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How To Win Land Development Issues

As president of Community & Environmental Defense Services (CEDS), I help several hundred groups each year with development related concerns. Most of the time we win, but not always. With my book, How to Win Land development Issues, I hope to bring the success rate closer to 100% by explaining what does and does not work.

The types of land development activity addressed in this book include highways, shopping centers, housing projects, golf courses, marinas, superstores, landfills, mining, and a host of other activities which may harm the environment or neighborhood quality of life. Suggestions are also provided for going beyond a specific development site and winning the adoption of Smart Growth principles throughout a town, city or county. Since we assist citizens throughout the nation with both levels of advocacy, the advice provided in this book is applicable to all 50 states.

This book starts off with The Easy Solution for winning land development issues. For most projects no further effort is necessary. Frequently the easy solution costs nothing more than a few hours of your time.

In those cases where the easy solution is not enough, I explain how to get the public support needed to win by expanding a campaign into the regulatory, legal and political arenas. In addition to the suggestions offered in this book, our advice is available by calling 1-800-773-4571 or sending an e-mail to help@ceds.org. Other forms of CEDS assistance are described in Chapter 5.

 

Secrets for Winning Land Development Issues

How do you win a campaign to preserve a neighborhood or the environment from the impact of a proposed housing project, highway, mall, landfill, or some other land development project? By aggressively mobilizing people, facts, and law in support of your position.

People provide the political clout needed to gain the attention of elected officials and other decision-makers. People (your supporters) also provide the volunteers and dollars essential to victory. Among your volunteers you may also find the attorneys, expert witnesses, and other professionals crucial to convincing decision-makers of the validity of your position.

Most strategies are implemented first through an action, such as the citizen public hearing described below, to mobilize hundreds or thousands of people in support of your position. We can then show you proven techniques for finding low-cost/no-cost lawyers and other professionals among your supporters. CEDS can also introduce you to easy, fool-proof methods for allowing your supporters to provide the funds frequently needed to preserve a neighborhood or the environment.

Once your lay and professional volunteers are in place and you have funds in your war-chest, CEDS can then assist you in mounting a high-quality campaign designed to quickly win over decision-makers. From the hundreds of campaigns we've helped citizens win throughout the U.S. we know that most decision-makers will support your position once you have:

  • Proven the validity of the facts regarding your case through the testimony of scientists and other highly-respected professionals;
  • Demonstrated that the law is on your side and that the law provides decision-makers with the power to protect your neighborhood and the environment from land development impacts; and
  • Shown that a large segment of the voters are watching each decision-maker to make certain they use their power to protect public health, safety, and welfare.

The basic strategy presented above has allowed 75% of the folks we help to win their campaigns. This is a far better rate of success when compared to more conventional methods of dealing with development issues. And these victories are being won at a fraction of the cost.

 

Hold Your Own Community Meeting & Raise Up To $30,000 in One Night!

We have helped dozens of groups to hold their own community meeting on a development project.  In fact, groups which have us come to their area for an Initial Strategy Analysis will time the visit to take place just before their own community meeting. The strategy analysis takes place during the day and the hearing occurs that evening. Since this is your hearing you decide who speaks and who answers questions. You can have CEDS present just enough of the strategy to convince folks that your chances of winning are good, but not so much of the strategy that you lose the element of surprise.

If also designed as a fundraiser, the hearing could add $3,000 - $30,000 to your war-chest in one night. You may also recruit many of the lay and professional volunteers crucial to success. For further details visit our Fundraising webpage.

 

Enhancing Your Credibility

One of the least expensive and most helpful services we can provide is to verify the potential impacts you have already identified. Frequently we also identify impacts no one else has pin-pointed. Since citizens are our primary clients we are far more skilled in assessing potential impacts upon neighborhoods and the environment when compared to more traditional firms that spend most of their time working for development companies.

