What You Need to Know BEFORE Buying, Selling or Developing Your
Next Piece of Real Estate
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The demand for prime commercial real estate is at
an all time high. As a result, the volume of good quality commercial
sites is shrinking and more questionable properties are coming
onto the market. What are the risks associated with these properties?
Are there wetlands on site? Do you know what wetlands look like?
You may be surprised to learn that wetlands may exist on almost
any property and are not always obvious. So before you commit
to buying, selling or developing your next piece of real estate,
here are a few tips to help you address this all important issue.
First, hire a qualified wetlands consultant to walk
the property, check background references and give you an initial
opinion. The consultant will study plant species, soil types and
hydrology and search for previous permits or violations on the
property. The cost for this initial opinion is minimal.
If no wetlands exist, get it documented in writing
and your site is free and clear. If wetlands are present, have
the consultant delineate the exact boundaries, then get the area
surveyed and mapped. This can be done by a licensed land surveyor
in conjunction with a boundary or topographic survey. Costs for
these efforts (delineation and survey) vary depending upon the
acreage and extent of wetlands.
Even if your site has wetlands, you may still be
able to develop it. Civil engineers and land planners can design
innovative features into a project which address wetlands impacts
while maintaining the commercial value of the lot. The Lakes Region
Factory Outlet Mall in Tilton, New Hampshire has a stormwater
detention pond near the entrance that doubles as a wetland mitigation
area. With 3 acres of wetlands being filled in order to develop
the mall, mitigating wetland areas were created within the pond.
Other mitigating strategies included construction of wood retaining
walls to maintain an existing marsh areas behind the mall site.
A third feature of the wetlands mitigation program was off-site
land banking. A nearby parcel with existing wetlands was purchased
and the wetlands preserved by imposing deed covenants on the property.
All of these techniques maximized buildable area of the site while
effectively mitigating the wetland areas.
Think wetlands are a small matter in New Hampshire?
Think again. The state processes between 2,000 and 2,500 wetlands
dredge & fill permits each year. The different types of permits
and approximate review times are shown in the accompanying table.
Long review times and in some cases, application denials, are
the main reason to get your wetlands checked out before you commit
to buying, selling or developing your next piece of real estate.
and the permitting process
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What is a wetland? A wetland could be a river, a
brook, an intermittent stream, a pond or lake, forested or shrub
areas, marshes, tidal areas and waters.
type of permit do you need?
||less than 3,000 square feet (sf)
||less than 3,000 sf
||3,000sf - 19,999 sf
||20,000 sf and more
* other factors in addition to the square footages shown
may elevate a permit into a higher category, such as public waters,
shoreline or stream length, prime wetlands and previous permits.
** minimum expedited also requires sign-off by
the town conservation commission. For additional information,
visit the New Hampshire Wetlands Bureau web site at www.state.nh.us/des
or call 271-2147.
Provan & Lorber is happy to announce the opening of a new
engineering office in October 2000 in Canaan, New Hampshire. The
office—the firm’s fourth—is located at the intersection of
Routes 4 and 118 in the Granite Northland log cabin building.
According to David Provan, P.E., President of the firm, "the
decision to open an office in Canaan was based on the needs of our
clients in the growing Upper Valley region. A local presence means
we can be more responsive to their engineering and planning
Michael P. Duffy, P.E., who has been with Provan & Lorber
for nearly eight years, will serve as Regional Manager. A resident
of Grafton, NH, Mr. Duffy is managing the firm’s projects in the
Upper Valley region, specializing in civil/site design, municipal
infrastructure, and permit acquisition. Jamie Tanguay, technical
designer, is assisting Mr. Duffy with civil engineering design. A
recent addition to the firm, Mr. Tanguay resides in Claremont, NH
with his wife and two children.
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The Contoocook, NH office welcomes three new staff.
Jon L. Warzocha has joined the firm as an Environmental
Scientist. Jon received his M.S. degree in geology and
hydrogeology from the University of Maine and is currently
enrolled in the MBA program at Franklin Pierce College. He
provides environmental site investigations, field monitoring,
assists in the preparation of remediation plans, and in the
permitting of public water supply wells. Jon lives
in Contoocook, NH.
Allison M. Rees is a Project Engineer for the firm
for commercial and residential civil site design, municipal
infrastructure and drainage. Allison received her degree in
civil engineering from the University of New Hampshire and
previously engineered civil/site projects in New Hampshire's
seacoast region. She currently lives in Hopkinton, NH with
Daniel J. Pastuszczak is CADD Technician.
Dan is a recent graduate of Hopkinton High School where he
participated in the school's pre-engineering curriculum, one of
the first such model programs in the state. He lives in