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Date September 2016
Client City of Wilmington
Length 8 pages

real estate development guide

Wilmington Development Review Process Step-by-Step Guide

Sometimes May 8’s work seems mundane but the impact is extraordinary. A good example of this is May 8’s work in Wilmington Delaware to create a transparent, consistent development review process. Wilmington, like many cities, did not have a clear, written process for approving real estate development projects prior to 2016. Subjecting each proposed development to customized review by multiple agencies wastes staff time and significantly increases the cost of development in the city. Studies have shown that fees and regulations can add $10,000-$50,000 to the cost of a home while streamlining the permitting process reduces costs of development by 4-12%. [1]

In 2016, May 8 worked with city staff and developers to create the first written document to summarize the 14 key steps required to obtain all permits and approvals needed to construct or improve a building in the city. Understanding the existing process is critical to streamlining review of real estate investments. In March 2016, Mayor Williams established the Wilmington Development Review Working Team to reform the city’s development review process and encourage adaptive reuse of existing vacant buildings and reinvestment on vacant lots. May 8 is working with leaders from inside and outside government to create a customer-friendly business climate that welcomes investment.

1. Artemel, Agnès. “Impact of Local Regulatory Processes and Fees On Ability to Deliver New Housing Units Montgomery County MD” Prepared for: George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis. (June 2012); PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Economic Development of Accelerating Permit Processes on Local Development and Government Revenues, December 2005; and Chicago Licensing And Permitting Reform, Regulatory Reform for the 21st-Century, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard. 2015.