A Realtor's Guide to Stay Informed About Your Neighborhood's Future!
Have you ever wondered what a building under construction near your home will be? How can you discover what is being built in your city?
What business is moving in near your home? Is it yet another nail salon?
How many cars drive down a particular road each day?
What roads will be under construction?
How many homes are in that new housing development?
Which areas are zoned residential, commercial, or have proposed zoning?
Who owns that house or building?
Of course you can always attend your city's planning meetings, but there's also a way to view development maps and see projects in your city to answer the question what construction is going on near me?
Most cities, towns, and counties incorporate a Geographic Information System (GIS) into their city websites. The GIS is an interactive map with layers for tons of different categories like zoning and owner .
Some sites have galleries with topic buttons with specialized information.
I will walk you through several examples of information you can get from the GIS in North Texas. This is just a small sampling of information in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
For example, the Town of Flower Mound, Texas' GIS gallery allows you to see:
A Development Map
Town Construction Projects, including street construction, parks, water, stormwater, street signal, and wastewater projects.
Mosquito Maps to track West Nile Positive Samples and Treated Areas
Economic Development to Track Retail Centers and Traffic Counts
Names and Entity Property Owners of Record
You can play around with the GIS system for Flower Mound here: Click Here.
When you click on the Development Map in the gallery, at the time of this blog, you can see that Dixon Estates is under construction on about 27 acres for 51 buildable lots and 6 common areas. You can also see a new Dutch Bros coffee shop has been approved.
Using GIS, you can see plots of land under construction. You can use the address to also search for permits within different city's website. In addition, GIS will show the owners for all parcels. You can play around with Denton County's GIS here. By clicking on each black outlined shape, you will be able to find out who owns pieces of property and how big the land is. Try looking up your address!
I did reach out to ESRI, the software manufacturer for most cities GIS, to see if there is a single source database with websites for all of the North Texas GIS links, and they do not have this as each city/town/county maintains its own system. Because of this, the kind of information available on city/town/county websites will vary. Each map has different layers that allow you to see different kinds of information.
For example, the City of Plano even includes a layer that lets you look at Plano over time to see aerial maps by year dating back to 1956! You can also look at apartment scores and see how many units and the year they were built.
Do you want to see road construction projects in Collin County? The Collin County GIS website allows you to view projects by city, county, or TxDOT-managed projects. Click Here.
In the city of Richardson, Texas, GIS maps give you access to homeowner associations, street sweeper routes, a capital projects tracker, and even show the inventory of different types of trees in North Texas. Click Here.
GIS Maps also allow you to see special taxation districts such as a Public Utility District (PUD) that may have higher taxes than another neighborhood you would consider. It can also show you the current zoning. Click here to see the Frisco Zoning Map.
Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ)
Have you ever heard of ETJ? It stands for Extraterritorial Jurisdiction, meaning it's an area just outside a city or town's official boundaries. However, the city still has some control over what happens there, especially when it comes to planning and zoning.
Knowing about upcoming developments in an ETJ can be pretty handy if you're thinking about buying a home or want to be in-the-know about your real estate. You can see the ETJs on many GIS maps.
Why do you need to know about developments in your area?
Property Value Impact: Sometimes ,when a new shopping mall or park gets built nearby, property values can go up. Knowing about planned developments in the ETJ can give you a heads-up on whether something like that MAY happen around the area you're eyeing.
Neighborhood's Future: Imagine if you're eyeing a quiet, residential neighborhood and suddenly find out they're planning to build a big industrial complex right next door. Yikes! Being aware of upcoming developments helps you see what the neighborhood might look like in the future.
Infrastructure Improvements: Ever get excited about a new road being built because it'll cut your commute time in half? Knowing about upcoming developments means you can anticipate improvements, along with new schools or healthcare facilities being built nearby.
Zoning Changes: If you plan on doing something specific with your property, like opening a small business or adding a guest house, you'll want to know about any changes in zoning regulations. That's where knowledge of upcoming developments comes in handy.
Quality of Life: Nobody wants to buy a house only to find out later it's going to be right next to a noisy construction site for the next five years. Being aware of what's coming up helps you assess how your quality of life might be affected by things like increased traffic or noise.
Investment Potential: Lastly, knowing about upcoming developments can help you make an intelligent investment. If you see a lot of growth and development planned for an area, it could mean your property's value will increase over time.
How Do I Find Out About Developments in My City or Neighborhood?
City Planning Departments: These folks usually have all the scoop on what's happening in the area, so call or check out their website.
Public Meetings and Hearings: Most cities hold meetings about upcoming projects. It's a great way to get firsthand info and have your say.
Local News: Keep an eye on local news outlets—they often report on significant developments in the area.
Real Estate Agents: Your real estate agent at Morgan Realty Team can be a goldmine of info.
Online Resources: There are plenty of websites and forums where people chat about local developments. Definitely worth checking out!
Community Groups: Get involved with local community groups or homeowners' associations—they're often on top of what's happening in the neighborhood.
Permits - Construction projects require permits. You can use the GIS to find the address and the owner and look up permits within each City.
Please note that most cities have a disclaimer on their GIS websites that the data has been made public for general purposes, and any reliance on this data is at your own risk. Most government entities further state that they assume no liability for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies on the maps.
So there you have it! Stay informed. As always, we want to be your resource for all things real estate. We are a quick email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.