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Posts by Steve Butler

3 Ways to Make Your Public Plaza More Successful

3 Ways to Make Your Public Plaza More Successful

October 29, 2018 by Steve Butler
Category: Parks and Recreation

This blog post highlights three characteristics that will make your public gathering space more successful, including finding the right location, considering access to nearby buildings, and creating public programming to support plaza use.

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Encouraging Neighborhood-Friendly, Residential Infill Development

Encouraging Neighborhood-Friendly, Residential Infill Development

May 31, 2018 by Steve Butler
Category: Development Types

Residential infill development can be used as an approach for communities experiencing a moderate/high rate of residential development or those looking to create a diversity of housing options for all income levels. This blog post looks at options ranging from ADU's to cottage housing and more. 

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Autonomous Vehicles: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

Autonomous Vehicles: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

March 16, 2018 by Steve Butler
Category: Planning , Transportation and Land Use

Widespread use of autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) may seem too futuristic to seriously contemplate, but autonomous ridesharing vehicles will be here before you know it. Planning Consultant Steve Butler discusses what it means for local governments.

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The “Ins and Outs” of School Impact Fees

The “Ins and Outs” of School Impact Fees

January 22, 2018 by Steve Butler
Category: Impact Fees

For many jurisdictions, school impact fees are a potential but underutilized revenue source to help pay for public facilities. This post looks at these fees and the other factors local governments must consider before implementing any.  

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12 Examples of Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulations

12 Examples of Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulations

November 22, 2017 by Steve Butler
Category: Licensing and Regulation , Tourism

The issue of internet-based, short-term vacation rentals has been in the news for several years thanks to the growth of companies like Airbnb and VRBO. This post offers local government examples of short-term vacation rental regulations for any jurisdictions that are contemplating adopting them.

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Recent Changes to Washington’s Land Use and Planning Laws

Recent Changes to Washington’s Land Use and Planning Laws

August 31, 2017 by Steve Butler
Category: Land Use Administration

The most recent Washington state legislative session resulted in changes to the Growth Management Act and tweaks to other land use/planning-related statutes. This blog post will provide a summary of some of those recently passed bills.

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When is a Development Application Ready for Review?

When is a Development Application Ready for Review?

July 6, 2017 by Steve Butler
Category: Development Regulations and Zoning

Once a jurisdiction determines that a planning-related application is complete it has 120-days to  make a decision on that proposal. But what makes an application complete? MRSC Planning Consultant Steve Butler reviews the options. 

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Using Citizen Academies to Educate and Engage your Citizenry

Using Citizen Academies to Educate and Engage your Citizenry

March 27, 2017 by Steve Butler
Category: Public Participation

Citizens academies offer constituents the opportunity to learn about different aspects of local government functions via a one-time or a series of presentations. This blog looks at a few examples of citizens academies, both within and outside of Washington State.

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Tiny Houses as a Workable Option to House the Homeless

Tiny Houses as a Workable Option to House the Homeless

January 24, 2017 by Steve Butler
Category: Homelessness

Tiny houses, small structures designed to provide temporary shelter, can be a low-cost method for housing the homeless and offer local governments a better option than having people sleep on the streets or in tents. This post looks at a few models operating successfully here in the Pacific Northwest.

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Inclusionary Zoning: One Approach to Create Affordable Housing

Inclusionary Zoning: One Approach to Create Affordable Housing

November 23, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Housing

Affordable housing is a big issue facing many communities in Washington. One approach used by a number of cities is called "inclusionary zoning," which requires affordable units to be included within new residential development projects or requires payment for construction of affordable units elsewhere.

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9 Elements of Successful Small Parks and Plazas

9 Elements of Successful Small Parks and Plazas

October 5, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Parks and Recreation

We're lucky to have so much access to spectacular open spaces and parks in Washington, but most of us can only get there during weekends or vacations. In the meantime, it's important to have access to small parks, plazas, and open spaces. So what are the secret ingredients to a successful small park or plaza?

