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MRSC Welcomes New Public Policy Consultant Lisa Pool

MRSC Welcomes New Public Policy Consultant Lisa Pool

“Mountain’s out!”

Even after eight years of living in Washington State, my family and I are still in awe of its natural beauty, particularly on a sunny day. I feel fortunate to call this state home and am excited to join MRSC as its newest public policy consultant.

My local government background spans 18 years as an urban planner. I became certified through the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2009 and am a member of the American Planning Association and its Food Systems Division.

Planning in Washington State

My planning experience in this state stems from my role as a senior planner for the City of Bellingham. In this position, I completed several long-range planning efforts, including a Growth Management Act-compliant comprehensive plan, new regulations for short-term rentals and shelters for people experiencing homelessness, rezone applications, and land use code updates.

I also initiated and co-managed the city’s new online platform, Engage Bellingham, that provides opportunities for the public to interact with city staff on a variety of issues. This platform has enabled the city to seek meaningful public input through tools such as surveys, quick polls, and forums during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will also supplement in-person opportunities after restrictions are lifted.


Prior to moving to Bellingham, I served as a transportation and sustainability planner for the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), the metropolitan planning organization and council of governments for the nine-county Kansas City region.

This role included developing the regional long-range transportation plan, conducting inclusive public engagement processes and trainings, assessing local plans for alignment with regional priorities, initiating and managing a regional greenhouse gas emissions analysis tool, and managing a new competitive planning program for local governments to develop sustainable nodes and corridor plans.

During graduate school, I also worked at MARC, contributing to the regional air quality plan and evaluating the effectiveness of congestion mitigation and air quality projects.

Development Review

I also have experience reviewing development proposals for conformance with city and county regulations and policies. In Liberty, Missouri, I reviewed and processed my first lot line adjustments and site plans.

As a planner for the joint city-county planning office in Lawrence, Kansas, I processed more complex development applications, including mixed-use projects with historic preservation and commercial design review components, rural subdivisions, and annexations.

How It Started

I spent the first 18 years of my life in a small midwestern town along the banks of the Mississippi River. From there, I headed to the Sunflower State to attend college, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in environmental policy from the University of Kansas (KU).

Realizing I enjoyed being surrounded by Jayhawk basketball fans and tallgrass prairie, I stayed in Lawrence after graduation and worked a variety of jobs while searching for the right fit. The environmental planning course I had taken during my undergraduate years was one of my favorites because of the interrelatedness of a healthy environment and healthy people, so I circled back to KU and obtained a Master of Urban Planning with environmental and land use focuses. It was too good to be true! With this degree, I could help communities become more sustainable and, most importantly, help improve the lives of the people within them.

I’ve found that working in the public sector has been a rewarding and enjoyable career, and I hope my experience serves me well as I begin my work at MRSC. I look forward to hearing from many of you soon!

MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

Photo of Lisa Pool

About Lisa Pool

Lisa Pool joined MRSC in June 2021. Most recently, she served as a senior planner for Bellingham. In this role, she primarily focused on long-range planning projects, including the city’s comprehensive plan and new housing-related regulations. Prior to moving to Bellingham, she worked on regional sustainability and transportation issues for a metropolitan planning organization and conducted development review for cities and counties in the Midwest.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts in environmental policy and a Master of Urban Planning, both from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. She has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners since 2009.