You may find that a letter verifying your concerns, from a national firm, such as CEDS, adds that extra bid of credibility needed to get decision-makers to take your concerns more seriously. In most cases we can also recommend ways of modifying a project to resolve your concerns. Usually the project review and drafting a letter can be done for less than $1,000.

 

Avoiding a $50,000 Mistake!

A conventional approach to winning land development issues relies almost totally on legal action. This approach frequently costs citizens up to $50,000 and produces victory only half the time. Our clients win 75% of their cases at a cost of just $3,000 to $7,000. Our rate of success is higher because we rely primarily upon a political approach-the traditional source of power for citizen movements-along with judicious, but aggressive legal action.

 

Recruiting Low-Cost, Effective Professionals

One of the ways we maximize success while minimizing cost is by helping citizens to find attorneys and other professional who: 1) know how to take advantage of the strengths inherent in a citizen movement, 2) allow volunteers to do as much of their research and other legwork as possible, 3) have a record of success on behalf of citizens, and 4) offer discount rates for citizen groups. So before searching the yellow pages for an attorney, an engineer, or some other professional, give CEDS a call at (800)773-4571. We can probably recommend professionals in your area who meet the four preceding qualifications. And even if we don't know someone locally we can explain how to find the professionals you need to win. If you wish we can also turn our meter on and conduct the search for you.

 

References on the Quality of Our Assistance

If you would like to check us out-see how good we really are-then take a look at the How We've Helped Others page. At the end of most case summaries you will find a campaign leader's name and phone number. Just give this person a call and ask what they thought of our assistance. If you don't see a case resembling yours, then give us a call at (800)773-4571 and we can probably come up with one.

More on How To Win
Land Development Issues

How To Win Land Development Issues is 170-page comprehensive citizen's guide for resolving concerns about sprawl, highway projects, superstores, landfills, and a number of other development types. The book emphasizes a win-win approach utilizing Smart Growth principles.

How To Win Land Development Issues begins with the Easy Solution, which consists of a few simple steps for determining if a development project will adversely affect a neighborhood or the environment then working with regulatory staff, elected officials and the applicant to resolve each impact. The book also explains how to mobilize the public support needed for a more aggressive campaign in those uncommon situations where the Easy Solution does not work.

Development impacts covered in the book include: air quality, aquatic resources, bicycling, crime, environmental justice, historic resources, noise, odor, open space, property value, schools, traffic, visual impacts and wildlife. Methods are provided for identifying and resolving each of these impacts.

The growth management process is described along with how citizens can utilize the process to resolve concerns. A detailed description is provided of the following strategy options for winning land development campaigns: negotiating with the applicant, working with regulatory staff, lobbying key decision-makers, legal action, changing the law, and land preservation.

We can also provide you with examples of reports analyzing the effects of a variety of land development projects. Again, all of our publications are available free of charge to citizens. We also permit citizens to make as many copies of our publications as they wish without charge. Finally, we've compiled a long list of activists and organizations around the country that help citizens with land development issues. Just give us a call at 1-800-773-4571 and we'll put you in touch with those active in your area. You can also connect with many of these organizations on our Links to Others Who Can Help page.

 

How To Win Land
Development Issues


FREE DOWNLOAD
280-PAGE BOOK

PRINTER-FRIENDLY
PDF format - 1.1 MB

How To Win Land
Development Issues



FREE DOWNLOAD
170-PAGE BOOK

PRINTER-FRIENDLY
PDF format - 643 KB

How To Win Land
Development Issues



FREE DOWNLOAD
170-PAGE BOOK

PRINTER-FRIENDLY
PDF format - 643 KB

How To Win Land
Development Issues



FREE DOWNLOAD
170-PAGE BOOK

PRINTER-FRIENDLY
PDF format - 643 KB

How To Win Land
Development Issues



FREE DOWNLOAD
170-PAGE BOOK

PRINTER-FRIENDLY
PDF format - 643 KB

How To Win Land
Development Issues




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