Las Vegas Architect Articles on Frequently Asked Questions

• Design Review: Not in Compliance with the Rules

SSA Architecture has worked as an architectural firms Las Vegas for over 20 years and in that time SSA has done a multitude of projects including built from the ground up and building remodeling design projects. It is common place for us to take an as built site plan and draw a sketch of the proposed new building as a starting point. It is also commonplace for SSA Architecture to use public information on a vacant site to design an entirely new building and site plan.

From there we can begin to analyze if the property owner’s desired concept ‘plans’ will be in compliance with current rules. For example it is pertinent to determine whether or not the building will be too tall, if the lot size will be able to provide an adequate amount of parking spaces, and if the parcel is zoned for the correct use. These rules vary by project location and form of the building work depending on the final use of the building and the jurisdiction the land is in. The various government rules can be further specified by exceptions found in certain areas within the designated jurisdictions. For example, downtown may have parking requirement exceptions that the suburban areas may not have. The plans will have a better chance of being approved right away if the original drawings comply with the rules while still covering all of the client’s needs. And approvals can be possible for projects that are not in compliance with the rules. Regardless of what architect or lawyer processes your entitlements requests, there is never a guarantee that the reviewers will not object to the building concept or design of the “Plans”.

Sometimes it’s not possible for the project to comply with the rules. A common example of this would be when an old rule gets changed that makes a previously existing built item no longer compliant with the current rules. This can result in clients deciding to submit construction projects that are not 100% code compliant or 100% in compliance with current planning and zoning requirements. This can be approved but there is a need for additional steps to be taken. In some cases an attorney specializing in use approvals may be able to help with negotiations for approvals. In any event approval of land use, zoning and design reviews out of compliance are political.

The steps in the process of approvals are typically:
1. Create a drawing that shows what the client wants.
2. Visit the governing authority(s) staff to discuss the proposal.
3. Draw formal drawings for submission.
4. Meet with planning and zoning staff to discuss the formal submission.
5. A formal submission drawing set for (either) design review, planning, zoning or use approval submission.
6. Once submitted the plan set will likely be initially rejected or returned with (staff objections) comments.
7. At this point the client can decide to stay with the original submission over staff objections, adjust the design, cancel the project or attempt to make a compromise with the government staff.
8. A final submittal can be re-drafted according to the client’s decisions.
9. There will then typically be public hearings, discussions and more reviews by staff before the entitlement is established.
10. Many planning and zoning cases result in a (NFA) Notice of final action. The NFA provides a notice of what was agreed in a written form.

Out of compliance projects always take longer in the review system often times taking an additional month minimum.
So how much will this cost? With SSA Architecture it always starts with a free consultation followed with a fee quotation for the original drawing submission for the due diligence process. After the pre-submission meeting the list of items that your applicable agency requires for your project will become known.

For design review processes, fixed fee quotations are available.

For zoning cases, fixed fees for drawings are available.

For meetings related to use approvals and zoning cases we are unaware of any provider that does this work for other than hourly rates. Our hourly rates are competitive.
When a client’s vision for a property is not in compliance with rules, it can and will result in a huge time and money expenditure. That does not mean that the project is not worth it. It simply means that more time and materials will have to go into bringing it to fruition.

The explanation above does not include building permit approvals, which are a separate process.

If you have any more questions or have a project fitting this criteria feel free to call and schedule a free consultation at 702-873-1718. If you were looking for more information on this topic, you can check out a FAQ YouTube video on this topic here.

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