Land Use

When it comes to urban land use and zoning, policies become increasingly complex.  Robust growth has spurred the proliferation of county and municipal land use regulations.  Traditional zoning has evolved into conditional uses, planned unit developments, neighborhood conservation districts, historic districts, downtown redevelopment districts, and more, while subdivision regulations are books unto themselves. Selecting a land use attorney in Tacoma from Morton McGoldrick to assist you in finding your way through this maze of rules is the first step in a successful result.

Receive Comprehensive Land Use Attorney Service

We will not only assist you with proposals and applications, we will guide you through negotiations and hearings with local government officials and administrative boards who oversee land use, subdivision, and zoning matters. We understand the nature of the government process, and we know how to use our relationships to make that process work successfully and efficiently for our clients. The following are examples of some of the land use services we provide:

  • Zoning & Permitting
  • Applications & Proposals

  • Shoreline Management Act

Zoning and Permitting

Correct zoning and permitting from the beginning can save you time and money in the long run. Our diverse firm includes land use and real estate attorneys. This provides us with the necessary experience to identify zoning needs and acquire the correct permits. We represent private citizens, businesses, and municipalities.

We can assist with identification of properties that meet specified requirements for your building plans, and dealing with easements that may be needed or affect the property. We can also advise you regarding the government’s ability to claim eminent domain and whether or not you are being fairly compensated.

Applications & Proposals

Depending on the procedure type, the steps to process a land use application or proposal can vary widely. Permits vary depending on the extent of the work being performed and the impact it will have on the community.

You always want the best outcome. With the help of our land use attorneys, Tacoma and Pierce County land use projects won’t be hindered by incorrectly filled applications or proposals that fail to address core issues. The approval of an application may be decided upon by a planning commission, a hearing examiner, or the city or county council. These bodies frequently have unique concerns, and proper preparation can help to pre-emptively mitigate any dissent.


The national and state environmental policy act both require an analysis of the impact a proposed project will have on the environment. With our firm’s land use attorneys, you can properly prepare. The review process allows agencies to deny or condition land use projects if they deem adverse impacts to the environment will be significant.

In the event of a conflict, our land use attorneys can represent and negotiate on your behalf. A balance is sometimes necessary for a project to move forward. Economic development and environmental protection are both important. We’ll help you to resolve conflicts so you can meet your needs and those of the local and national governing bodies.

Shoreline Management Act

The Shoreline Management Act was enacted in 1971, and its purpose is to manage and protect the shorelines of the state by regulating development in the shoreline area. A major goal of the Act is to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines. It covers the Pacific Ocean shoreline and the shorelines of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, rivers, and streams and lakes above a certain size. It also regulates “wetlands” associated with these shorelines. Although it is a Washington State law, the primary responsibility for administering this regulatory program is assigned to local governments. Local governments have done so through the mechanism of shoreline master programs that establish goals and policies that are implemented through use regulations. No substantial development is permitted on the state’s shoreline unless a permit is obtained from the local jurisdiction. At Morton McGoldrick, our land use attorneys have the expertise and experience to work with local government representatives and handle administrative hearings and appeals related to regulatory compliance under this Act. Local connections with local jurisdictions can be very helpful if you or your business is in need of addressing shoreline or wetlands issues. Let a land use attorney with Morton McGoldrick help you.

Contact Us for a Land Use Attorney Today

Our team of lawyers are practiced in the areas that benefit you most. Whether your project is industrial, commercial, or residential, an experienced land use attorney in our Tacoma firm can help your project move forward. Call (253) 655-2275 or contact us today.