Our Land Use Practice Group represents developers, contractors, retailers, operators and a host of other clients and businesses on land use and permitting matters from the planning and design stages to the construction and operations phases, as well as in litigation scenarios, when needed.
Puerto Rico’s zoning framework is comprised of a unique and complex set of statutory and regulatory provisions at the central government and municipal levels. The specific regulatory provisions and the extent of the jurisdiction of each entity (central or municipal level) may vary from municipality to municipality depending on the level of competencies delegated to the relevant municipality under the Autonomous Municipalities Act. The complexities of Puerto Rico’s zoning laws and regulations require the precise know-how and expertise that we have in order to determine the applicable requirements for a specific project. We are currently engaged in advising our clients on the proposed changes and the preparation and submittal of comments during the public participation process regarding the recent sweeping zoning changes that have been proposed in the Puerto Rico Land Use Plan (pending approval).
We advise our clients in permitting matters related to the development, construction and use for residential, commercial, institutional and industrial projects. We are particularly equipped with the legal know-how and expertise in the Land Use area that only comes from having led the team of private and government representatives that drafted Puerto Rico’s Permits Process Reform Act which became law on December 1, 2009, bringing significant changes to Puerto Rico’s decade’s old permitting processes. This effort was done in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce, the Secretary of Economic Development and the Puerto Rico Planning Board, amongst multiple governmental agencies involved as well as members of the Puerto Rico Legislature. The amendments to Act 161-2009 by Act 151-2013 did not significantly change the core of the 2009 permitting reform.
As a result of our many years of legal and transactional experience, in addition to having helped establish the Permits Management Office (that substituted the former Permits and Rules Administration, “ARPE” by its Spanish acronyms, as a result of Act 151-2009), our practice group is ideally suited to assist our clients with the understanding of all aspects of current permitting laws and regulations at the state and municipal levels.
Our legal team has strong, established professional relationships with all relevant local and federal environmental regulatory agencies, including these key players:
- Puerto Rico Planning Board
- Puerto Rico Permits Management Office
- Autonomous Municipalities with Permits Offices under the delegations authorized by the Planning Board.
We work with the other practice areas within the firm to assist clients with land acquisition negotiations, leasehold interests, financing, and strategic due diligence to align the compliance and/or capabilities of the land or property with the client’s business objectives.
We advise our clients on relevant federal and local developments – statutory, regulatory, and case law. We also assist them in the preparation of proposed revisions to statutory and regulatory provisions and/or the submittal of comments to proposals for statutory and regulatory provisions regarding issues that impact their operations.