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Development

The development of real property is at the very core of any zoning practice and encompasses a multitude of disciplines. We advocate development needs for regional and national developers, home builders, retailers and manufacturers. Some of our projects include residential and commercial subdivisions and condominiums, multi-family affordable housing, workforce housing, planned unit/area developments, mixed-use, shopping centers, office developments, industrial parks, hotels and recreational and entertainment venues. We take your project from due diligence and investigation to initial acquisition, through project financing, sales and leasing, disposition and construction.

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Transit Oriented Development

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a residential or commercial area designed to maximize access to public transport. Mixed-use/compact neighborhoods tend to use transit all the time. As a result, many cities are striving to implement better TOD strategies and secure funding to create new public transportation infrastructure and improve existing services.

Our lawyers and professionals have substantial experience in the transit industry. Our attorneys and planners have directly assisted with the creation of a number of TODs, including assisting to secure infrastructure support from state and federal sources, representing private developers in public-private joint venture station redevelopments, and providing guidance to public agencies for joint development projects at transit stations along and throughout an entire system.

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Green Building

Today, an increasing number of new and existing buildings and projects incorporate “green building” or environmentally sustainable practices and materials to promote energy efficiency, decrease carbon footprints and reduce operating costs.

The U.S. Green Building Council has developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. The Livability Law practice boasts some of the first attorneys and planners to earn certification in this area.

We are well versed in the Federal, State and local tax credits and other incentives and private grants available for green projects. We have the experience to negotiate design and construction contracts to achieve the “green” goals of the owner/developer and provide for adequate remedies if such goals are not achieved. We have the expertise to represent both landlords and tenants in preparing and negotiating leases or amendments to leases that address the landlord’s and tenant’s respective liabilities for the construction and cost of green improvements as well as other issues that relate to the green status of a building, including adherence to operations and maintenance standards in order to maintain that status.

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Land Use and Zoning

Our attorneys represent clients in all legal aspects relating to the use of land, including zoning, condemnation and related litigation. We guide clients through due diligence as well as the land use entitlement process, which can involve negotiating with government officials, applying for and obtaining land use and/or zoning approvals, variances, special permits, subdivision plats, site plan and construction plans. We have established professional and effective relations with city/town staff Planning Commissions, Boards of Adjustment and City/Town Councils.

Beyond performing the basic legal work necessary to structure and close transactions, the Livability Law practice offers additional value by assisting clients in identifying potential opportunities, problems and available solutions. We do not just “lawyer” or “paper” a deal. As a rule, our clients rely on us to provide advice and counsel beyond the scope of conventional legal matters, a personalized and custom approach.

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LEED-ND

The next logical step beyond creating green buildings is creating green neighborhoods. And in 2009, that’s exactly what the Congress for the New Urbanism, Natural Resources Defense Council and U.S. Green Building Council did by creating LEED-ND. The same rating system that applies to specific buildings can now apply to entire neighborhoods, where the approach includes smart location and linkage, neighborhood pattern and design and green infrastructure and buildings.

Each of the three sub-categories have prerequisites and credits that our attorneys and planners can help you understand. How important housing and job proximity is as compared to local food production can make a big difference in whether or not an area qualifies. Our team understands these differences and it’s this critical information that makes a difference.

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Sustainability

Increasingly, government and private entities are seeking to protect our nation’s overall health, natural environment and quality of life through strategies such as smart growth, New Urbanism and green building. Moreover, as society becomes more aware of the threat posed by global climate change, public and private leaders are developing systems to change business operations and development patterns to stabilize and reduce carbon emissions.

Collectively, these movements seek to promote the concept of sustainability – meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. These principles also tie directly to broader public and private sector efforts to address global climate change.

We are uniquely positioned to assist government and private entities support and promote sustainable development through projects, policies or operations. Our multidisciplinary team of attorneys and professionals has performed hands-on work throughout the state, and seamlessly combines in-depth knowledge in all facets of sustainable development. We understand the challenges and opportunities within this field, and are exceptionally suited to assist clients to meet their sustainable development objectives.

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Municipal Law

The Livability Law practice has more than 15 years of experience in the legal representation of municipalities and their respective authorities throughout Arizona. Our attorneys have represented a number of different municipalities including Glendale, Sedona, Goodyear, Surprise, Safford, Flagstaff and Mesa either as general or special counsel.

Our attorneys offer not only the experience and expertise gained over decades of public sector law practice, but also the significant resources of other specialties and cutting edge practice technology. As a result, we are better and faster. Where other lawyers might expend hours in researching a question or in finding a suitable “pattern” to follow in a transaction, our attorneys can often answer a question over the phone and have vast data bases available to address a particular issue or transaction.

We identify with our clients, seeking ways to assure not only their legal needs, but their policy goals and objectives are met. We understand municipal law is about community improvement, service to the community’s residents and taxpayers, and cost-effective and timely results.

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Infill Development

Our attorneys and planners have the expertise to assist government and private entities target and undertake development relying on the core principals of infill. We can also assist in the planning and implementation of developments containing balanced, compact and pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods and districts, and in public and private sector efforts to provide diverse housing options and an equitable approach to environmental impacts.

We have developed special expertise in the cutting-edge field of urban infill development and redevelopment. We work with leading national developers, investors and financial institutions to resolve complex regulatory issues and obtain project incentives, such as infrastructure cost participation, whenever available. We have been involved in the entitlement of numerous urban residential projects, as well as the renovation for reuse. Most experts agree that urban infill development is the wave of the future, and with our expertise in New Urbanist and form-based development regulations, we are very well positioned to assist in such efforts.

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HUD Financing

Our clients include virtually all of the participants in the housing process: developers, national and local nonprofit entities, public housing agencies, lenders, investors, conduits, mortgage and investment bankers, managers, contractors, underwriters, and mortgage insurance companies.

We are active in and familiar with all HUD housing, community development, public housing, FHA and GNMA programs, the multifamily programs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), as well as state housing finance agency and public housing authority programs. We will help you navigate through the related regulations to take advantage of federal and state funding opportunities.

Our extensive experience with agency programs is particularly helpful in obtaining approval of business plans, defending against enforcement actions for alleged regulatory violations, resolving disputes over use of grant funds, negotiating the purchase of assets from government agencies, facilitating participation in financing programs, assisting clients in negotiating workout arrangements and claims regarding troubled properties, and keeping abreast of pending legislative and regulatory requirements and their impact on our clients and their businesses.

As professionals, we take pride in maintaining current knowledge of affordable housing initiatives. We will help you navigate through the regulations, including those established under the Internal Revenue Code and HUD local zoning and property tax ordinances.

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Brownfields Redevelopment

The Livability Law practice assists real estate developers, corporations and municipalities in transforming contaminated lands into productive sites that help communities grow. Team members are knowledgeable in every aspect of brownfields redevelopment in order to provide our clients with an extensive network of contacts, up-to-the-minute analysis of changing state voluntary cleanup programs, and regulatory and risk management tools to quantify environmental risks and structure transactions in ways that minimize potential environmental liabilities.

We also understand the policies and practices that govern the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of institutional controls (land use restrictions) on contaminated sites. We have substantial experience negotiating pollution legal liability, remediation cost cap, blended finite risk and secured creditor policies to facilitate these deals. We also have extensive experience in bringing federal, state and local financial incentives to the table.

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