Northwest Land Matters

Northwest Land Matters

Developments in Energy, Natural Resources & Environmental, Real Estate, and Land Use Law in the Pacific NW

Category Archives: Land Use Planning

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White House Memorandum Aims to Speed Up Infrastructure Permitting

Posted in Development, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Municipal
On May 17, the White House issued a memorandum that directs federal agencies to “do what it takes to cut timelines for breaking ground on major infrastructure projects in half.” The memorandum builds on a March 22, 2012 executive order (Executive Order No. 13604) that aims to facilitate faster regulatory reviews of proposed transportation, water… Continue Reading

New Legislation Aids Environmental Planning/Development

Posted in Development, Growth Management Act, Land Use, Land Use Planning
The Washington State legislature recently passed a bill that incentivizes upfront environmental planning by local governments and increases SEPA predictability for developers.  This legislation will help ensure infrastructure is installed in a timely manner, consistent with adopted standards, and will add clarity for both the developer and the city on the limits and requirements of… Continue Reading

King County Creates Right Size Parking Tool

Posted in Development, Land Use, Land Use Planning
King County Metro and a team of partners have completed a new online calculator  to help measure parking demand  for multifamily projects in the Seattle-Bellevue area.  This “Right Size Parking” calculator aims to reduce over-building of parking supply in urban King County based on local and context-sensitive data on parking demand.   According to the Right… Continue Reading

Federal Funding Opportunities for Natural Resources, Agriculture, Alternative Energy, Water, and Energy Efficiency

Posted in Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Municipal, Water Law
Six opportunities totaling over $16.25 million in federal financial assistance were released this week, soliciting proposals in the major program areas of: Agriculture Alternative and Renewable Energy Energy Efficiency Public Lands and Natural Resources Water Van Ness Feldman’s Federal Funding Resource Center is an online information tool designed to inform our clients and friends about key energy-,… Continue Reading

Federal Government Releases Roadmap for Solar Energy Development on Public Lands

Posted in Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental, Land Use, Land Use Planning
The Department of the Interior, in partnership with the Department of Energy, will publish the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for solar energy development in six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Key elements include: an initial set of 17 Solar Energy Zones on 285,000 acres across 6 Western States; a process… Continue Reading

White House Unveils Plan for Accelerating Federal Permitting of Infrastructure

Posted in Development, Land Use, Land Use Planning
The White House has released a plan for implementing a March 22, 2012 executive order (EO 13604) that directed Federal agencies to streamline procedures for approving energy, transportation, and other infrastructure projects.  The plan calls on all Federal agencies involved in approving infrastructure projects to publish by July 31 a list of their review and… Continue Reading

EPA Releases Report on Incorporating Climate Change Information Into Land Protection Planning

Posted in Climate Change, Development, Growth Management Act, Land Use, Land Use Planning
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released a report assessing the feasibility of incorporating climate change impacts into planning and decision-making for land preservation efforts by government agencies and nonprofit land trusts.  The report reviewed existing decision-making processes for selected land protection programs and suggested strategies for better incorporating climate change into those processes.  These… Continue Reading

Angering Drivers, All Part of The Master Plan?

Posted in Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Municipal
A recent New York Times article raises some interesting questions about how US cities might tackle increasing traffic congestion and subsequent pollution—by following the urban planning of many European cities, where trends are to make driving as irritating as possible, thereby almost forcing individuals to choose public transportation.  Interesting concept—plan a city/development around people NOT cars.  … Continue Reading

Cottage Communities: Sprawl Dressed In A More Stylish Outfit?

Posted in Development, Growth Management Act, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Real Estate
Cottage communities are gaining popularity across the country for those wanting less space and more convenience without losing access to a yard.   Touted as anti-sprawl and as more sustainable than other forms of single family housing,  Seattle-based architect Ross Chapin has compared cottages to the Mini Cooper: “smart, sensual, well-engineered and reliable.” Successful cottage developments in urban areas… Continue Reading

Can Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Programs Work in Washington State?

Posted in Development, Growth Management Act, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Municipal
The City of Issaquah recently announced a complex agreement involving a transfer of development rights (TDR) transaction that will preserve more than 140 acres of forested land in and around the City, including the entire Park Pointe area at the base of Tiger Mountain. Several years ago, a developer had proposed to build hundreds of… Continue Reading

Are Fully Contained Communities A Thing of The Past?

Posted in Development, Growth Management Act, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Municipal
Kitsap’s population grew 8.3% over the past ten years placing it 11th from the bottom in population growth rates among Washington’s 39 counties.  Perhaps the lack of population pressure contributed to Kitsap County’s decision to consider prohibiting Fully Contained Communities, as authorized by the Washington Growth Management Act.   In concept, a Fully Contained Community (FCC)… Continue Reading

Additional Incentives For Smart Growth

Posted in Development, Growth Management Act, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Municipal
As discussed in “Smart Growth = Better Bottom Line?”, recent studies demonstrate that dense, mixed-use urban development centered around public transit (“smart growth”) can translate into economic gains for local businesses, citizens, and the government.  An additional cost-saving tool also available to eligible cities passed last year:  the “Compact, High-Density Urban Development” bill. Although a… Continue Reading

Smart Growth = Better Bottom Line?

Posted in Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Growth Management Act, Land Use, Land Use Planning
This month the Center for Clean Air Policy released a study Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change and Prosperity which argues that “smart growth” can lead to economic gains by the private sector, governments, and local citizens . “Smart growth” describes development that reduces suburban sprawl, makes efficient use of public utilities, and fosters mixed-use and… Continue Reading

Sustainable Communities Inaugural Planning Grant Winners

Posted in Development, Growth Management Act, Land Use Planning
On Thursday, Ron Sims was back in Seattle to award HUD’s first Sustainable Communities Planning Grants.  The Puget Sound Regional Council was awarded a grant of $5 million and Thurston County Regional Planning Council was awarded a grant of $1.5 million. Congratulations! The Sustainable Communities Planning Grant is part of the Sustainable Communities Initiative, a… Continue Reading