We represent both developers and government entities in all aspects of the land use process, including zoning and comprehensive plan changes, subdivision and preliminary plat approvals, planned unit developments, conditional use permits, interim use permits, variances, and business licensing, public finance, government relations and enforcement. We assist clients contemplating development opportunities by streamlining the process and negotiating the approvals necessary to get the project done.
Licensing and Permitting
Some businesses can’t operate without government approvals for their plans, operations or profession. We work with city, state and federal governments to help business owners obtain those necessary approvals. We help clients acquire government permits of any type, including watershed permits, building permits, business licensing and liquor licenses. In the case of some licenses, such as those to sell liquor, we assist in transferring the valuable rights when needed and address all other compliance matters associated with the license and operation of the business.
Public finance is often critical to a project’s development. We have a proven track record of securing public financing through tax increment finance (TIF), bonding, abatements and other financing methods, including those allowed by the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation, a new form of public financing to promote improved energy efficiency in buildings and power generation from alternative sources. We develop creative solutions by working with elected officials and public agencies to solve problems. Through our work, clients have been able to secure the public support necessary to complete projects from modest to major in scope.
Representing clients before city councils, county boards, regulatory agencies and the state legislature has been at the heart of our practice for six decades. Land use matters require more than legal skills. To be effective, a firm needs to build trusted relationships among private parties, communities and government entities. We have built those strong connections with key government officials, policymakers, community organizations and other groups over a long period of time. We were honored to be the first law firm selected as “Lobbyist of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer magazine. At the local level, we have a reputation built on some of the region’s most challenging land use projects: the creation of Mall of America, securing of financing for the Metropolitan Airport Commission’s Sustainable STAR Solar PV and LED Lighting Project (the first of its kind in the world) and the environmental review to build Target Center. We are recognized for our skill across the country, having been selected as a founding member of the State Capital Group, a network of law firms with a strong emphasis on government relations. From municipal to state and federal levels, we understand how the process works and know how to get results.
Entitlements & Approvals
Not all land use disputes can be resolved at the bargaining table. We have one of the region’s premier land use and zoning teams with experience handling a full range of land use approvals involving comprehensive plan amendments, preliminary plats, zoning, variances, conditional use permits, development fees and claims arising under the Minnesota 60-day rule. Having experienced land use attorneys on the team leads to a streamlined and successful approval process, often keeping our clients out of the courtroom.