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Ecology Seeks Comments on Draft Amendments to Shoreline Management Act Rules

Ecology Seeks Comments on Draft Amendments to Shoreline Management Act Rules

August 11, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Shorelines

The Department of Ecology is in the process of amending several of the rules related to the Shoreline Management Act. Informal comments on the preliminary draft rules are due by August 26.

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Accessory Dwelling Units under the Microscope

Accessory Dwelling Units under the Microscope

July 21, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Housing

A look at what ADUs are, how they are regulated by Washington local governments, and new regualtory innovations that may help increase their production.

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Planners and Police Officers Working Together to Create Livable and Safe Communities

Planners and Police Officers Working Together to Create Livable and Safe Communities

June 14, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Design

Using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) planners and police officers are working together more and more to achieve each other’s complementary goals to achieve an inviting and safe community.

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Sept. 1 Deadline Looming for Adoption of Your Impact Fee Deferral System

Sept. 1 Deadline Looming for Adoption of Your Impact Fee Deferral System

April 21, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Impact Fees

During the 2015 legislative session, the Washington State Legislature enacted a new law (ESB 5923) that requires counties, cities, and towns collecting impact fees to adopt a deferral system for new single-family detached and attached residential construction. This law gave local governments until September 1, 2016 to develop a deferral system that best meets statutory requirements and local objectives.

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8 Key Components of an Effective Planning-related Staff Report

8 Key Components of an Effective Planning-related Staff Report

March 23, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Land Use Administration

An overview and some tips about what makes a quality planning staff report.

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Local Government Catching Up with Airbnb and Other Short-Term Transient Rental Businesses

Local Government Catching Up with Airbnb and Other Short-Term Transient Rental Businesses

February 12, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Licensing and Regulation , Tourism

A look at some important issues to address if you plan on regulating short-term rentals in your community.

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Tiny Homes: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

Tiny Homes: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

December 30, 2015 by Steve Butler
Category: Development Regulations and Zoning

Tiny homes are all the rage these days! However, our zoning and building/construction regulations create significant barriers against them, especially if someone wants to live in a tiny home on a permanent basis. This blog covers some the things to consider in the regulation of tiny homes in local communities.

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The Importance of Bringing Your Sign Code Up-to-Date

The Importance of Bringing Your Sign Code Up-to-Date

October 29, 2015 by Steve Butler
Category: Sign Control

Practical tips for how to update your sign code in order to address the implications of the recent Reed v. Town of Gilbert case.

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Taking Deliberate Steps to Improve The Development Permitting Process

Taking Deliberate Steps to Improve The Development Permitting Process

August 31, 2015 by Steve Butler
Category: Land Use Administration

A look at how Redmond, Renton, and Kittitas County improved their permit processes using lean.

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Legislature Adopts Changes to Washington’s Impact Fee Law

Legislature Adopts Changes to Washington’s Impact Fee Law

July 7, 2015 by Steve Butler
Category: Impact Fees

An overview of the new legislation that requires Washington counties, cities, and towns to adopt a deferral system for the collection of impact fees for new single-family detached and attached residential construction.

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Highlights from the 2015 National Planning Conference

Highlights from the 2015 National Planning Conference

May 5, 2015 by Steve Butler
Category: Planning

Last month, over 6,400 planners from across the country came up to Washington State for the National Planning Conference, which took place in Seattle, April 18-21.  MRSC Planning Consultant Steve Butler joined the wonk-filled activities and shares some of his thoughts and highlights from the four-day event.

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Introducing Steve Butler, MRSC

Introducing Steve Butler, MRSC's New Planning and Policy Manager

March 9, 2015 by Steve Butler
Category:

I am very excited to be working at MRSC.  I have been a professional planner for over 30 years, having worked in Wisconsin, Maine, Oregon and Washington, both in the public and private sectors.  Prior to coming to MRSC, I spent the last 2 ½ years serving as the Community Development Director for Milwaukie, OR, a city of approximately 20,000 residents located on the southeastern...

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