Preferred Development Practices

Improvements to the Development Process: a Preferred Development Process

Potential developers can save a lot of time and get useful information and advice by discussing development plans with the appropriate local government planner or zoning administrator early in the development process.  The purpose of having a pre-development conference is to create a dialogue, early in the development process, among local government staff, developers and project specialists.  It is an opportunity for the developer to obtain advice and technical assistance from county staff and to understand the review process and requirements.  Suggested information to bring to the meeting: 
Vicinity map showing the location of the property in relation to neighboring tracts, roads, and waterways;
Base map showing property boundaries, total acreage, adjacent property owners, or topo lines, USGS blue-line streams, wetlands and other significant natural resources, zoning (note all these data are available from public sources free of charge);
Slope analysis obtained free from or from a professional; Aerial photo; Concept Plan showing: Proposed land uses; Access road alignments and statement of maximum road grades and grading limits; Location of suitable building areas, including proposed building envelopes; Summary of infrastructure construction, density and minimum lot size; Preliminary water supply assumptions; Identification of historic, cultural and environmental resources; Preliminary statement regarding proposed water quality protection standards and how they will meet or exceed state/local standards; Evaluation of water and sewer adequacy for proposed large developments

Seek guidance from professionals
It is important to choose land planning and architectural professionals who have experience in Western North Carolina.  There are a number of qualified professionals (land planners, landscape architects, architects and engineers) with experience in the mountain environment who can provide design assistance and detailed plans.  The WNC Green Building Council's Directory contains a listing of these types of consultants and related businesses.  The NC Board of Landscape Architects and NC Chapter of the American Institute of Architects both have online searchable databases of professionals.

Mountain Landscapes Initiative Region A Toolbox: a comprehensive guide to best practices and strategies for community planning, development, conservation and preservation in the mountain region.
WNC Green Building Council Directory: a directory containing businesses which practice, promote and/or sell environmentally sustainable and health-conscious building, design, development and products.
NC Board of Landscape Architects for a listing of licensed individuals and firms.
American Institute of Architects, NC Chapter: choose Find an Architect to search for an architect by location or specialty.
Sustainable Communities Certification Program and Checklist: a program of the WNC Green Building Council.