Real Estate Journal — Industrial / Distribution Centers — May 26 - June 8, 2017 — 3C


M id A tlantic

I ndustrial R eal E state & D istribution C enters By Neil Andrew Stein, Esquire, Kaplin Stewart The shrinking industrial base and what it means for the future


s a land use lawyer, I have been involved in numerous zoning

maintaining and rebuilding the industrial base could play an important role in putting unemployed residents to work. However, these work- ers often need to live close enough to industrial areas to take advantage of public transportation or a shorter commute time. Zoning has long recog- nized that mixing certain uses—such as residences and heavy industry—creates problems. For example, zon- ing prevents factories from moving into a residential area, a development that, in

most cases, would depress residential property values and disrupt the quality of life in the neighborhood. Ideally, all changes to a zoning map would be carried out through this type of comprehensive planning process. In reality, however, such an arrange- ment is impractical. Market demand shifts too frequently. Therefore, zoning is changed through individual rezoning or variance applications. The result is a process that is often guided by political, not planning considerations. The cacophony of a room full

of objecting residents may drown out a good planning discussion. Therefore, elected officials should carefully consider whether some form of in- dustrial zoning protection is appropriate, even though such protections will be no cure-all for industrial de- cline. Nonetheless, industries need adequate supplies of desirable industrial land protected from encroachment by incompatible uses. Even with such protections, indus- trial areas that remain viable for industrial will continue

to become targets for con- version to alternative uses. This inevitable consequence of progress, may leave our most valuable manufacturing and industrial users with no choice but to relocate over- seas. This does not bode well for the American worker. Neil A. Stein, Esquire is a principle at Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. and a member of the Land Use, Zon- ing & Development and Real Estate, Business & Finance Transactions De- partment. n

change and variance ap- p l i c a t i o n s filed by de- velopers un- der the ban- ner “adap- tive reuse.” This term is somet imes

Neil Stein

overused and misconstrued, but it generally refers to the re-purposing of abandoned property in a manner in- consistent with its current zoning. This often takes the form of converting a former industrial or manufacturing use and its underlying zon- ing, to a retail, residential or office classification and use. Of late, multi-family housing has become the most popular adaptive re-use for abandoned industrial sites. While from a land use per- spective, re-purposing these old sites often come with the added benefits of environ- mental cleanup, aesthetic improvement and additions to the local tax base. All older industrial areas have reduced the quantity of in- dustrial land through rezon- ing in recent decades; indeed, their economic survival re- quires them to do so. With manufacturing representing a progressively smaller share of economic activity, the rezoning of some industrial land is needed to bring the overall supply of industrial land in line with demand. However, sometimes too much of a good thing leads to unintended consequences. While rezoning is appro- priate in many cases, they should be done carefully. Currently, there has been a push to bring manufacturing back to the United States from overseas. Is there suf- ficient industrially-zoned land to achieve this goal? Industrial uses are often un- popular due to the potential for noise, truck traffic and en- vironmental contamination. However, modern industry may not have these negative attributes. While it would be simple enough to provide land for industrial uses in the more rural parts of our nation, away from populated areas, such a solution is too convenient. Many areas have high poverty rates and

Firmly Rooted in the Law and in the Community We are well grounded in every facet of real estate law, from acquisition to construction. We are committed to serving the needs of our clients and our communities.

Contact: NEIL A. STEIN • nstein@kaplaw.com Kaplin Stewart Attorneys at Law

910 Harvest Drive, Blue Bell, PA 19422-0765 • 610-941-2469 • www.kaplaw.com Visit our Real Estate Blog: www.philadelphiarealestatelawyer.com Visit our Construction Blog: www.pennsylvaniaconstructionlawyer.com Other Offices: Cherry Hill, NJ 856-675-1550& Philadelphia, PA 215-567-3120

Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs