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Old 09-02-13, 08:32 PM   #1
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Should developers be required to post a bond before clearing land?

Let's to keep politics out of this so it does not wind up in P&R. Hopefully the subject is not already deemed political so if it gets tossed there anyway, then I understand.

Not sure about the rest of the country but it seems to be a problem around here that developers clear land then don't develop for years, maybe never.

It is sort of hitting home (pun intended) for me as I a looking at a new house that is next to cleared property and it does not seem the developer has intentions to continue. The property is otherwise perfect for me. The house, the location, everything is pretty darn close to what I have on my list. The only real issue is the cleared property next to it. Should I decide to make an offer, I plan to use that fact as ammunition in my offer. Even if they decide they decide to develop, my argument would be noise and dust from the construction.

But it made me think of the land that is cleared and never used. Forget about the environmental concerns. Cleared property is just butt ugly when compared to tree covered property.

So, should developers be required to post a bond before clearing land? Maybe they loose it if they don't build after X days? Maybe that would prompt developers to clear land as needed?
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Old 09-03-13, 07:15 PM   #2
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Need more info to help you, but here are some generic suggestions.

First, was the land cleared due to a build-up of weeds? Did the property owner get cited and bring in a crew that did the clearing?. Otherwise:

Check with the local govt jurisdication that controls land development in the area, be it city, county, etc, and check with their planning dept, public works dept, and building dept (if the land area is big enough, it might be a major development and it might be posted on their website). Also, the owner may have got an OK to clear it, but the development approval is still going through its normal processes - might be waiting for grading approval, soils testing, land use approval/change (such as from farmland to residential or commercial), stormwater run-off approval, electrical/water/sewer hookup approval or installation, etc.

Do you know who the developer/land owner is? Ask your real estate agent helping you with the home purchase to find out, or call the developer yourself. Most will be upfront about what they are doing, so no harm in trying this method.

Or maybe the developer/owner went bankrupt.

Last edited by skidder; 09-03-13 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 09-04-13, 07:10 AM   #3
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How it works around me is the developer goes through the planning and zoning process(yes they will lie, and the township board will believe them), then get approved usually with a build out time period, 5 - 20 years, depending on the size of the development.
Then they can start to build. Clear land, put in utilities, build houses, etc. But they don't statrt with enough money to finish the project, some even less than others. The project is financed buy people buying houses before they are built, or as they are built. So if the housing market slows, or tanks, the project will slow or stop. They still have a few years to recover, you on the other hand have to look at an unfinshed construction site, or just cleared land. If they go over their build out time, they have to get approvals again, which is easy since the town would rather have the development finished.
Good Luck.
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Old 09-04-13, 09:01 AM   #4
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With areas that are barely or partially filled in with housing, etc., you probably also want to check for utility right of ways. Our neighborhood is very rural with lots running from 1 to 10 acres. There was a small power line of the brown wood pole variety running through some lots. Not great but not bad. A couple years later, the increased need for power meant a larger power line of the 3 foot diameter metal tower 100 feet tall. Definitely surprised and severely irritated some home owners.
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Old 09-04-13, 09:37 AM   #5
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It may well be this problem is more common now than before due to the collapse of the housing market back in 07.

I know of a few people who had every intention of building, who had to pull back.
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