Land Use

Our attorneys at Lighthouse Law Group PLLC have been representing public sector clients in land use matters for over a decade.  We have extensive experience in virtually all matters of land use and are therefore able to assist our public sector clients in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.  The following provides a representation of our firm's experience in various land use matters:

      Development Incentives

· We have participated in the drafting of development regulations intended to create incentives for certain types of development and/or to provide certain public amenities in conjunction with anticipated real estate development.

· We have advised on code restructuring to achieve local policy objectives, including encouraging sustainable development, and to implement economic development plans. 
 

Mitigation Agreements

· We have negotiated and drafted complex traffic mitigation agreements, including a recent agreement to mitigate the impacts of a 6050-unit mixed use development planned to occur in a neighboring jurisdiction. The extra-jurisdictional nature of that agreement added a layer of complexity because our client-city could not rely upon its permitting authority to mitigate the impact.
 

Development Agreements and Joint Planning

· We have negotiated and drafted development agreements on behalf of our city clients. We have also negotiated and drafted agreements related to annexation and joint-planning, which contemplate a future development agreement.
 

Master Planned Communities

· We have participated in drafting a new zoning code chapter for master planned communities. The challenge in drafting master planned community ordinances, given their complexity, is ensuring the trade-offs are balanced and the city’s long-term interests are being protected.
 

Subdivisions, Site Plans, and PUDs

Conditions of Development

· We have tailored mitigation for all types of development, including churches, master planned communities, "tent-cities," plats, signs, and energy projects, as well as more standard, commercial, residential, and industrial development projects.

· For example, we have developed administrative records traffic conditions for major projects. We understand this highly technical area, and have a history of working closely with traffic engineers on mitigation analysis. We have taken a similar approach in addressing utility supply concerns, safety hazards, and other issues.
 

Performance Bonds

· We have presented on the subject of enforcing conditions of subdivision approval, a timely subject with many plats remaining unfinished in the wake of a bad economy.
 

Public Works Standards

· We have advised city staff on the applicability and interpretation of city public works standards where a developer challenged the city’s authority to impose a particular condition.
 

Land Use Code Revisions

· We have been engaged to comprehensively update zoning and subdivision regulations.
 

Tent City

· We are experienced with Tent City litigation and the defensible drafting of applicable zoning regulations.
 

Moratoria and Interim Zoning

· We have advised our municipal clients on proper usage of the moratoria and interim zoning tools. These tools are frequently used during a sub-area planning process to ensure that new development is consistent with a forthcoming sub-area plan.

Land Use Permit Processing

· We have given training sessions to city staff and quasi-judicial decision makers on proper permit processing.
 

Impact Fees

· We have drafted several impact fee ordinances and are regularly invited to speak at CLEs on the subject.
 

Concurrency

· We have drafted concurrency ordinances and have participated in litigation where a client was sued over implementation of its concurrency ordinance.
 

SEPA

· We have advised clients on the proper procedure for complying with SEPA and have also challenged as improper the SEPA compliance performed by neighboring jurisdictions. We have advised and presented on imposing development conditions under SEPA and developing the supporting record.
· We have worked with local jurisdictions to develop innovative ways for using SEPA to promote local planning objectives.
 

Training of Land Use Decision Makers

· We have provided land use training to administrative and quasi-judicial decision makers.
 

Land Use Petition Act

· We have defended and prosecuted LUPA appeals.

· We have drafted legislative amendments to the statute.
 

Defending Against Alleged Land Use Torts and Damage Claims

· We have defended land use torts and damage claims alleged by applicants.