Municipal attorneys face legal issues involving practically every area of law. A contract can’t be drafted or approved for form without basic knowledge of corporation or community property law. A park may be dedicated to the city with a reversionary clause that implicates the rule against perpetuities (trusts and estates law).
Some legal issues can only be addressed by a municipal practitioner with substantial experience. For example, many attorneys are unaware of the non-user statute, and the manner in which it may affect title to property. Cities and towns are also unique in that they may own easements (rather than fee title) in their platted streets, allowing vacation in some situations. These issues frequently arise in the context of real estate acquisition, permit processing or public works projects.
We are hired as city attorneys, land use counsel or insurance defense counsel on a number of municipal issues, including, but not limited to:
- Adoption of moratoria for marijuana, zoning, shorelines and utilities, such as water and sewer.
- Adoption development agreements for annexations, rezones, comprehensive plan amendments and utility extensions.
- Advice on Growth Management Act issues, including appeals to the Growth Management Hearings Board.
- Advice on impact fees and concurrency, and to draft related ordinances.
- Code enforcement actions, from start to finish, including the collection of penalties.
- Defense of city officials relating to the adoption of ordinances or land use decision-making.
- Representation of city councils during administrative hearings and preparation of findings and conclusions.
- Representation of cities and individual city officials/staff in lawsuits involving constitutional damage claims.
- Public works contracting.
Since 1994, Carol Morris has been on the panel of attorneys hired by the Association of Washington Cities Risk Management Services Agency (AWC-RMSA) to represent the cities in the pool in land use and related litigation.
Other current and past clients are identified in our About Us page.