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Posts for Planning Advisor

Visualizing Compatible Density

Visualizing Compatible Density

April 10, 2017 by Bob Bengford
Category: Planning Advisor , Design

Density is a controversial subject. This post demonstrates that streetscapes, vehicular-access elements, and building design are all components that make developments appear less dense, more livable, and attractive. 

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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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4 Takeaways from the 2016 National Planning Conference

4 Takeaways from the 2016 National Planning Conference

May 17, 2016 by William Simpson
Category: Planning Advisor

Last month over 4,300 planners, policymakers, and students attended the American Planning Association conference in Phoenix. I’ve selected a few takeaways that might be of interest to planners and community leaders throughout Washington.

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It’s Time to Implement Your Affordable Housing Policies

It’s Time to Implement Your Affordable Housing Policies

March 18, 2016 by Andy Lane
Category: Housing , Planning Advisor

When affordable housing developers step up to meet this need, they are sometimes frustrated by the disconnect between the adopted policies and inconsistent development regulations. This post examines how to get started on implementing regulations that provide fee relief and regulatory incentive programs.

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The Importance of Population Forecasts for your Comprehensive Plan

The Importance of Population Forecasts for your Comprehensive Plan

January 26, 2016 by William Simpson
Category: Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management , Planning Advisor

Selecting a population forecast is a critical step for communities beginning the review and update of their comprehensive plan. This post provides some answers to common questions for those beginning the update process.

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What’s Next for Planning in Washington?

What’s Next for Planning in Washington?

November 6, 2015 by Jill Sterrett
Category: Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management , Planning Advisor

2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Growth Management Act. So let's look ahead to see what's next. What are the emerging issues that urban planning can address?

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Rural Demand for Municipal Water Or How a Drought Emergency Can Make You Popular

Rural Demand for Municipal Water Or How a Drought Emergency Can Make You Popular

July 6, 2015 by Andy Lane
Category: Water Utilities , Planning Advisor

Planning Advisor Andrew Lane explains how to handle municipal water service requests from homes outside your city or town limits.

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Sign Code Update: Finding the Sweet Spot between Flexibility & Clutter Management

Sign Code Update: Finding the Sweet Spot between Flexibility & Clutter Management

May 26, 2015 by Bob Bengford
Category: Planning Advisor , Sign Control

A case study in integrating form-based and street graphic approaches into the sign code update for the City of Lacey.
 

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Game Changing: Local Planners Rising to Meet Global Challenges

Game Changing: Local Planners Rising to Meet Global Challenges

March 17, 2015 by Jill Sterrett
Category: Climate Change , Planning Advisor

In my article last October, I talked about Climate Change in the news and some of the actions that planners in the Washington Chapter of American Planning Association are taking to plan for the changes that Washington will face.  Today, I’d like to update you on our progress and talk about the upcoming National Planning Conference.

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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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Is Your Community Ready for Micro-Housing?

November 13, 2014 by Andy Lane
Category: Housing , Planning Advisor

You're sitting at your desk at the permit counter. An application is dropped in front of you. You quickly skim the application — hmmm... five stories... 40 residential units... five shared kitchens — huh? Then you recognize the project address as a rather small lot. Your eyebrows (and your brain) furrow as you wonder how the architect could fit 40 units on that lot. Your forehead exchanges its confused furrows for wide-eyed astonishment as it dawns on you — each unit is only 120 square feet! At that moment, what pops into your head?

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Climate Change - What is to be Done?

October 13, 2014 by Jill Sterrett
Category: Climate Change , Planning Advisor

Sometimes climate change seems like too much. How can we spend public funds and staff time on problems that seem so big and far away?

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Bike Trails for Transportation or Recreation - When Does Recreational Use Immunity Apply?

April 1, 2014 by Andy Lane
Category: Cycling and Walking , Planning Advisor

I've been riding bicycles for fun and transportation for as long as I can remember. The bike trail I take to work on a Wednesday is sometimes the same one I enjoy on a sunny weekend ride with friends. It makes no difference to me if the bike trail is considered part of the transportation system or parks and recreation system. However, a recent Washington State Supreme Court decision makes it...

