Our attorneys represent clients in connection with every element of the transfer and development of real estate, including the negotiation and drafting of transfer documents, construction and financing documents and agreements, the identification and resolution of title issues and boundary disputes, the establishment and investigation of easements and rights-of-way, and coordination of state and local permit processes.
The Firm’s Real Estate Practice Group advises a variety of clients on all aspects of real estate law. We routinely prepare and review purchase and sale agreements, leases, title opinions, and deeds of all kinds. Thomas Melloni and Jon Anderson are title insurance agents for Chicago Title Insurance Company. We are adept at commercial closings, particularly the more complex ones that require more sophisticated work. We have routinely organized closings involving properties in 50 or more towns in Vermont. The Firm regularly arranges all phases of environmental reviews and advises clients on the meaning of the results. The Firm also regularly litigates over real estate issues including condemnation, boundary disputes, title disputes, actions to quiet title, and title insurance coverage. Clients in this area include several title insurance companies, convenience store chains, utility companies, railroads, and banks.
We are particularly proud of our holistic approach to real estate law. We search for ways to provide cost-effective solutions to real estate issues as, for example, through affirmative title insurance coverage. We also endeavor to identify title issues early in any transactions so that we can cost-effectively address issues according to a well-conceived plan without holding up closings. This holistic approach is described in Law and Land Development in Vermont, A Practical Guide by Jon Anderson and Shane McCormack.
Our attorneys counsel clients through every step of the land use permitting process, including planning, zoning, special use permits, variances, subdivision approval, site plan approvals, Act 250 approvals and appeals before the Vermont Environmental Court and the Vermont Supreme Court. Our attorneys regularly appear before zoning boards, planning commissions, state environmental commissions, and state courts at all levels representing clients seeking to obtain zoning and planning approvals for diverse projects, including residential developments, shopping centers, large retail projects, convenience stores, service stations, and wireless telecommunications sites. Recognizing the cost and expense associated with obtaining permits in Vermont, we counsel clients on ways to reduce the cost of permitting by reducing opposition to projects through structured developments, analyzing applicable zoning regulations to determine a project’s feasibility, and providing practical advice with a view toward furthering our clients’ goals in the most cost-effective manner possible.
The Firm’s practice in the real estate area compliments the Firm’s representation of lenders and developers in negotiating, structuring and documenting commercial financing transactions. Our real estate experience enables us to assist lenders in performing environmental and real estate due diligence reviews. If and when a loan transaction goes into default, our attorneys handle mortgage foreclosures as well as loan-workouts and restructurings.
Our real estate development practice also involves the re-development of Brownfields and other underutilized industrial or commercial sites that may have experienced environmental contamination. Our intimate experience with state and federal environmental laws, and our extensive experience in matters involving real estate development, municipal law and financing renders us well-situated to assist clients in this area. Our personnel and experience helps add a higher level of creativity when solving problems to further our clients’ needs.
In addition, the Firm maintains a database containing summaries of the zoning and land use permitting decisions of the Vermont Environmental Court and has also recently updated two booklets on development and land use law in Vermont, entitled Vermont Zoning and Subdivision Law and Law and Land Development in Vermont.
Specific areas of practice of the Firm’s Real Estate & Development Practice Group include the following:
• Commercial/Residential Real Estate and Project Development
• Title Abstracting and Title Insurance
• State and Local Permitting
• Financing Review, Opinions and Complex Closings
• Construction Law/Construction Dispute
• Condominium Law/Common Interest Ownership