STEP 1 - FEASIBILITY STUDY

You may be contemplating a subdivision. This means that you either have some land or know how you can purchase some that you think would be suitable for a subdivision. Some of the issues that need to be addressed early-on as part of a Feasibility Study are:

  1. Zoning - What is the minimum lot size required by local government?
  2. Area - How much land do you have?
  3. Lot Yield - You would initially divide the Area by the Zoning to determine your gross yield. However, you must subtract areas for roads, stormwater management, open space, and environmentally sensitive areas before calculating the Net Yield.
  4. Constraints - Does your parcel have topographical, physical, regulatory ,or financial limitations? Are there access issues, wetlands, steep slopes, or utility lines? If purchasing land, does the sale price require a certain minimum lot yield in order for it to yield a profit?

If you plan to re-develop a residential property and you have performed the Feasibility Study outlined above, it is important to understand the difference between a short subdivision and a long subdivision. Your local government, Skagit County, allows a "short" subdivision (plat) of land into 4 or fewer lots and a long subdivision into 5 or more lots. Often developers use a "phased development" approach to satisfy only what the current market demands and to strategically develop the land without exposure to large, upfront development costs. The primary difference under most jurisdictions is that a short plat can be approved by an administrative process and a long plat must be approved by the City or County council. This adds another level of cost, uncertainty, and time to an already lengthy process.

Many of the questions outlined above can be determined by hiring a consultant to do research into the governing codes and provide you with one or two sketch plans for review. If these plans are acceptable, an appointment with the local government is made to review the plans and provide feedback in how the proposed plan does or does not meet current code. This is often called a Pre-Application Meeting. The outcome of this meeting often determines whether you decide to move forward with your project.