It’s your master piece, the project you have been working towards since you became a property developer. You can only describe it as, “exceptional architecture”. Your design team is sure this project will get significant notoriety.

Three months after submitting the application for a property development building permit at the local city council, you receive a letter asking to revise and modify the plans and soon find yourself spending hours going back and forth in city council meetings only to hear the planning department officer say, “remove a floor level”, “increase the setbacks”, or “revise the whole project altogether”.

Developing commercial and residential projects in urban areas require special care. Misunderstanding community opposition can block even the best designs.

You can reduce risks by taking a thoughtful approach to the building permit process. Some residents and politicians demand programs be based on trust, openness, and consensus building. This should not mean you compromise your design. Executing these ten important steps can result in good urban design and fast-track your property development building permit application process.

Consensus doesn’t mean that everyone agrees, it is more about showing respect for different opinions, developing relationships, and identifying shared goals to establish positive public opinion so the project will gain community and government acceptance. It is important to nurture supporters and expose the fanatical parties.

The following 10 points should be addressed:

1) Create the vision. It is about design, not density. Establish a vision early by connecting it to local settings and looking for ways to build partnerships. Good design attracts people.

2) Know your market. Do the homework necessary to understand the competition and the market forces that influence a project.

3) Understand the issues. All communities have a set of unique characteristics and issues that guide their decisions. It is essential to have a good understanding of the marketplace, environment, regional influences, and financial aspects. There is no single solution.

4) Get the public benefit. Make the benefit for the city & community clear.

5) Pay attention to everyone who has a stake in the project. Have small discussion groups to get their feedback.

6) Establish trust. Do this by sharing knowledge and listening carefully. Be honest, encourage participation from everyone, stay neutral and pursue win-win goals.

7) Inform decision makers. Meet one-on-one and provide solutions to educate decision makers.

8) Use the media. Take the high road and keep the message simple. Talk about helping the community.

9) Use the unique. Incorporate the area’s physical social and historical environment into the design.

10) Hard as it is sometimes, be patient. Listen carefully, provide guidance, establish credibility, and let the process grow.

By using these ten points, several revitalisation plans have been completed in the face of strong initial community resistance. Guided by strong visions which have been established by working with city programs launched to solicit feedback and educate everyone have had a profound effect in the success of revitalisation efforts. Implementing major public and private improvements can convert old spaces into lively gathering places for community activity.