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A recent study by the Chamber’s Developers Council Steering Committee unveiled that the approval process of a residential development in all local jurisdictions could take upwards of 2.5 years.
That is 2.5 years of added cost and risk, a cost that is eventually passed down to the consumer in increased housing cost. As our region faces critical challenges with housing affordability, it is essential that the business community work directly with our municipalities to streamline the process, thus reducing unnecessary added time and dollars.
For more than a year, the Charleston Metro Chamber’s Developers Council Steering Committee has been documenting the approval process and costs associated with each phase of a residential development in all local jurisdictions. Using a somewhat typical 25 acre, 50 lot subdivision as an example, the steering committee charted the time it takes to go from raw land to the sale of the lot to a developer in the tri-county region.
There are four major phases the group studied:
- Due Dilligence: 30-121+ days
- Entitlement: 212 days
- Design and Permitting: 292 days
- Construction & Recording: 305 days
It takes approximately 931 days to complete the approval process of a residential development, at the end of which you are ready to sell the property to a builder, who will then begin construction on the homes. The greatest risk for delay comes in the permitting process; however, a delay in any of these phases increases the cost of the project, which would be passed on to the end consumer. The longer and more complicated this process is, the more it affects housing affordability in the region.
How do we influence and streamline the approval process? It’s a big task, but as housing affordability remains a critical issue in our region, now is the right time to address these issues.
The Developers Council Steering Committee plans to meet with local government to show the results of this study, and begin looking for solutions that may shorten this complicated, multi-level process.