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Developing Property That is Environmentally Threatened

47 views January 11, 2024 Karina Jugo 3

As society lays stakes to more and more land and continues to develop them for residential and commercial space, the availability of “environmentally safe” land is becoming scarce. Sometimes, high demand for land and property exists in a region prone to natural disasters.

For better or worse, this land gets developed anyway, but only with the consultation of both property management and environmental experts who have the know-how to make it all worthwhile.

Environmental factors that affect land development

Before you start development in any particular region, you need to know what types of environmental factors are against you. Environmental factors can include but aren’t limited to: earthquakes, wildfires, floods, tropical storms, and pollution.

All of these factors can have detrimental effects on your development plans if proper precautions are not taken beforehand. In addition, particular regions are more prone to a specific environmental threat. For example, property owners on the west coast of the United States have to deal with the potential of earthquakes and wildfires. Historically, the region has also been occasionally affected by severe drought.

environmentally threatened

Expert help on environmentally-threatened land

A potential development area you have been interested in can have some environmental downsides. But that doesn’t mean you’ve reached the end.  You are not alone in conquering the problem and proceeding with development. There is such a thing as disaster planning when developing high-risk areas.

Fortunately, professionals are available to help you figure out your specific concerns and how to best deal with them. In addition, specialists like meteorologists, seismologists, and geologists working for consulting firms will be able to assist you with surveying your property.


A meteorologist can provide a history of weather patterns for you. This information can range from the general climate to storm histories and their severities. These statistics can be used to conclude what kind of structural additions may need to be added to your property to prevent weather damage. Also, these statistics might dictate the legal requirements for insurance relating to storms and sequential events that follow, such as flooding.


Seismologists can provide statistics on earthquakes and other seismic activity. People living in areas prone to earthquakes and aftershocks have learned to take preventative measures. A seismologist can give an accurate assessment of your risk, and you can prepare accordingly.


A geologist, like a meteorologist or a seismologist, will provide statistics on the general area; however, geologists can actively survey land. A geological survey can tell you if the ground is level; additionally, it can determine the quality of groundwater and the integrity of the bedrock.

This analysis can show you how much weight the land can support and how the building should be structurally composed. Unfortunately, skipping these steps often results in buildings being constructed on top of sinkholes or unstable ground that ultimately gets swept away during a landslide.

Preventive Measures in Property Management

After you have consulted with experts, it is time to make your next move. If the experts have decided you are clear of any significant risk, congratulations! You get to move on to development.

Unfortunately, if you are dead set on a particular location but your land has been deemed risky, you have more work to do before your official development can begin. Just so you know, your course of action will depend on what the diagnosis for your property is.

Earthquake-prone regions

If you are in an area prone to earthquakes, nailing anything that needs to be secured down is a significant first step. In addition, there are support foundations that have been explicitly developed to absorb seismic activity that you could consider if you or a seismologist feel they would be beneficial.

By all means, if one of your hired experts insists you take a particular precaution, it is in your best interest to heed their warnings. After all, it is your return on investment that is in play.

Flood and wildfire-prone regions

In the case of floods or wildfires, it would be beneficial to create buffers between your property and the fire or water. For example, artificially raising the elevation may prevent significant water damage during a flood. Furthermore, installing drainage systems to counter the direction of oncoming water will also help.

Removing trees and installing fire extinguishing systems around your property may be helpful in case of a wildfire fast approaching. But, of course, these measures should be taken proactively and not during a crisis because, ultimately, your fate will rest within the wrath of the oncoming disaster.

Get Proper Insurance Coverage

Another unfortunate aspect of the unpredictability of the world is that even with all of the proper precautions taken, disaster can still strike and undo everything you have worked for. Thankfully, there is property insurance for these events.

However, buyers beware—just because you have insurance does not mean you are covered on all fronts. Unfortunately, some insurance companies take advantage of the fact that many of their policyholders do not truly know what is covered under their policy.

For example, just having standard homeowners insurance when your property is within the flood plain of a river will not typically cover you in the event of a flood. You will need flood insurance. The same goes for earthquake-prone regions. Homes built along this area will require earthquake coverage as a separate policy or an endorsement to a homeowners or renters policy.

This trend can be seen across the country, where particular risk factors are higher than others. So, making sure you have all the protection you need should be a top priority.

Closing the Deal

Mastering the real estate market will always be a challenge; however, some particular properties pose added risks. Do not be afraid of a challenge. Instead, embrace it when others would typically shy away, leaving you an opportunity to conquer.

Please don’t let that opportunity go to waste. Instead, do the research, weigh your options, and hire experts to help you reach your goals. This is your investment, and you want the most significant returns possible!


  • Karina Jugo

    Karina Jugo is a content administrator at RentPost who works directly with real estate and property management experts to create resources and guides for property managers. She has more than 15 years of experience in content research and writing for various industries.

  • Jacob Thomason

    Jacob Thomason is the CEO and co-founder of RentPost, software platform providing property managers, landlord or owners with the tools necessary for property management. Jacob is a software entrepreneur with with a vast array of expertise ranging from business concept design to software architecture and development. He is running RentPost for more than 14 years and helping property managers and property owners.

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