Land Use and Entitlement


Schwabe is one of the leading land use law firms in the Northwest, committed to helping clients navigate the increasing web of land use regulations and maximize the value and utility of their investments.

Developing creative solutions

Our land use team is known for working cooperatively with local governments and state and federal agencies to find innovative solutions to all types of land use permitting problems. On those occasions when speaking softly proves insufficient, we have the experience and skills to wield the "big stick" of litigation with precision and effectiveness.

Comprehensive land use solutions

We provide complete legal assistance to landowners and developers for all types of land use issues throughout the Pacific Northwest, including:

  • Land use due diligence and other predevelopment questions
  • Destination resort development
  • Subdivisions, partitions, property line adjustments and legal lot issues
  • Site plan review, development review and design review
  • Development agreements
  • Shoreline permits
  • Conditional uses, variances and nonconforming uses
  • Rezones and comprehensive plan amendments
  • Annexations and urban growth boundary extensions
  • Traffic, transportation and access management issues, including application of the Oregon Highway Plan, local transportation system plans, and LCDC's Transportation Planning Rule
  • ODOT approach road permits
  • Right-of-way vacations
  • Wetlands, habitat and other Goal 5 resources, as well as Metro Title 3 and ESA issues
  • DSL removal-fill permits/CWA section 404 permits
  • Farm and forest land development, and other rural land issues
  • Matters before the Land Use Board of Appeals and the Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Contested case hearings under the APA
  • Exactions, dedications and other conditions of approval that violate constitutional nexus and proportionality requirements
  • System development charges and credits
  • 120-day mandamus actions and other trial work, including declaratory judgments, injunctions and damages/compensation for constitutional violations
  • Growth Management Act
  • State Environmental Policy Act


  • Negotiated a development agreement and rezone to allow phased development of a large master-planned resort community on the Washington coast.
  • Obtained multiple rezones to allow for additional height and density to support the viability of a large, multi-phase mixed-use project in north Seattle.
  • Defended a SEPA appeal brought against a subdivision in Pierce County, which allowed the project to proceed on time and as proposed.
  • Aided an industrial landowner in negotiation of substantial reduction in system development ‎charges for sanitary sewer.
  • Secured approvals for retail, office and multifamily projects that pioneered the ‎development of downtown Bellevue. 
  • Represented large landowners in a comprehensive plan amendment, rezone and ‎development agreement for large-scale projects in King and Pierce Counties.
  • Advised large downtown landowners and lead project teams through the ‎entitlement process for a full block of downtown Seattle developments.
  • Successfully represented the developer in final master plan, golf course, golf clubhouse, overnight ‎lodging, townhome, residential and commercial subdivision approvals for Tetherow Destination ‎Resort. This included drafting and negotiating Infrastructure improvement agreements and ‎bonding with the City of Bend and Deschutes County.‎
  • Obtained comprehensive plan and zone change approvals for a former diatomaceous earth mine, ‎from surface mine and EFU to rural residential (RR-10).‎
  • Obtained a text amendment and land use approval for the Points West townhome community ‎between Seventh Mountain Resort and Widgi Creek on the way to Mt. Bachelor.‎
  • Successfully represented property owners in obtaining lot of record verifications and land division, ‎dwelling and other development permits in forest and EFU zones in Deschutes, Crook and ‎Jefferson counties.‎
  • Obtained conditional use approval for Cascade Health Services, the administrative services ‎affiliate of St. Charles Medical Center.‎

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