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.
Last night the Lacey City Council approved the master site plan and wetland development permits for Hawks Prairie Logistics Park, a 130-acre industrial development that will feature three buildings totaling 1.9 million square feet of industrial space. The main building on the site will house a new Home Depot distribution center.
Our firm played an instrumental role in the project’s approval, providing the project’s economic impact analysis and performing required land use analysis to address the policies and conditions that limit the granting of wetland development permits.
Additionally, we provided early project management services to support the project’s pre-application site plan review, the processing of the land use applications, and the facilitation of a meeting with the adjacent residential neighborhoods.
This week, Toyer Strategic successfully held a community meeting with property owners adjacent to a proposed logistics park in Lacey, Washington.
Toyer is one of the project consultants supporting the entitlement of the Hawks Prairie Logistics Park – a project that would create around 1.9 million square feet of warehousing and distribution space on 131 acres.
An economic impact analysis produced by our firm estimates that the project could result in nearly 900 direct, indirect and induced jobs at full-build out of all phases of the project.
Lacey, Washington has a population just over 49,000 and sits on the Interstate 5 (I-5) corridor south of Tacoma, Washington and immediately north of Olympia (the state capitol).
Whether you are a community, economic development organization, real estate developer or expanding business, our land use and economic development expertise can add significant value to your projects. Here’s an example of value we’re adding to a project by changing the land use and zoning.
On a 6-1 vote Wednesday night, the Auburn Planning Commission recommended the City Council approve a comprehensive plan map amendment and rezone for 1.89 acres that our firm has been pushing through the City’s annual docket cycle on behalf of a client. If approved by the City Council, the resulting zoning would increase the density of the site by as many as 29 additional housing units.
“This project is a perfect example of how our company can help land owners and developers add value to their properties and projects,” said David Toyer, founder of Toyer Strategic Consulting. “With land supply inside urban growth areas becoming more constrained, our experience changing zoning and permitted uses can add significant benefits clients looking to achieve a higher and better use.”
In another example earlier this year Toyer Strategic successfully amended the matrix of permitted uses in the City of Pacific, Washington to allow a client to move forward an industrial warehousing in an office park zone – a obvious win for the project developer, but also a key win for a city which hadn’t seen much new development in that zone.
Traveling around as much as I do, I hear it from Mayors, I see it in community vision and mission statements, and I read it in marketing brochures. . .
[insert city name here] – “A Great Place to Live, Work and Play/Shop/Stay”
It’s been the tagline, catch phrase, sound bite, etc. for years now. And candidates for governor and congress use it in speeches (even last night), chambers use it, downtown groups use it, economic developers use it, etc. And this is a big problem. So, if you’re marketing yourself as a great place to live, work and play, your community has no chance to stand out. NO CHANCE!
- What does this statement really tell me about your community? Nada. It doesn’t tell me who you are, what you have, or what’s unique. So looking at “Anywhere: An awesome place to live, work and play” and “Lake Town: Live a Lake Life” which one do you want to know more about? You’re community needs to be united around an identify that is unique and authentic to you.
- At best you’re running with the pack when using this as the fulcrum of your marketing. I can type “great place to live work and play” into Google and get 4.35 trillion hits. Sort through the first few pages and you’ll see community after community saying the exact same thing, along with a couple articles like this and some articles about live, work play (LWP) mixed use type projects.
- And the pack you’re running in is big. It’s the more than 35,000 places in the United States that have a permanent population and buildings (Source: USGS), especially the 19,500 cities, towns and incorporated places (statista.com).
So if you’re using (or thinking about using) “Great Place to Live, Work and Play” to describe your community, STOP! Because even declining rural communities can stake the same claim, because their declining population is less about them and more on the fact that there are better places out there to live, work and play. . . ones that have a better marketing message or that are willing to invest in the amenities and infrastructure that proves it.
Still think it doesn’t apply to every community? Then envision the supermarket. You may not want to buy a can of sardines, but there are cans of it on the shelf because that is what some wants to buy them.