Before Building The Future, Developers Must Dig Up The Past

With more and more infill sites being developed, environmental due diligence on potential development sites has become the norm, partly due to the insistence of lenders and municipalities.

"When business people dig into a would-be acquisition's books to make sure nothing's amiss with the numbers, it's known as due diligence. Increasingly, developers are having to undertake a similar procedure to assess the environmental status of property they want to purchase.

The procedure's formal name is Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). This three-phase process begins with a historical review of a property's past uses (ESA1), which usually costs about $2,000. Phase two (ESA2) involves drilling core samples and performing laboratory tests on soil and groundwater; fees range from less than $5,000 to upward of $20,000. Phase three (ESA3), the remediation, or cleanup, can cost anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars.

Although banks were the first to push for ESAs, municipalities are now increasingly likely to require them. Recent legislative changes have made municipalities directly liable for environmental issues related to property."

Full Story: Caveat developer: What lies beneath?


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month

A Short History of America

From comic book artist Robert Crumb, poster shows how the built environment has changed throughout the decades.
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95