When it comes time to buy and develop a commercial space, there is all manner of things to consider. Right now, you’re probably feeling like an entrepreneur at the end of their rope. You’re trying to negotiate contracts, and consider what work is needed to achieve the ideal business space. The last thing you want is yet more responsibility on your shoulders.
Sorry to break it to you, but piling responsibility on is precisely what we’re about to do. During your preparations, we can bet you haven’t considered how your new neighbors are going to feel about your moving in. Surely getting along in the neighborhood is only essential when you buy a house? Wrong. In reality, you have more incentive than ever to keep the locals onside. Fail to do this, and you can bet they’ll bring all manner of hell to your company door. At the very least, they could put you through pricey legal battles. At the worst, they could see any alterations you made undone.
With that in mind, you need to focus your efforts here before you even move in. Not only do you need to butter up the locals, but you need to make sure they have no reason to object to anything. The bad news is, that’s easier said than done. But, by taking the following steps before starting work here, you stand at least some chance.
Make sure neighbors are the first to know
If you intend to move into this space as it stands, a quick letter to your closest neighbors should be all it takes to smooth things over. If, however, you intend to embark on construction, you’ll need to work a little harder. The chances are that your contract states the need to run all work past residents. Even if it doesn’t, doing this is your best chance at keeping everyone happy. You need to inform neighbors even if you only have builders in for a day. If you’re doing more than that, you need to make sure to let everyone in the vicinity know as soon as possible. This ensures ample time for anyone to raise their objections. It also makes sure you have the best chance of turning the charm on and sorting things out between you. If you apply for planning permission without a heads up, you can bet you’ll annoy people no end. That’s when they’re liable to storm to the council and demand legal action.
Stick to regulations like super glue
Even after you’ve played the good little neighbor, you can bet some residents won’t be happy with your proposals. You may find that everyone bar one person is satisfied with what you’re proposing. But, that one person can still cause you a load of trouble if you don’t stick 100% to every possible regulation. Ahead of work, then, you need to do your research into any objection a neighbor could raise. Make sure you have all necessary permission and paperwork. Apply for building permissions well ahead of time and keep records. You may even find that you need land surveying completed to provide things like FEMA Elevation Certificates if you’re planning to build on a flood plain. You name it; you need to consider it. Failure to do this before you set foot on that land is all the legal backing that neighbor will need. If you can’t provide the necessary certificates, you’ll face fines, as well as having to take down any progress thus far. You would also then find it difficult to rebuild that community spirit. Don’t let it happen. Play by the rule book, then let that disgruntled neighbor do their best.
Do what you can to keep disruptions down
More often than not, residents aren’t best pleased when businesses move in because of the threat of disruption. Building work in itself can cause blockages in the street, as well as excessive noise. Even if you aren’t going all out with building, your business itself could be a disruption. Something as simple as arranging your facility parking in the wrong place could block the roads for residents. Equally, excessive customers numbers could increase traffic in the area. To keep everyone happy, consider this when making your plans. There are usually simple ways around this issue. Incorporating a separate entrance could keep customer-based traffic down. Tucking your parking space behind your building could also keep company traffic out of the way. Seeing you making efforts like these is also sure to soften even the hardest of resident hearts. After all, no one’s against new job opportunities in their area. The chances are that those neighbors want a reason to back what you’re doing. Keeping disruptions down like this could give it to them.
Be flexible with your plans
It’s also crucial to note that you need to be flexible with your plan. You are moving into an existing neighborhood, after all. Those residents were there long before you strolled in. If you’re too set on your ideas, you’ll bulldoze community spirit before you know. Even if those residents are unable to stop you legally, they’ll then turn to things like petitions. To make sure that doesn’t happen, listen to objections and incorporate them into your plans. Hold community meetings after you let residents know what you’re planning. Jot down any worries. Then, try to adjust your building schedule around the concerns raised. That may mean taking longer to complete this project, but slow and steady wins the race. Besides, this is sure to be a quicker process than legal proceedings would be. Being open like this could even see you either finding employees or customers in your local area. Does community spirit get any better than that?
Right now, resident feelings are probably last on your list of priorities. But, as the above points prove, this is something you need to consider when taking your company to a new space. Otherwise, walking down that street will fast become very awkward indeed.