7th May 2015
Resort development seems like a win-win for everyone involved. Investors expect to make profits from the creation and management of a resort facility. Localities expect to profit from the increased tourism and increased tax base that a resort provides, plus the addition of jobs to the local community. And residents might expect to enjoy the resort’s amenities as well as benefit from the aforementioned jobs and overall increase in economic activity.
However, the opposite is sometimes the case: A resort development can be pushed through all the relevant committees and receive “buy-in” from all the right entities and agencies, but then it could run up against unforeseen opposition from the local community.
It should be noted that simply having legal, zoning, entitlement and appropriate building approvals from the local jurisdiction does not protect a project from this sort of late-inning opposition from the community, and many resort projects are stopped or forced to make large and expensive changes to their plans as a result.
The best strategy to protect against these sorts of problems is the inclusion of a local resort development expert who knows the law, the local government, and the community itself. Residents are often overlooked because at the outset of a project they do not seem to be a cohesive group with a clear agenda or governing body, but can coalesce into one with surprising quickness if they are presented with a resort development they find frightening or unpleasant for any reason.
An expert with local ties can advise on what portions of a resort plan might be distasteful to locals, and how to anticipate objections and develop strategies to prevent them from inspiring organized resistance, as well as knowing how to react to local challenges without exacerbating existing tensions. This could make the difference between a normal permitting process and an extended one.