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.

What’s a Docket & Why Should You Care?

The annual comprehensive plan amendment cycle (a/k/a the “DOCKET”) in Washington’s cities and counties is the primary opportunity for real estate investors, developers and small businesses to better their return on investment by changing the applicable future land use designation and/or zoning on their property.

RELY ON OUR EXPERTISE.

Toyer Strategic can evaluate the options, as well as prepare, submit and manage a Docket proposal through every step of the process.

AND DON’T LET TIME RUN OUT.

Missing an application deadline can cost you at least a year of time. For example. . .

  • Renton accepts applications between August 1 and October 15th
  • Snohomish County accepts applications until the last business day in October
  • Lacey accepts applications through the first business day in January

Contact us to discuss your project

The Day We Saved the Wine

[sg_popup id=”2322″ event=”onLoad”][/sg_popup]willis-hallSmall businesses often run into big problems.  And they don’t have the resources to hire lawyers and fight for fairness. Instead, they need an advocate that can help them navigate a reasonable, cost effective solution.

The following case study is a great example of how we help small business:

The Day We Saved the Wine

John Bell parlayed his passion for wine into Willis Hall Winery in 2003.  By 2006, Seattle Magazine awarded him “Best New Winemaker in Washington.”

However, in late 2007 Snohomish County initiated a code enforcement action against Willis Hall Winery threatening to shut down the operation for failure to comply with the county’s home occupation code.  Mr. Bell hired a land use attorney to appeal the enforcement action, but such an appeal had some risks and was a slow process.  With millions of dollars invested, John couldn’t afford to shut down his winery or move aging barrels of wine to a new location.

Willis Hall retained our company in early 2008 to assist his land use counsel in the appeal of the County’s order, as well as explore non-legal remedies.

Seeking to avoid litigating the matter, our company proposed several alternative technical solutions – offering research that his business may be a grandfathered use, applying for a code interpretation that the winery was an incidental use to the residence, and seeking an administrative zoning variance under a set of binding conditions.  All of these solutions were rejected by county staff.

With the appeal hearing looming, we put on our lobbyist cap and approached the County Council. Recognizing the politics of shutting a business down, the Council Chairman was willing to consider adding an amendment to a zoning ordinance pending before the Council, providing a legal basis for the Willis Hall to exist.

Our company drafted the language for the amendment and worked with the prosecuting attorney’s office and planning department to ensure it wouldn’t run afoul of any growth management laws.

A short time later the County Council approved the amendment and Willis Hall was saved.

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.

Client Win: Marysville WA Approves Code Changes

A Win for Our Clients!

Last night the City of Marysville, WA unanimously adopted (7-0 vote) Ordinance 3057, increasing the maximum impervious surface to 65% and allowing building heights up to 35 feet on lots with a 10% or greater slope.  Request a copy of the ordinance.

How did this change happen?  

Toyer Strategic Consulting was retained by a Marysville landowner/developer that was hamstrung by the City’s impervious surface requirements.  The client requested we find a way to solve their problem.  After a brief assessment, our solution was to propose a code change and request the change also allow vested projects to use the minor modification process to gain approval to utilize the new and improved standards.

Our efforts opened the door for the Master Builders Association to propose several additional code amendments favorable to our client and other builders/developers.

How long did it take to get the change? 

58 business days.  The process was initiated on February 15th and required two planning commission work sessions and public hearing, as well as both a city council work session and regular business meeting.

This was a significant victory for our client and the industry due to the impact of the changes and the speed at which we were able move everything forward.

Need a solution for your project?  Contact Us!