What you'll learn

  • Receive an academic and financial overview of the permitting environment — what it was, what it is, and most importantly, where it’s headed.
  • Gain critical, practical and financial tools, technical strategy, and a greater appreciation of the emotions associated with zoning.
  • Obtain a multi-stakeholder understanding of the zoning process: how to coordinate disparate views, definitions, processes, and financial returns (the “Go”// “No-Go” risk-return analysis).
  • Gain a new appreciation for success in the zoning process, defined not only from a built project but from the benefits of the project for the community.
  • Sharpen the hard and soft skills required to navigate complex adaptive systems required for zoning success.
  • Emerge with a transformed sense of this critical component of real estate development, positioning you to be a better practice and thought leader for your permitting team, for your development company, for your strategic partners, for your community, for your project, and ultimately for the next generation of leaders in our built environment.

Course description

Led by a dynamic instructor duo with decades of insider insights into zoning and development, participants will scrutinize this murky process from within using a real-world case study and culminating with a mock-trial-style Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) hearing. Attendees will be exposed to the core skills of permitting finance, decision-making, and the ultimate externality of people, priorities, personalities, and our built environment.

The program will begin with a quick refresher of the legal principles of modern zoning, followed by an immersion into the practical applications of zoning. This will include the financial “Go” / “No-Go” decision-making process, all run through the lens of the ever-changing psychology of the ultimate “externality” – the human factor and condition.

Following a robust Socratic style of class discussion and debate, attendees will dive into the practical applications of the American entitlement process by examining real-world projects which pivoted on zoning relief. Attendees will also obtain a sharper understanding of the hearts and minds of a given project and will hear from a visiting guest speaker: a Boston-area developer who will share experiences “from the trenches” on projects large and small, from residential and multi-family to commercial, affordable and smart-growth housing developments.


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