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Posts by Joseph W. Tovar

Should Legislative Bodies Conduct Quasi-Judicial Hearings?

Should Legislative Bodies Conduct Quasi-Judicial Hearings?

August 31, 2016 by Joseph W. Tovar
Category: Land Use Administration , Planning Advisor

In our latest Planning Advisor column, Joe Tovar argues that city, town, and county councils should remove themselves from quasi-judicial roles and delegate that authority to hearing examiners instead.

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GMA at 25: Looking Back, Looking Forward

GMA at 25: Looking Back, Looking Forward

December 12, 2014 by Joseph W. Tovar
Category: Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management , Planning Advisor

The year 2015 will be the 25th anniversary of the adoption of Washington State's Growth Management Act (GMA). GMA may be the most important and least understood of state laws from the perspective of today's state, county and city elected officials. Few of them were in office in the 1980's, and therefore understandably lack first-hand knowledge of the serious problems that prompted the 1990 legislature to pass the Act. A 2013 survey of city elected officials revealed that almost none of them had ever received training on the what, why, and how of land use policy-making, much less the GMA.

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From Vision to Reality: Implementing your Comprehensive Plan

November 1, 2013 by Joseph W. Tovar
Category: Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management , Planning Advisor

Cities and counties planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) are required to periodically update both their comprehensive plans and development regulations (codes). King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, and their 77 cities, are required to update their plans and codes by June of 2015, while other local governments in the state ...

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Land Use Planning and the Art of Planning Commission Maintenance

January 1, 2013 by Joseph W. Tovar
Category: Planning Advisor , Planning Commission

Perhaps the most instructive television ad ever was a memorable pitch by the FRAM auto parts company. The setting was a dimly lit auto garage, where two exasperated mechanics labored over a blown engine. One mechanic held up an oil filter, smiled at the camera and said "pay me now," then shrugged and...

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