MRSC Welcomes New Public Policy Consultant Lisa Pool
June 24, 2021
Category: MRSC News and Updates
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.
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.