Additional Factors in Project Feasibility

Companies, especially those in real estate development, have developed comprehensive due diligence/feasibility processes to determine if a project is a go or no-go.

But even the best due diligence/feasibility processes we’ve seen lack an understanding of the ‘political’ elements impacting a project, which often results in one of two scenarios:

1. The company passes on a project in response to a perceived regulatory roadblock, which if investigated further might be easily navigated, or

2. The company proceeds with a project only to run into an ‘unexpected’ political change that threatens the entitlements they seek (e.g. moratoriums, more stringent regulations, emergency ordinances, etc.).

We’ve got solutions and here’s how we help:

  • Political & Regulatory Risk Assessments – We specialize in understanding local and state regulatory systems and we excel at researching local regulatory trends, past project results, changing political winds (example: is the no-growth neighborhood group running candidates to flip the local council/board?).  We can help your company assess the political and regulatory risks prior to your investment.
  • Reverse Engineering of Regulatory Roadblocks – Have you ever passed on a project because you ran into a single regulatory limitation that didn’t fit the project (e.g. allowed % of lot coverage was too low for your home designs)? We help companies assess regulatory roadblocks and design strategies that can change the red flag your seeing into a green light.
  • Maximizing the Project’s Value – What if you could get a little more density?  Shorten your approval by a few weeks?  Or reduce some of your project’s conditions?  We can help with that.  We understand the politics of negotiation, as well as the opportunities to speed up local regulatory processes, and we can assist you in maximizing your next project’s value.
  • Proactive Project Mine-Clearing – Developing relationships, seeking code interpretations, securing code amendments – are all efforts we can manage on your behalf prior to your next project moving forward.
  • Community Outreach – There’s nothing worse than thinking everything is going great only to go to hearing and have dozens of neighbors show up in opposition.  We are experienced at communicating with neighborhoods and adjacent landowners, and we can help your company manage long-term project risk by utilizing the opportunity to address concerns early in the process.

Want to learn more about how we can help your projects?  Contact us.

Is Red Tape Holding You Back?

The economy goes up, the economy goes down. Businesses do well, businesses do too well.  And the only thing that is guaranteed?   More regulation.

For decades business only had three solutions:

  1. Be big enough and wealthy enough to hire your own lobbyist;
  2. Join an association, federation or chamber of commerce that represents your industry in general; or
  3. Wait until things get so bad you need to hire a lawyer (or team of lawyers) to figure it out.

But now there’s a different way you can protect your business interests.

Toyer Strategic Consulting has nearly two decades of experience helping businesses, organizations and communities comprehend, combat and comply with new or pending regulations.  We can make a difference for your business without breaking your bank account.

Contact us today for a confidential consultation on how we can assist your business.

Rhodora Annexation Approved

Lake Stevens, WA.  On Tuesday night the City Council unanimously approved Ordinance 1041 to annex approximately 100 acres into the city – an action our firm initiated and supported on behalf of landowners in the annexation area.

One of the direct mailers.

One of the door hangers used.

About Our Role
Our firm was retained by our client in September of 2017 to complete an analysis recommending if an annexation could be successful and by what method.  After studying parcel data (acreage, valuation) and voter registration data in the area, we concluded that the best approach was the Direct Petition Method.  Further, we used our research to identify an annexation area meeting the location and boundary criteria in state law.

We were subsequently retained to secure signatures for the required 10% and 60% petitions (based on % of valuation in the annexation area).  To complete this task, we developed a communications strategy to provide answers to the most common questions about annexation.  We utilized a combination of direct mail, door hangers and door belling (see examples to the left).

We successfully gathered the 10% and 60% petitions, negotiated applicable zoning and indebtedness, completed the required State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist, and prepared exhibits and narratives to be included in the official “Notice of Intent” to annex filed with the Washington State Boundary Review Board for Snohomish County (BRB).

The annexation was challenged by a group of residents.  However, the annexation was unanimously approved by the BRB and an appeal of the BRB’s decision was dismissed by Snohomish County Superior Court.

For more information on the annexation, see visit our project page.

Got a project you think we can help with?  Contact us!

Pacific Passes Economic Development Friendly Amendments

Last night, the City Council in Pacific, Washington unanimously approved a package of code amendments that will encourage future economic development projects in their city.

Toyer Strategic Consulting proposed the package of code amendments, which addressed changes to the Office Park, Industrial and Commercial zoning districts.  Examples of the code amendments include:

  • Allowing additional uses in the Office Park zoning district
  • Permitting additional building height in the Office Park zoning district commensurate with additional building setbacks
  • Modifying the size of parking stalls and reducing off-street parking requirements.

In development the code amendments, Toyer Strategic worked with industrial developers, architects, engineers and city staff to identify areas of the code where changes would encourage future development opportunities.  Additionally, Toyer Strategic researched and evaluated similar code requirements in 19 other communities with like zoning districts and/or populations in order to ensure the changes make the City more competitive than peers at attracting projects.

The amendments were initiated in November 2017 and, based on last night’s action, they will become effective on April 3, 2018.

Are Local Regulations a Threat to Your Business?

The majority of businesses today realize how critical it is to pay attention to legislative policy.  They join industry/trade associations, local chambers of commerce and other membership groups that staff government relations programs with professional lobbyist who are looking out for their memberships when it comes to key business concerns.  But in most cases, all of their attention expended is at the state and federal levels.

Having started my career as a lobbyist for the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties – the largest local home builders association in the country at the time –  I saw first hand how city and county ordinances could have significant impacts on many small businesses.  Decisions were made frequently on everything from sign regulations to parking restrictions and from zoning changes to ‘bulk use standards’ like lot widths and build heights.  But often its these little tweaks and changes that frequently have big, direct impact on small business.  And what’s worse is these changes are often considered and passed with little to no public comment.  Why?  Because most individuals and businesses don’t understand the processes, the changes or the likely impacts.

An example of this kind of local action is a current ordinance awaiting a public hearing before the Snohomish County Council (Washington State) on March 8, 2017:

Ordinance 16-013, relating to growth management, revising regulations for commercial and industrial development; amending Chapters 30.22, 30.26, 30.28, 30.31A, and 30.91B-30.91W of the Snohomish County Code.

For the average business owner or individual the title of the ordinance is rather innocuous.  But if you click on the link you’ll see that it’s an 83 page omnibus package that proposes changes to everything from the uses allowed in certain zones to the definitions of the permitted uses to the required amount of parking each use must have.

Who’s monitoring these issues and looking out for your interest?

We’re pretty sure the answer is . . . no one.

In that case, you’re in luck.  Our company provides local government relations for small business.  We monitor the agendas of planning commissions, city councils, county councils and other local regulatory bodies in areas where our clients have business interests (current or future) and ensure that when changes are proposed that impact your bottom line you’ve got representation.

Contact us today to talk about our government relations service retainer.