Using PUDs (Planned Unit Developments)

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2011 04:03 Written by Chris Griswold Tuesday, 1 June 2010 09:23

Planned Unit Developments (“PUD’s”).  If you’ve ever wanted to buy a piece of property (or use property you already own) for the purpose of conducting certain, specific uses upon that property which are not permitted under the existing zoning base district, you need to know about PUD’s.  Why? As time progresses, it will be more and more difficult to have a piece of property conventionally re-zoned (i.e., changed as to zoning base district).  Instead, city officials will be much more amenable to having the property specially re-zoned to a PUD which has certain, specific uses “rolled into” the PUD.  However, there are a few, basic things you should know about PUD’s before using them.  Read more below.

Using PUD’s

PUD’s v. Conventional Re-Zoning. It’s important to note that getting a PUD approved (and having those certain, specific uses rolled into it) is, in fact, a “re-zoning” in every sense of the word – just like a conventional re-zoning of the zoning base district of the property.  In fact, once approved, the PUD will be its very own, permanent, ordinance-based, special zoning district.  So, don’t mistakenly believe that by doing a PUD you are doing something less (and easier) than “re-zoning” your property.  When your PUD is finally approved, what you’ll have is a piece of property which has those specific, desired and unique land uses rolled into it.  However, as with all good things in life, there are potential pitfalls.  So, before you go putt-putting along getting your PUD, be sure to at least consider the following….

Potential Pitfalls of Using PUD’s. Under certain circumstances, getting a PUD might actually limit your land use and negatively affect other things.  Example:  You own property which is zoned both I-2 and I-3 (the majority being I-2).  Your desired, specific use of the property is permitted under the I-3 but not the I-2.  The only way to utilize the I-2 portion with this use (remember, the majority is I-2), is to get a PUD.  When you get the PUD, the I-2/I-3 distinction will go away and the whole property will be restricted to the specifically enumerated uses of the PUD.  In other words, the previously permitted uses allowed under I-3 (which are undoubtedly much higher and broader than those specifically enumerated under the PUD) will be lost.  This may: i) negatively affect future marketability and overall fair market value of the land, ii) limit/restrict what you can do with and upon your property in the future (should your needs change), and iii) if you’re not careful when applying for the PUD, actually prevent you from doing what you currently need to do upon the land if you failed to include all of your desired uses into the PUD (thus requiring you to immediately revise the PUD).  Crazy, huh?

“Starting my own business presented many obstacles and uncertainties.  I was fortunate and blessed to have my real estate broker recommend Chris Griswold as a resource for my lease reviews and negotiations.  Chris addressed all my questions and concerns with unyielding patience and guidance and helped me secure a strong and favorable lease.  Chris you are an exceptional resource and even better friend….  Thanks for all your help with this first location.  I look forward to working with you on the next one.”

Chris Lucas / Owner / KoKo Fitclub / Edmond, Oklahoma

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Using Contract for Deeds (CFD)

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2011 04:03 Written by Chris Griswold Saturday, 1 May 2010 09:22

“40 Acres, No Mule.”  I’m sure you can relate given that deals are hard to finance lately.  As a result, more than a few people have asked for assistance in helping them owner-carry (or buy some owner-carried) real estate.  During the conversation, people usually mention the “contract for deed” arrangement.  While still a legal way to convey property, it’s honestly not the most desirable way.  However, if you should find yourself in a situation where the other party insists on using it, read below to find out how to more effectively use the contract for deed (“CFD”).

Using CFD’s

Actual Conveyance. As a seller, you must realize that in signing the CFD, you have actually executed a legal conveyance to the buyer.  What does this mean?  It means you have sold it with just as much force and validity as if you had received the entire proceeds from the buyer’s lender at a conventional closing.  It also means that if the buyer defaults in their payments under the CFD, you’ll have to actually foreclose on the mortgage you hold (as opposed to simply terminating the CFD and demanding possession back like you’d do with a normal land installment contract).  This is, in part, why people have really gotten away from using CFD’s and instead started using conventional “mortgage, note and deed” vehicles.

Recording CFD’s; Escrowing Deed. As a buyer, you need to understand that, once signed, a CFD needs to be recorded with the relevant county clerk.  If the seller balks at recording, you need to walk away because that’s the only evidence which proves you own the subject property.  Also, as a buyer, you should require that the deed (which conveys title to you) be escrowed with a reliable person or entity such as an accountant, attorney or bank for future recording (which usually shouldn’t occur later than 10 years after signing the CFD).  Otherwise, the seller could die, change jobs, skip town or just move away and you’d be short a deed….

Due On Sale Clauses. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you need to understand that the seller’s existing mortgage (if there is one) on the subject property will undoubtedly contain a “due on sale clause.”  This clause will require the immediate and full payment of seller’s existing mortgage if seller attempts to sell (or even long-term lease) the property (i.e., enter into a CFD).  This clause can cause countless problems with title insurance and property casualty/general liability insurance coverages.  Among them, who gets the proceeds upon a property casualty?  Who has an insurable interest?  If coverages are purchased by buyer, what will prevent the due on sale clause from triggering and, if so, who/what protects the buyer?


“WhichWich? is experiencing tremendous growth and we feel fortunate to have Chris Griswold, P.C. as our lead Real Estate Attorney during this time of expansion.  His knowledge, professionalism, tenacity, integrity and drive have given our brand an edge over our competition when securing premier locations throughout the country.  He continues to make our needs a priority and we look forward to working with him for many years to come.”

Jeff Vickers / Director of Development / Which?Which / Dallas, Texas

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Slippery Slopes

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2011 04:03 Written by Chris Griswold Monday, 1 February 2010 09:20

Icy, snowy, slippery sidewalks (say it 3 times fast).  We’ve all seen our share this winter.  In response to a large number of inquiries I’ve received from concerned hotel, restaurant, office and retail owners and tenants, as well as the several requests I’ve received from our local insurance underwriting community that I write on the topic, I wanted to write a short piece in the hopes it saves some of you needless worry and, possibly, money.  Accordingly, I’ll answer the two most commonly asked questions from the groups mentioned above.

Questions About Slippery Slopes

Question #1:  “If I put out snow melt on my sidewalks, does it somehow serve as an admission of guilt if someone should subsequently slip and fall on the premises?

Answer: No. The very act of putting out snow melt, etc… in an effort to prevent people from slipping, falling and hurting themselves cannot later be used against you.  In other words, you can’t use someone’s efforts to avert an accident against them later on if and when the accident occurs.  If you could, it would be tantamount to saying “…I’m suing you for trying to help me.”  Now, there are other relevant factors including, but not limited to, whether or not another person slipped and fell in the same area just before the plaintiff slipped and fell, whether you put out enough – and many others.  However, the fact that you put out snow melt, in and of itself, is not an admission of guilt; nor can it later be used against you in showing negligence.  Accordingly, don’t be afraid to put out snow melt when the weather gets bad.  However, and most importantly, when you put it out, put out enough to really do the job (including getting out your shovel if need be so the area(s) in question are clean, clear and safe).

Question #2:  “When should I put out snow melt?

Answer:          It depends. Actually, the legally correct answer to this question is “when it’s reasonable to do so.”  Say what??!  I know…, it’s legalese and not really clear.  However, you can pretty much nail it down if you ask yourself the following question: Given the current weather conditions; if my mother came to see me at work today, should I put out snow melt? If the answer is yes, put it out.  Otherwise, don’t sweat it.

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Carl S. Milam / President / Western Concepts Restaurant Group / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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