Recently, Toyer Strategic assisted Westport Capital Investments with the re-designation and rezoning of approximately 37.1 acres in Auburn, WA from a combination of R-7 and R-20 zones to the R-16 zone. This change netted our client an additional 105 units.
- Comprehensive Plan Amendment
- Concurrent Rezone
Nationwide #housing availability and affordability is a major economic and social issue. In some locations, it’s a crisis.
Our company advises developers, but we also advise communities. And we’ve worked with a few #economicdevelopment organizations and cities in Iowa that recognize housing and population are keys to their future success.
We aren’t involved in this project but we’ve been following a zoning battle in Iowa City – a college town integral to fueling Iowa’s economy and retaining the state’s college graduates that often flee to bigger cities in the Midwest. This issue is an example of the complexities and personalization that impact #landuseplanning nationwide, worsening the housing dilemma.
It’s even more interesting in context as #iowa cities (even some near Iowa City) offer tax incentives to attract developers and/or buyers to grow their communities. Some communities in Iowa even have to develop plats to encourage housing like others develop speculative industrial buildings to attract jobs. We were quite surprised a few years ago by what we found when doing a study of Iowa for a client.
Iowa City Story (Press Citizen)
A massive #housing development in Washington DC, applied for in 2014, has cleared its final appeal. The project will create needed housing options in that metro area, but those who appealed the development argued (in part) it would displace too many existing residents.
Could this be a preview of the next frontier of growth management battles in the region around Seattle? Absolutely.
Adoption of VISION 2050 last fall by the Puget Sound Regional Council established multi-county planning policies for the area’s counties and cities, requiring new land use goals and policies be added to address displacement of existing residents.
Those local policies are now being drafted and will impact the required comprehensive plan updates in 2024, exacerbating the challenge for cities and counties across the region struggling with how to create more density and affordability, but also limit displacement and make little (if any) changes to the areas where urban growth is allowed. #landuse #landuseplanning
Land use projects can expect a greater range of future legal fights, which regionally will slow housing creation, constrain the existing inventory, and inflate housing prices.
Link to News Story
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.
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.