UrbanConcepts: A Leader in Zoning and Entitlement Research
Land Use Entitlement Services and Community Relations Entitlement Services


Entitlement Services

Community Relations

Encinitas Hotel Study
Encinitas Hotel

Environmental Review

In the complex regulatory matrix prevalent in the real estate market today, the Environmental Review (under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for example), or the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) is critical to a project's viability. Urban Concepts is an expert in processing cases in this arena.

Any type of project, whether it is a discretionary permit, or ordinance or development proposal, must have an adequate environmental clearance to withstand court challenges in our litigious society. Similarly, the environmental process must be managed to minimize the time lost in reviewing the environmental material. Mr. Christopher is a recognized expert in CEQA procedures and interpretations and has been before the California State Legislature on a number of occasions debating the implementation of the Act, and has helped draft Los Angeles’ city guidelines for the preparation and review of CEQA documents.

Urban Concepts has extensive experience in coordinating all aspects of the environmental process with a variety of lead agencies, including:

  • Environmental Assessment
  • Traffic and Parking Studies
  • Categorical Exemption
  • Mitigated Negative Declaration
  • Environmental Impact Statements/Reports
  • Mitigation Monitoring
Flax Project
Flax Project

State and Federal Agencies

Urban Concepts interacts with a wide array of jurisdictions that come into play during the course of a development project ranging from Regional Water Quality Boards, Air Quality Management Districts, and Coastal Authorities to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Federal Aviation Administration. A sampling of the permits and clearances involved includes:

  • FAA Hazard Clearances
  • Habitat Conservation Plans
  • Coastal Development Permits

Discretionary Permit Processing

The discretionary review process is potentially the most contentious part of the development process. Urban Concepts is positioned, with expertise in the legislative process itself, coupled with a strong background in public participation, to provide clients with a clear direction and understanding of the procedures. Urban Concepts can also provide an evaluation of the potential rewards and penalties involved in the public review process. The following reviews are among the entitlement activities directed by Urban Concepts:

  • Radius Maps & Mailing Lists
  • Change of Use
  • Conditional/Special Use Permits
  • Zone Changes
  • General Plan Amendments
  • Project Permits
  • Specific Plan Exceptions
  • Division of Land
  • Variances
  • Appeals

Design Review

Tareco Drive House
Tareco Drive House

In many jurisdictions, design review is now firmly entrenched or taking hold. Cities and Counties view design review as a means of implementing a community standard on design. Urban Concepts has been intimately involved in the evolution of the design review process in several jurisdictions and understands the guidelines for, and limits of, the review, as well as the political considerations involved. Urban Concepts is, therefore, uniquely suited to process applications for such reviews in the most expeditious and successful manner.

  • Site Plan Review
  • Architectural Review

Building Permit Expediting

Securing building and other permits can be a labor intensive and time consuming process that causes significant delays in construction. Urban Concepts maintains a hands-on relationship with the permitting process, to expedite processing and reduce or eliminate any significant delays. By anticipating the requirements of the process, Urban Concepts can secure vital permits in minimum timeframes.

Ministerial permits, such as building permits, however, often involve complex negotiations over the interpretation of building, zoning, life safety and other codes and regulations, including appeals. Urban Concepts undertakes to utilize the procedures available to the best advantage of the Client. Urban Concepts directs the processing of a range of ministerial permit applications, including:

  • Grading Permits
  • Building Permits
  • Disabled Access Clearances
  • Sewer Clearances
  • Highway Dedications
  • Off-site Improvement Permits

Code Compliance and Remedial Action

Urban Concepts also offers services geared to the need for code compliance and remedial action with regard to existing situations. Urban Concepts provides Building Code Compliance reviews and ADA Disabled Access reports. Once a code issue has been identified, either by citation or investigation, Urban Concepts will define a course of action to correct the problem. That course can include any number of elements from corrective construction to a variance approval from the code provisions cited. Urban Concepts' services in this area relate to the following specific issues:

  • Certificates of Occupancy
  • Building Code Compliance Reviews
  • Building & Safety Orders
  • Disabled Access (ADA & Title 24) Compliance Reviews
  • Modifications

Litigation Support

In situations where it becomes necessary to seek redress through the courts in entitlement disputes, Urban Concepts provides support services to clients and their legal representatives including preparation of exhibits, entitlement, code and permit research along with expert witness testimony.