From some early LandRules musings when the idea looked to me more like an independent website….
Usable online development resources in Tulsa are missing or inadequate at best. Land regulations and processes are essential to many people across the country for a wide variety of reasons. Area residents need to make decisions about their real property and participate in their community. Business owners always perform due diligence research before starting a project in their own or any other city.
But we hide it, guard it, or present it merely as static, unsearchable documents that are unreliably updated on bloated, dull web pages. We must do a better job of presenting ourselves than we’ve ever done before as we progress to be the excellent City we envision ourselves to be. LandRules is one step in the right direction.
Many of the world’s greatest successes have started with a passionate desire for a different outcome, recognition of a new possibility, a vision for a new future – or simply a frustration with what exists today.
I believe this project will go a long way toward removing one of the long-standing obstacles to understanding and cooperation between development and neighborhood interests. It will help make planning and land development processes more transparent. It will demonstrate to the corner of the world that’s interested in land development that Tulsa makes its resources available and welcomes those who want them.
If we make our living in the real estate development business we need a lot of knowledge, or we fail. We hire consultants to advise us on the best strategies to meet our goals. We spend considerable money to get the best possible results.
But what if we’re not in the development business? What if we only need the rules that apply to our once-in-a-lifetime project? What if we don’t want to learn the real estate development business, or hire a team of advisors?
LandRules was born out of a recognition that most of us spend very little time pondering the maze of land use regulations. But when faced with a land use problem, our need to understand the rules is just as great, no matter the size of our project.
Maybe you decide it’s time to add on to your home, buy a new one, or start a new business. Or you’re confronted with someone else’s new project in your neighborhood and want to understand how to protect your property. Maybe you’ve become aware of a zoning violation and you want to understand more about land regulations and your personal property rights. What if you have an opportunity to help someone else with a land use matter?
Suddenly you’re scrambling to put all of the rules into a coherent package. Without a lot of extra time available and little background knowledge, you’re trying to get a grip on what rules apply so you can meet your goals as efficiently as possible, avoid zoning violations, and get the best results.
More than likely the project simply doesn’t warrant the expense of paid professional consultants. But even when it does, you’re a much better client if you’re familiar with the rules and the processes.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one place you could go to make it a little easier? What you need is a free, experienced consultant who is an advocate for the lay person. Someone who knows the processes and understands your plight. They need to be available day or night, whenever you choose to seek their help. They must be able to explain in terms you understand.
My vision for LandRules is to create a community resource that’s useful to anyone who needs such a consultant. In my experience, that includes lay people and many seasoned professionals alike. They may be landowners, homeowners, neighborhood groups, real estate professionals, property managers, appraisers, landscape architects, architects, engineers, planners, designers, building contractors, schools, bankers, lawyers, and on and on.
I also see a strong need for an impartial community advocate – kind of an ombudsman, or liason between government and citizens. There needs to be someone to pull the information together from all the various sources and provide it to the end users with empathy and care for the needs of the lay person. After all, it’s PUBLIC INFORMATION! It ought to be easily available and understandable to us, the PUBLIC.
“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”
- James Madison (Fourth President of the United States)
I’ve witnessed the magic that happens when community members share knowledge freely with the rest of the community. Discussions become more productive. New ideas emerge and the community moves in a positive direction. It’s a collective force that empowers the individuals.