Land Design office

Land-planning firm Land Design has recently joined forces with civil engineer Rob Plitko to add engineering services to the Ocean View firm's offerings.

Following a collaboration with Plitko LLC, Land Design Inc. in Ocean View is now offering professional engineering.

The partnership began at the beginning of the year when Rob Plitko Jr., a professional civil engineer who is licensed in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, joined Land Design, owned by Tom Ford, whose expertise is in land planning and zoning.

Ford, who has been in business nearly 40 years, said he has had a relationship with Plitko for six years.

“We started talking. Rob grew up here in Ocean View, and went on and got his engineering degree. He’s worked for several engineering firms here on the peninsula. It’s a good fit. It benefits clients because we are working in the same building on a daily basis.

“As the phone rings or questions come up, different aspects of a project need a certain opinion from each of the professions — land planning and engineering. It’s almost necessary in today’s world to have that engineering expertise as part of the planning,” Ford said, adding that he is “very excited by the collaboration” and calling it “an upgrade that will “bridge the current evolving demands for comprehensive technical services of land development activities.”

“It takes a lot of collaboration to get anything done in the regulatory world,” Ford said. “For example, if a client comes in and he has a piece of land and he wants to do a subdivision, I would meet with the client and produce a layout of the subdivision with the lot, the right sizes, the right zoning classification.

“Every sub-division is subject to zoning regulations. If we were working on a project in Millville, for example, I would coordinate with the town and with the client. We have to have a surveyor and a wetland delineator to do delineations,” he explained.

“In one case, we had 135 lots, but we have to accommodate the recreational facilities. All the special organization is done in the beginning. Then we get approval for that from the towns, from the county, for the zoning.

“They will say, ‘Yes, we agree with you that you accommodated all the needs required and we will give preliminary approval.’ It is subject to engineering approvals from the State – engineering for the roads, details for the catch basins, piping, sizing of piping, sizing of outfall pipes — all that has to get taken into consideration,” Ford explained.

Engineering involves layout and “trying to build it in a 3-D, real world, with utilities, water, electric,” Ford said.

“It gets into easements. Engineering is really the bulk — up to 80 percent of the job, maybe 85 percent of the work until you get to final approval from the county and the state. Then it can be recorded,” he said.

Plitko has been providing engineering services throughout Delmarva for about 20 years and is also proficient in site development and securing regulatory construction permits, such as those needed for stormwater, road construction, Department of Transportation entrance plans and capabilities of Land Design, Ford said.

“It’s better having both of us in one building so we can talk to one another and make everything more streamlined. It’s better for clients when everything is all in-house,” Plitko added.

“If someone came in for a project, Tom would do the site plan. He would talk to me to see if it will work for stormwater and utility connection, making sure the site would work. From there Tom would get the site plan approved by the town or the county.

“At that point he would pass it off me to do the engineering. I would handle the storm water, sewage water, grading and all approvals for the client to get a building permit. Everything has to go through site planning and engineering. Once those get those approvals, the client can get a building permit,” Plitko explained.

An Ocean View native who has been working as an engineer since early 2000, Plitko said he has seen many changes in Ocean View since he was growing up there.

“A lot of people didn’t even know about this place. We have a lot more and better conveniences than we used to have,” he said, adding that he’s pleased to be helping locals through engineering.

Land Design, established in 1982, has provided land planning, site development, surveying and landscape architecture on Delmarva for 39 years, Ford said, attributing the company’s longevity “in large part to our clients and the many diverse projects undertaken by them.”

“It’s been our great pleasure to provide the professional planning and regulatory liaison for project types such as outlet centers, commercial centers, recreational and sports facilities and community sub-divisions,” Ford said.

Staff Reporter

Veteran news reporter Susan Canfora has written for many newspapers and held positions ranging from managing editor to her favorite, news reporter. She joined the Coastal Point in June 2019. She teaches college writing, tutors and professionally edits.