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Public opinion is important to any development

California zoning boards may make decisions regarding whether a project is built in a commercial zone, an industrial zone or some other area. However, the public may also play a role in the decision making process when it comes to the placement of a development. Without the support of the surrounding community, a project may not move forward.

For instance, a health care network on the east coast attempted to build a methadone clinic in a neighborhood. The network planned to put in the clinic for months, but failed to consult with the members of the community until too late. The residents in the area where the clinic was to be feared that it would bring in crime and lower their property values.

Eventually, Catholic Health was forced to relocate the clinic despite its contention that patients needed easy and convenient access to the services provided by the clinic. Community residents may agree with that assessment, but that does not mean they wanted the clinic in their neighborhood, so an alternate location was chosen. The clinic will open soon, but not in the original spot. When discussing the relocation, it was pointed out that Catholic Health failed to do enough to ensure the cooperation of the community. 

This could be a cautionary tale to anyone here in California who wants to build in a certain area. While working on the legal side of the issues regarding the location, it may be a good idea to work with the public to ensure the development may move forward without opposition. Otherwise, it could cost the project more than just finding a new location, but it could also cost good will with the surrounding community or communities, which could affect the success of the project.

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