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Google Earth - A City Planner's Best Friend

February 28, 2014 by Bob Bengford
Category: Tools for Planners , Planning Advisor

In this article, the author shares examples of how he has used Google Earth and Bing Maps in planning projects.

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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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Third Promise of GMA Revisited: the New Urban Growth Area Guidebook

August 1, 2013 by Pat Dugan
Category: Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management , Planning Advisor

Too often, GMA Capital Facility Plans have been prepared as an afterthought, rather than as an integral part of the planning process. A particularly critical weakness of many Capital Facility Plans (CFP) has been the failure to demonstrate that designated Urban Growth Areas...

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A Little Bit Pregnant: The Multi-Personalities of Site Specific Rezones - Or - A Cheat Sheet for Everything You Need to Know about Site-Specific Rezones

April 1, 2013 by Phil Olbrechts
Category: Land Use Administration , Planning Advisor

We just can't help ourselves. We have to categorize everything. Put them into neat little boxes. We especially like to do that in the laws we pass. Land use laws are no exception. We start the boxing process for land use laws by throwing an issue in either the “legislative” or “permitting” box. That's usually an easy task. Except for site specific rezones. Sometimes site...

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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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Planned Unit Developments - Real World Experiences

November 1, 2012 by Bob Bengford
Category: Subdivisions and Planned Developments , Planning Advisor

The concept of planned unit developments has been around now for quite some time. Most cities and counties in Washington have adopted planned unit development ordinances. Much has been written over the years about the technical and legal nature of PUDs. This article, however, takes a look at how some of these ordinances are working in the real world. What are the major issues and challenges? Are...

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Planners, Finance, Geography, and Urban Sprawl

August 1, 2012 by Pat Dugan
Category: Planning Advisor

By following my inclinations rather than my training, I have become both a planner and a finance officer. I came into these professions through the back door, without any significant formal training or education in either. My academic training, instead, focused at the graduate level on geography, with some specialization in economic geography. This background has given me a somewhat different...

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The Unassailable Right to Make Any Decision You Want: Avoiding Judicial Intervention in Local Land Use Decision Making

May 31, 2012 by Phil Olbrechts
Category: Land Use Administration , Planning Advisor , Administrative and Elected Officials

Any superior court judge in your county can single-handedly toss out a decision of your entire city council if the judge decrees your council violated the constitution or some state or federal law. Are there any decisions out of reach of your local superior court judge?

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A Hybrid Approach to Form-Based Codes in the Northwest

March 1, 2012 by Bob Bengford
Category: Planning Advisor

Can form-based codes be applied to Northwest communities? Of course. Are they appropriate for your community? It depends. This post has some things to think about if you are considering updating your land use/design codes using a form-based approach.

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Protecting Existing Neighborhoods from the Impacts of New Development

March 1, 2012 by John Owen and Rachel Miller
Category: Planning Advisor

This is the first of two articles discussing regulatory strategies to address two challenges to creating compatible and livable infill development.  This article focuses on achieving compatibility between new multistory development and existing smaller-scale neighborhoods. 

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Shaping Growth: Using Capital Facilities to Implement Comprehensive Plans

March 1, 2012 by Pat Dugan
Category: Planning Advisor

This post explores the ways that capital facilities can be actively used to implement a comprehensive plan and the role that capital facility financing policies can play in that process by influencing when, where, and how much capital facilities will be developed.

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Providing for Usable Open Space for Multifamily Developments

March 1, 2012 by Bob Bengford
Category: Planning Advisor

This blog post describes concepts for providing usable open space in new multifamily residences, as part of regulatory strategies to address challenges in creating compatible and livable infill development.

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But What About Multiple Family Housing: Does it Pay for Itself?

March 1, 2012 by Pat Dugan
Category: Planning Advisor

There is a perception that multi-family housing is a drain on local government finances and is more costly to support than single-family residences. This, in turn, can affect local land use policies and cause officials to discourage multi-family development. But is this perception true?

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Do Single-Family Dwellings Pay for Themselves?

March 1, 2012 by Pat Dugan
Category: Planning Advisor

The perception that single-family houses do not generate sufficient tax revenue to pay for local government services has caused many cities to encourage commercial development and discourage residential development, exerting significant influence over how cities are growing and developing. But it this perception true?

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