of troubled projects. Most involved delays that cost the owner tenant leases, bank financing, or resulted in the projects never getting built. Since development is an intricate business, these types of scenarios are all too frequent and many can identify with such situations.

A planning board granted approval for a 26-lot subdivision. A condition of the approval required road widening along the frontage. The widening affected an outparcel not owned by the applicant. Two years of litigation ensued and during this time the sewer approval lapsed. The development was removed from sewer service area through new legislation.

A homeowner hired a company to subdivide their property into 3 lots. In an effort to save on costs, they found someone to do the plans for $1,500. They spent $14,120 on township review fees and revisions to the plans. Over a year later, the project was still not approved by the municipality.

A commercial site plan was designed and submitted to the town. The owner paid in full for the plans. The town rejected the plans because the person they hired to design them was not a licensed engineer. Additionally, the plans were drawn to an outdated zoning ordinance and did not comply with the minimum checklist requirements.

A warehouse project approved by the local planning board needed a key D.E.P. permit for construction. Shortly after approval, the revised Flood Hazard rules were adopted, putting the project in a riparian zone. The consultant submitted the plans to D.E.P. for an Individual Permit. They received a letter back that there are no such requirements under which a permit could be granted. The project had to be reduced in size by 30% to meet the requirements for the Individual Permit.

A site plan for a strip mall was approved by the planning board. After approval, it became apparent that a Flood Hazard Permit was required and the project was classified as a major development. The stormwater management system had to be re-designed as a partially underground system. Otherwise, the building and parking lot would have been reduced in size. The additional drainage cost $62,000 and was not in the original project budget.

A zoning board granted an applicant approval for a fast food restaurant on a State Highway. The approval was conditioned on the N.J.D.O.T. approving the plan. Upon submission to the N.J.D.O.T., the proposed access was denied. The plans had to be re-configured and the applicant had to reappear before the zoning board for an amended approval. This caused a 7-month delay in the project.

East Point Engineering can assist you with your project. Call us today if any of these issues sound familiar:

1. Assistance with performance guarantee release

2. Technical issues prohibiting a project from moving forward

3. Excessive and/or endless agency review

4. Conflicting regulations between agencies

5. Changes in legislation or environmental regulations

6. Lapsed approvals, whether or not covered by the Permit Extension Act

7. Construction and/or field issues