February 20, 2015

Local zoning regulations, especially in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland Counties, often make it difficult to develop commercial real estate which is encumbered with wetlands, steep slopes or other related issues.  In these situations owners/investors sometimes consider alternative uses to achieve a return on their investment.  Such alternatives may include telecommunications/cell tower, solar or wind, each of which has its pros and cons.  Regardless of which use the owner wishes to pursue, it is respectfully submitted that consulting an attorney early in the process can help reduce the risk of wasting time and money on a project that may never come to fruition.  Here is a short list of issues on which an experienced New York real estate attorney may offer advice.

Title Review: Are there any title restrictions that would potentially impact the proposed use?  Having an attorney review and interpret a title report can help identify any issues early in the process.

Zoning Analysis: A zoning analysis early in the process can examine the proposed uses in the context of local land use restrictions and determine what permits would be required, the approximate duration of the zoning process, and likelihood of success.

Environmental Review: Are there any environmental issues that could impact development?  Environmental issues could range from sensitive receptors such as drinking water wells and freshwater wetlands to pre-existing contamination in the soil or groundwater.  License agreements may be necessary to allow prospective tenants to complete their environmental due diligence.

Lease Negotiation: An attorney can help identify any “deal breaker” leasing issues early on such as term, subletting/assignment rights, termination rights, indemnification, contingencies and rent commencement.

In summary, there are a number of ways in which an attorney can assist with the development of commercial real estate.  For an initial consultation please feel free to contact us at (914)338-8050 or e-mail keith@betenskylaw.com.  For more information about the firm, please visit www.betenskylaw.com.

Thank you for reading this article.  We hope you found it useful.