City and small town land use, wind, shoreline
About
We provide legal services to assist clients with achieving their land use planning goals. We work on virtually every facet of land use law from permitting to litigation, regularly representing clients before administrative tribunals, superior, and appellate courts. Below are examples of our work:

Growth Management and Shoreline Management Acts
Energy Facility Siting
Environmental Review (NEPA/SEPA)
Project Permitting and Mitigation Challenges
Subdivision Regulation
Regulatory Agencies
Land Use Mediation and Litigation

Growth Management and Shoreline Management Acts. We have extensive experience litigating before the Board and Courts, and are routinely engaged to advise on and defend comprehensive plan, development regulation, zoning, and shoreline planning decisions. Successes include:
• Defending a city's ability to amend its shoreline master program to regulate critical areas before the Washington State Supreme Court. The Court upheld a favorable Western Board decision. Following the litigation, we advised on legislation clarifying the Court's decision and reflecting the Board's approach to regulating critical areas within the shoreline.

• Settling Growth Management Act critical areas appeals filed by three state agencies and a tribe before the case was briefed and set for hearing.

• Successfully defending manufactured housing zoning and comprehensive plan designations before the Growth Board and Superior Court.

• Defending urban growth area expansion before the Growth Board, which included regulations and plan policies authorizing an urban planned community. When the master planned permit was appealed, the case settled before it went to hearing.
Energy Facility Siting. With experience permitting over 2,000 megawatts of wind development throughout Washington, there is no other firm with the same level of experience in working with local jurisdictions to achieve their energy siting objectives. This work has included addressing siting through both local permitting processes and the state's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council. This is coupled with experience on addressing small-scale wind; hydro-power; natural gas drilling; and solar siting issues. We worked on the state's first renewable energy overlay zone and oversaw its environmental review. When appealed, the case settled before it went to hearing. We also drafted supporting legislation for renewable energy overlay zones, which the Legislature enacted by unanimous vote.

Environmental Review (NEPA/SEPA). We routinely address environmental review under SEPA and NEPA and successfully defend the environmental review for project specific and legislative proposals. We place particular emphasis on innovative approaches to environmental review which can be structured to encourage local development objectives. Susan was among the first attorneys in the state to recognize the unique role mitigation and analysis addressing sustainability can play in both bolstering environmental review and promoting economic objectives.

Project Permitting and Mitigation Challenges. We routinely work on ensuring proposals of all kinds (i.e. master planned communities, industrial parks and facilities; residential projects, etc.) are adequately mitigated to address their impacts and withstand challenge. As one of the few firms in the state with experience developing mitigation associated with natural gas well drilling, we know how to tailor mitigation not only for more typical projects, but for projects which are unique to the state.

Subdivision Regulation. We regularly work with the permitting and legal defense of plat decisions, including challenging questions on the use of exemptions and how to approach mitigation and environmental review.

Regulatory Agencies. We work with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies to resolve issues on complex land use controversies. Our work includes addressing issues before some of the more unique agencies, such as the Columbia River Gorge Commission and Bonneville Power Administration.

Land Use Mediation and Litigation. Every land use decision can potentially result in litigation. We address each land use issue with that in mind. We are routinely successful in defending local decisions before administrative tribunals, and the superior and appellate courts.