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“You Can Be My Wingman Anytime”: Top 5 Ways to Encourage Controlled and Collaborative Development (Part I of V)

November 8, 2022

We are not ashamed to admit that we LOVED Top Gun: Maverick (no spoilers, we promise). It’s been almost 30 years since Maverick and Iceman squared off in Top Gun. “You like to work alone,” Iceman accused Maverick. Yet, ninety minutes later, focused on a common goal, Maverick and Iceman teamed up to save the world. “You can be my wingman anytime,” the result of Maverick and Iceman’s collaboration.

While elected officials may not be saving the world from Mig-29s (or 5th Generation Fighters), they play a vital role in creating the envisioned growth of their communities. In many communities, the goal is controlled and collaborative development. As land use attorneys, we are fortunate to be part of that collaboration and, therefore, want to offer our top five ways to encourage controlled and collaborative development. This is the first post in a five-part series. First up, early collaboration between the stakeholders.

When it comes to land use, it is easy to think of the relationship between elected officials, developers, and members of the community as an adversarial one. But it does not have to be if you do as Maverick and Iceman did. We don’t mean that you should play volleyball together. But we do ask that you abandon the adversarial mindset and focus on creating a common goal with all the stakeholders. To do this, first acknowledge that most elected officials, and some municipal staff members, come from backgrounds not associated with community planning or development. With that in mind, collaborate with your staff, third-party consultants, residents, and local developers to identify new ideas and concepts to achieve your desired level of controlled growth.

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