First Ever #EconDev Survey of Micropolitans

Our company believes that micropolitans have tremendous growth opportunities ahead, which is why we’ve focused our economic development services on their needs. And that why we’re also doing the first ever economic development (#econdev) survey just for the nation’s 551 micropolitans (list of micropolitans). The benefit to participating micropolitans is two-fold: You’ll get a report with aggregate survey results, which can help you better benchmark your community against your peers in future strategic planning. You have the ability to submit available buildings and sites to us through the survey.  That information will be kept on file and when we’re working with our private sector clients your micropolitan will get considered if it meets the project parameters. Continue reading

More Micropolitans Than You Think

Our guess is you’ve probably traveled through one of the nation’s 551 micropolitan statistical areas recently. In fact, on a recent drive between our Everett, WA headquarters and our Burlington, IA satellite office, we found that there are 18 micropolitans along the way: I-90 to I-35 to US-34 Ellensburg, WA Moses Lake, WA Butte, MT Bozeman, MT Sheridan, WY Gillette, WY Spearfish, SD Mitchell, SD Fairmont, MN Albert Lea, MN Mason City, IA Boone, IA Marshalltown, IA Pella, IA Oskaloosa, IA Ottumwa, IA Fairfield, IA Burlington, IA Continue reading

What Do You See?

Looking at this picture, what do you see? You may see a typical suburb.  Or a small town in flyover country.  Both answers would be correct! However, when we look at the picture we see: The commuting patterns that are impacted by zoning decisions The small business that is trying to get a building permit to expand The school board that is wrestling with rising student populations and the need to adjust enrollment boundaries The developer that’s facing an angry neighborhood because her project is locating where the city’s decades old comprehensive plan says it should be built The need for a balance between housing and jobs, as well as housing diversity and affordability A city that is struggling with the cost of services and the need to grow and diversify it’s economy The importance of primary sector jobs, as well as sales tax generating commercial/retail business Why do we see all that? We’re experts at understanding the importance of economic development and the complexity of land use. That’s why we’re able to help the public and private sectors solve their challenges and capitalize on their opportunities. Learn more  Continue reading

How We Helped This Business (and Could Help Yours)

We recently helped a small business, The Grayson, resolve a zoning compliance matter that threatened to shut them down because their c0-housing solution to long term rentals for corporate relocation clients was defined as a “hotel” despite the fact it’s a far cry from a hotel. Since it would be incredibly difficult to walk through the intricate challenges of their situation in a single blog post, we will try to simplify it. The Grayson was an AirBNB style co-housing rental that the owners live in.  Unfortunately, such uses (businesses) aren’t defined in the County’s code.  When a use is not defined, it’s not allowed except that the County can interpret what use it most closely resembles. In this case, their undefined use was found to be most closely like that of a “hotels” and hotels are not allowed in the zone where our client is located. To solve the problem, we tenaciously pursued a code interpretation that argued our client was operating a boarding house.  And upon securing that code interpretation we helped bring the client into compliance with those regulations, saving the business. Our client was willing to let us share her thoughts on our work. . . “Toyer’s… Continue reading