Feasibility Studies for Land Development

What are the Components of a Land Development Feasibility Study


Understanding the challenges associated with a parcel of land is critical, as this will facilitate necessary changes in the planning and design process. These challenges can potentially affect the budget and cause delays, so contingency plans could be required.

Possible challenges include those from the physical environment and the social environment.

Physical Challenges:

  • Topography
  • Climate concerns
  • Stability of the soil
  • Geographic elements such as forests and bodies of water

Social Challenges:

  • Nearby commercial prospects
  • Population demographics of salaries and employment
  • Socio-political climate
  • Local regulations

Utility Access

Utilities are an essential consideration for any project. Whether the access to utilities either exist, or the ease at which they can be sourced are critical to evaluating the success and potential budgetary requirements of a project. Some of the factors that may be evaluated include:

  • Water supply
  • Septic & drainage systems
  • Sewage lines
  • Electricity and gas connectivity
  • Available roadways
  • Accessibility of the land

Environmental Impacts

In order for a project to be successful, the land, water and air must be considered. To help achieve a balanced ecology, we must enhance the positive impacts and mitigate the negative impacts of the potential project to the natural environment.

The land must be evaluated for:

  • Soil Type
  • Previous contamination
  • Existing vegetation
  • Potential location in a floodplain or watershed
  • Potential proximity to ecologically critical areas

Legal and Regulatory Issues

The established government and municipal ordinances will determine if that parcel of land will be a good fit for the intended purpose of the project. At this stage, it will be determined if special zoning exceptions, variances, or even rezoning will be required.

As all jurisdictions have their own set of rules and regulations to follow, the Feasibility Study must outline the following items to legally develop the property:

  • All required fees
  • Permit
  • Zoning regulations


Unplanned and unexpected costs and fees have often stopped a potentially viable project in its tracks. The financial review is a critical piece of the Feasibility Study and includes:

  • Permitting, NPDES and PennDOT fees
  • Required costs to alter the physical landscape
  • Outline of utility costs

Our Feasibility Study Process

Our Feasibility Study Process consists of a physical evaluation, planning and development, a process evaluation, and feature analysis. You can read more about each step of our process below. FCE clients receive their Feasibility Study in one comprehensive report, including all sketch plans, data, maps, photos, schedules and any other pertinent material related to the study.

Step 1: Physical Evaluation
We complete a thorough physical evaluation of the site as well as Deed research at the Court House and with the Township or Borough. Topography and boundary surveys may be utilized at this time.
Step 2: Planning and Development
This evaluation is followed by the development of a sketch plan and a full zoning ordinance review. The various iterations and evolution of the sketch plan will be detailed, as well as all reasons for the modifications. The zoning ordinance review will ensure that all aspects of the sketch plan and proposed project meet the requirements including frontage, rights-of-way, easements, parking, fencing and signage, to name a few.
Step 3: Process Evaluation
The Land Development and Subdivision processes are evaluated next, to determine all necessary permitting and applications that will be required, meetings and scheduling for Township, Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, PennDOT and Conservation District meetings. Filing costs and permitting fees would also be determined at his stage, as well as estimates for the required physical alterations to the parcel needed to develop the project, including earthwork, paving, stormwater and drainage, sanitary, erosion and sedimentation control, landscaping and signage.
Step 4: Feature Analysis
The stormwater and natural features analysis come next, addressing any issues regarding floodplains, watersheds, wetlands and physical features that could be problematic. Any disturbances found in or around the wetland areas could require wetland mitigation and environmental permitting. The soil profile could possibly be evaluated at this stage to determine underlying geology as part of the overall stormwater management and erosion and sedimentation control design. Potential geologic concerns, such as earthquakes, radon, landslides and sinkholes would also be evaluated, as well as concerns for sensitive species habitats.

Certifications & Affiliations

Aside from being a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in both Pennsylvania and Maryland, FCE is also certified through the following organizations:

Women's Business Enterprice National Council Logo

WBE (women’s business enterprise) through WBENC

Certification: #2005125236

Expires: 8/29/23

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Pennsylvania Department of General Services Logo

SBE (small business) thru PA DGS

Certification: #328935-202109-SB

Expires: 9/8/23

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Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Logo

DBE (disadvantaged business) thru PennDOT (PA-UCP)

Certification: #14631

Expires: 7/8/23

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City of Philadelphia Logo

WBE (women’s business) thru the City of Philadelphia

Certification: #7644224

Expires: 7/8/23

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Maryland Department of General Services Logo


SBR (small business reserve) thru MD DGS

Certification: #SB20-007982

Expires: 4/22/23

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Pennsylvania Department of General Services Logo

SDB (small, diverse business) thru PA DGS

Certification: #328935-202109-SDB-W

Expires: 9/8/23

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Maryland Department of Transportation Logo

DBE, SBE, and MBE thru MDOT

Certification: #17-014

Expires: 1/1/2024

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Request a Feasibility Consultation

How can we assist you with your next project? Call 717.845.3227 or complete the form below. We’ll get back to you within 1 business day.