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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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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