Equity Lifestyle Properties at a Glance

Cox Planning Solutions Expedites Post-Storm Repairs for Equity Lifestyle Properties

Equity Lifestyle Properties is a major real estate company with a portfolio of over 450 communities in 35 U.S. states and British Columbia, controlling over 170,000 sites. Key to their success in the hospitality sector is prioritizing guest experience.

The Problem

The Problem That Equity Lifestyle Properties Faced

Equity Lifestyle Properties was dealing with significant storm damage at a large campsite near Yosemite. This damage included flooding, destruction of buildings, and near-collapse of a vital pedestrian bridge carrying essential utilities. The extensive repair work required careful environmental permitting, as Workers would need to dewater the South Fork of the Tuolumne River to properly rebuild the damaged bridge and sewer line. The process was further complicated due to involvement from multiple environmental agencies and legislation like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. 


Working with the right environmental consultant would be critical to a successful and compliant outcome. 

“We’re in the hospitality business,” explains Mike Sukel of Equity Lifestyle Properties. “So guest experience is everything. Keeping your guests happy and satisfied is the key to having a successful hospitality business. Damaged facilities and closed properties lead to unhappy guests and negative feedback.”

Mike knew that he needed urgent help remediating, and selecting an inexperienced environmental consulting agency would slow the process down even further. “Some legal consultants we spoke to just did not know both sides of the picture, and that caused some problems.”, he said.


So why is this situation so complex that it even baffled legal experts?


Multi-Agency Approval and Coordination

The need to obtain approvals from multiple agencies across federal, state, and local government levels, combined with the necessity to coordinate between them, significantly increased the complexity of the process.

Stakeholder Management and Jurisdictionional Complications

Identifying and managing a diverse range of stakeholders was challenging, especially given the overlapping jurisdictions and the local government's non-participation.

Regulatory Compliance and Lead Agency Absence

Adhering to California's CEQA requirements was made more difficult without the support of a lead agency. This absence not only hindered progress but also led to escalating maintenance costs without generating any revenue.

To promptly repair the damages and comply with all regulatory requirements, Equity Lifestyle Properties required an expert adept in wetland remediation, development, and navigating complex environmental and governmental regulations.

The Solution

Cox Planning's Strategic Approach

Chris Cox, CEO of Cox Planning Solutions, leveraged his extensive experience in similar situations to systematically navigate these challenges. His team’s initial focus was on understanding the diverse stakeholders and managing the complexities arising from jurisdictional overlaps and unclear roles. Recognizing the absence of a lead agency as a crucial gap, Cox steered the project through these regulatory mazes.
Innovative Lead Agency Designation and CEQA Certification

Cox Planning recognized the necessity of a lead agency for CEQA certification. They adeptly navigated the challenges posed by the Department of Housing and Community Development’s limited expertise, identifying a suitable lead agency to drive the process.

Strategic Lead Agency Designation and CEQA Certification

A pivotal strategy involved negotiating with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to assume the lead agency role. This decision was key in overcoming the jurisdictional hurdles that had previously stalled the permitting process.

Streamlined Permitting Package Development

Their approach included efficient coordination with multiple agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers and the Regional Water Quality Control Board. This ensured alignment of various regulatory demands and requirements, facilitating smoother project progression.

Effective Agency Coordination and Communication

Cox then prepared synchronized applications to multiple agencies, ensuring strategic planning throughout all required documents and streamlined coordination between consultants. Diligent project management resulted in combining efforts and minimizing redundancies to save time and money. 

Regulatory Support and Compliance Management

Cox Planning provided regulatory guidance and support to Equity Lifestyle's construction team, ensuring adherence to all legal and environmental standards, thus preventing potential compliance issues.

Monitoring and Reporting for Compliance Oversight

Cox Planning not only secured approvals but also actively monitored project construction, promptly addressing any issues. Their continuous monitoring and detailed reporting ensured that the project remained compliant with all environmental regulations.

Completion and Closure of Permits

They compiled comprehensive reports on the project's progress and compliance, leading to the efficient completion and closure of all permits. This ensured that Equity Lifestyle Properties remained fully compliant with all regulations, marking the successful conclusion of the project.

Chris Cox describes this approach as “a life hack on a massive scale,” which drastically reduced approval times and was pivotal in the expedited repair and reopening of Equity Lifestyle Properties ‘s park. This strategy not only overcame the initial hurdles but also set a new benchmark for handling similar projects in complex regulatory environments.

The Results

A Testament to Creativity and Expertise

Cox Planning played a crucial role in not only resolving urgent infrastructure challenges but also in enhancing the operational efficiency and reputation of Equity Lifestyle Properties.

Restoration of Essential Services

When recent storms damaged a vital water main in one of the parks, Cox Planning's swift strategic planning and expedited permit process were key in restoring the water supply. This prompt action was essential in preventing substantial revenue loss due to park downtime.

Enhancing Resident Satisfaction and Property Value

n a high-capacity RV resort outside Yosemite National Park, Cox Planning adeptly addressed long standing environmental issues. By obtaining permits for clean-up and restoration to a more natural state, they significantly improved resident satisfaction and increased the land value. This transformation positively impacted the property's reputation, shifting it from negative perceptions to a highly regarded status.

Business Continuity and Revenue Protection

Through ensuring that parks remained open and functional, Cox Planning directly contributed to the business goals of Equity Lifestyle Properties. Their effective handling of environmental and regulatory challenges safeguarded the company's continuous operation and revenue streams.

Overall, Cox Planning’s services transcended mere environmental and infrastructural solutions, playing a transformative role in the operational success and growth of Equity Lifestyle Properties in a competitive market.

Cox Planning Solutions

Where Experience Meets Innovation

The phrase “Knowledge is power” is never more true than when dealing with the bureaucracy of government agencies.


Cox Planning Solutions delivers success for clients by employing detailed knowledge and meticulous planning to craft streamlined processes. The simple premise of investing in the success of their clients has positioned Cox Planning Solutions to deliver strategies that save thousands of dollars and infinite headaches.


Cox Planning Solutions’ ability to cut through state and federal regulatory bureaucracy resulted in high-value returns for Equity Lifestyle Properties. Rather than spending years or decades negotiating with each agency separately, Equity Lifestyle Properties turned to Cox Planning Solutions. Chris Cox’s team crafted an efficient, streamlined process that braided multiple bureaucratic threads into a single solution. 


Chris Cox,
CEO | Lead Strategist

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