January 19, 2018

Land Development: Project Permitting

Land Development: Project Permitting

We have extremely broad and extensive experience in working with clients on land development projects.  We provide legal representation for a variety of projects, from low to very high density residential, commercial, light industrial projects, public facilities, and natural resources such as forestry and mining.

Collectively, we offer our clients more than 100 years of legal experience in analyzing and resolving land use and environmental law issues.  We have worked with clients on projects large and small across Washington State.  We work closely with each client to understand the client’s objectives and develop strategies for accomplishing those goals efficiently and effectively.

We provide every client with all of our comprehensive experience in the legal and practical aspects of land development.  For many projects, we work with the client as part of the project team.  As such, we have extensive experience working closely with all the consulting disciplines involved in land development, including traffic, storm water, soils, slopes, environmental (SEPA, critical areas, flooding, and  hazardous sites), civil engineering, noise, and resource management.  We regularly work with project managers and civil engineers to evaluate a project’s feasibility and compliance with applicable zoning regulations and permit processing requirements.

We also have extensive experience in resolving disputes about the costs of project permits, including GMA-based impact fees and SEPA-based mitigation fees.  We have represented private sector clients individually and in coordinated groups to challenge excessive impact fees related to traffic, schools, parks, and fire.  We work with clients and their consultants to evaluate whether fees and mitigation assessed against a given project are related to the proposed development and are proportionate to that development’s impacts.

Administrative Experience

Our attorneys have many years of experience representing clients through all land use related state and local administrative processes.  We appear regularly before municipal, county and state agencies.  Each of our attorneys has broad legal and practical experience appearing before hearing examiners and various boards and commissions.  We represent clients on a wide variety of permitting issues that arise in the context of residential, commercial, light industrial and natural resource development and construction.  Our attorneys practice regularly before the Growth Management Hearings Board, the Shoreline Hearings Board and numerous other administrative hearings boards.

We also represent clients in formal and informal proceedings before local administrative officials on matters like variances, deviations, interpretations and boundary line adjustments.  We appear on behalf of our clients at Hearing Examiner open record hearings and appeals, and council or board of commissioner quasi-judicial and legislative hearings.  We regularly defend projects against SEPA-based and other administrative appeals as well as pursuing those appeals where necessary to the project’s success.

When a client or project would be aided by or requires local legislative action, such as a code change or an amendment to a land use regulation, we have the experience and knowledge to work with local jurisdictions in their legislative processes to accomplish that objective.

Litigation Experience

We have extensive experience with all aspects of land use litigation, including the Land Use Petition Act, Administrative Procedures Act, and other land development litigation.  All of our attorneys have navigated the many pitfalls unique to land use litigation and are familiar with the history and development of all the land use legislation and litigation in Washington.  We appear before Washington Courts at all levels: superior, appellate and supreme.  For most of our clients, litigation is a last resort.  We work hard to find out-of-court solutions to accomplish our client’s objectives.  But when we do need to pursue an issue through the judicial system, we are highly effective and persuasive advocates with very satisfied clients.