The Value of Using a Land Use Planner


Have you been wanting to build a Granny Unit (aka additional dwelling unit) for extra space or income but just do not have the time to sort through county regulations, paperwork, and processes? Have you been looking for the right lot to build your dream home on? Or maybe you own an investment property Santa Cruz County that you’d like to develop but you live elsewhere? 

In situations like these, hiring a land use planner can save you time and ensure that your project is properly vetted by necessary regulatory bodies (i.e. planning departments, building departments, coastal commission, etc).

What is a Land Use Planner?

A land use planner creates programs and plans for land development and usage. When hired by a private party, they will meet with you and possibly public officials to determine the feasibility and scope of the work required to complete a development or renovation project.

What Kind of Projects Should I Consider Using A Land Use Planner For?

There is a wide range of real estate development projects that land use planners can help with, and services offered can differ from one planner to the next.  Here are some examples of services offered by a local land use planning company:

  • Development feasibility analysis
  • Project Planning
  • Site Selection
  • Site Design
  • Project Management
  • Permit Processing/Entitlements
  • Lot Legality
  • Coastal permits

And much more! To see other services that are typically offered take a look at this website

How Much Does It Cost to Use a Land Use Planner?

The cost to use a land use planner varies from project to project and is dependent on things like the amount of time and technicality required to finish the project . One company that we’ve worked with in the past here in Santa Cruz County will typically charge anywhere from $180 – $200 / hour, and will provide an initial consultation to provide an estimate of the total hours required to finish a project. 

How Do You Find a Land Use Planner?

The land use planners that we refer our clients to have worked as officials in their locale’s planning departments before working as an independent land use planners. This gives them a unique insider perspective of that particular jurisdiction’s planning department and permitting processes. 

It’s important to learn about the background of the Land Use Planner that you are considering hiring. When comparing planners, we suggest looking at details like:

  • Their work experience – The planner should have a track-record of successfully completed projects similar to yours in the area that you will be doing work in.
  • Their educational background – Keep an eye out for credentials such as certification from the American Planning Association or a Masters degree in urban or regional planning. 
  • Testimonials – Often times, good planners are found through word of mouth.

If you are interested in learning more about land use planners and/or would like a referral, please let us know: (831) 600-6550

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