Did you do your due diligence?

Several times a year ERS receives telephone calls from property owners who have been referred to us by clients or regulatory agencies, to assist with newly discovered wetland issues on their sites. The callers explain that they recently purchased a property and that they now have been told that the site includes or entirely consists of wetlands. The information that the property owners received after buying the site is usually correct - their recently purchased sites do include jurisdictional wetlands. 
 
In instances where the wetland is small and out of the way of proposed development, it may be of little real consequence (other than the owner having paid too much for the property). However, in other cases, the location and extent of the wetland often interfere with the property owner’s desired use of the site. When the wetland is consequential to land use, the owner has three choices: (1) modify their site plan to avoid wetland impacts (and wetlands permitting/mitigation), (2) apply for a permit to impact the wetland or (3), in extreme cases, abandon their project altogether. Regardless of their decision, the wetland usually interferes with their original plan, and time and money are required to solve the problems posed by the wetland.
 
Fortunately, the above scenario does not play out for people who are familiar with land development issues. They (and their lenders) protect themselves by undertaking “due diligence” with respect to wetlands and protected species issues (as well as zoning, contamination, concurrency, utilities, drainage title issues, etc.), prior to purchasing land. Due diligence identifies development constraints specific to a site and explains the process of overcoming temporary obstacles.
 
The term used for the ERS due diligence service which identifies wetlands occurrence/ nonoccurrence and the likelihood of protected species occurrence on prospective project sites is Preliminary Environmental Assessment. These assessments include ground-truthed wetlands mapping, sensitive habitat mapping, protected species occurrence information, and a discussion of the regulatory processes affecting the property in question. The assessments identify land development constraints, permitting implications and available solutions, allowing our clients to make informed decisions. 
 
Please call us to learn more about how our preliminary assessment work can benefit your land purchase and land use decisions.