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DEVELOPERS DON'T GET WHATEVER THEY WANT

A complaint often heard is that developers always get what they want, build wherever they want to and create transportation problems. As president of the Niagara Frontier Builders Association, I know this is not true.

Housing and land development is the second-most regulated industry in the country. The average time frame for developing a property is two years or longer. The regulations, inspections, permits, laws and procedures start at the local level and proceed to the national.

On the local level, the process starts with the planning board. The zoning board decides if the property is zoned for residential or commercial development. The town or village board and residents debate whether this development is in their best interests. The town engineer is consulted. The highway department studies traffic patterns.

At the county level, the Department of Environment and Planning is charged with protecting the environment, managing waste, reviewing sanitary sewers and overseeing any archaeological concerns. The Health Department tests water quality and septic systems. The Highway Department provides permits for adjoining highway use. The Sewer Authority administers to the structure of the sewer systems.

At the state level, the Department of Environmental Conservation oversees wetlands policy, sanitary sewers and storm-water discharges. The Department of Transportation studies traffic patterns in the area.

On the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency ensures that laws are being followed. The Fish & Wildlife Department protects endangered species. The Army Corp of Engineers protects wetlands. The Occupational Safety & Hazard Association monitors job safety at the development site and at the manufacturing sites of those providing materials.

Twenty-five percent of the cost of new housing goes to paying for regulations, many of which are redundant and all of which take time. It is a misconception to think that developers get whatever they want whenever they want it. Developers face regulations at every turn.

Michael Giallanza Amherst

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