selected Projects

COMPREHENSIVE Plan Updates

  1. City of Bainbridge Island Comprehensive Plan Update

Joe assisted the City of Bainbridge Island with “Navigate Bainbridge,” the periodic update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2017.    The new plan exceeds the GMA’s requirements by incorporating guiding principles for Sustainability and Climate Change and provides strategic direction not only to the city’s capital budget, but also its operating budget.   The updated plan also includes detailed “implementing actions” to carry forward specific policy priorities identified in each of the Plan’s ten Elements.

  

 

2.  City of Mercer Island Town Center Vision Update

The evolution of Mercer Island’s Town Center into a mid-rise, mixed use district has implemented comprehensive plan policies and codes adopted in the 1990’s.   The City Council wished to update the Vision to prepare for the coming twenty years, including anticipated impacts of the light rail station due to open in 2023.  The City retained Joe to assist a city council committee in framing the key issues, design and conduct a community conversation about Town Center, and facilitate a policy discussion for the full council at a retreat.

  

3.  Town of La Conner Shoreline Master Program Update

Working as part of a team with the Town’s administrator and habitat experts from GeoEngineers, Joe re-drafted the Town’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) to reflect new environmental information, guidance from the DOE Shoreline Guidelines, and the community’s character and land use priorities.  The updated SMP articulates a Vision for the Town’s shoreline that balances state mandates to protect the shoreline and maximize public access while recognizing the unique circumstances of the Swinomish Channel and La Conner’s Historic District.

  

development code updates

4.  City of Edmonds Westgate District Code Revisions

The City retained Joe to identify ways to revise the Edmonds Form-Based Code for the Westgate District in order to adapt to planned improvements to the State Route 104 transportation corridor.   The City adopted new Code improvements, incorporating Joe’s recommendations for building design and site access standards, right of way improvements and traffic controls to enhance pedestrian, bicycle and auto movement safety, and ways to enhance a sense of place with way-finding signs.

5.  City of Lacey Street Graphics Sign Code

Working on a team with Makers, Inc., Joe helped craft a new sign code for the City of Lacey.   The updated Code combines principles of form-based code and street graphics to improve visibility for area businesses while respecting site and building context and protecting the quality of the visual environment.

  1. City of Fife Land Use Code Update Project

A common problem facing local governments are development codes that have become redundant, cumbersome, and difficult to administer.  Joe was retained by the City of Fife to update, clarify and streamline its development code processes.  After extensive review of the Code and conversations with the City staff, Joe identified over fifty issues and explained why they were problematic as written.   He presented this information in a matrix format that cited section, rationale for needed change, and recommended strikethrough and underlining edits to code text to make process improvements.  

PLANNING BEST PRACTICES

  1. City of Bainbridge Island Design Review Board Retreat Facilitation

After a year of applying the standards of the City’s new Design Review Manual, it was timely for the City to reflect on what was working well, what needed clarifying, and what might work better.   The City retained Joe to facilitate the Design Review Board’s annual retreat to help them answer these questions and establish work program priorities for the coming year.   He provided a review of the legal authority and process requirements and gave practical tips on how to assure legal sufficiency of the review process and yield better outcomes for both permit applicants and the community.  

  1. City of Spokane Planning Commission Training

Joe was retained by the City to provide a full day of training for its new and continuing Planning Commission members.  He presented and led a discussion with commissioners and council liaison in three modules: (1) the cultural and legal framework for city planning practice; (2) emerging social, economic, and technological trends and recent planning innovations to address them; and (3) best practices to optimize teamwork and the effectiveness of the planning commission, city staff, and city council in playing their respective roles.  

  1. Snohomish County Professional Ethics for Practicing Planners

The controversial nature of land use planning sometimes subjects planning practitioners to a variety of political pressures and  ethical dilemmas.  The Snohomish County planning department retained Joe to teach a session on professional planning ethics to enable its senior managers to model and foster ethical conduct. After a brief review of different professional codes of ethics, Joe reviewed the major precepts of the American Planning Association Code of Ethics, and led the group in applying the principles to several hypothetical workplace scenarios. 

 

 

GMA COMPLIANCE STRATEGIES

  1. City of Sammamish compliance with GMA remand of Housing Element

Joe partnered with a team from a consulting firm and staff from A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) to assist Sammamish in complying with a remand order from the Growth Management Hearings Board.   Joe analyzed the Board’s Order, the relevant provisions of the City’s adopted Housing Element, pertinent provisions of the GMA and Washington Administrative Code, and recommended alternative strategies for the City to achieve compliance.

  1. Kitsap County compliance with GMA remand of Capital Facilities Element

The Board of County Commissioners retained Joe to help craft a response to a remand from the Court of Appeals and the Growth Management Hearings Board regarding the county’s rural and capital facilities policies.   Joe analyzed the relevant orders, the environmental impact statement, the pertinent provisions of the GMA.  He prepared a report which answered specific questions the client had asked, and outlined strategies for the County to achieve compliance.