Image of Ian S. Morrison

Ian S. Morrison


Land Use Law

Primary Focus & Experience

Ian’s practice focuses on land use entitlements for multifamily residential, office and commercial projects, with an emphasis on working in complex Puget Sound jurisdictions. Ian works with developers, property owners and investors to identify and execute strategies that provide predictable, cost-effective pathways to obtain entitlements. Currently, Ian chairs the NAIOP Washington Commercial Real Estate Association Government Affairs Committee. Prior to joining McCullough Hill Leary, he served in Governor Gregoire's administration as a liaison to local government, civic and business interests throughout the South Puget Sound and as a lobbyist for cities.  Ian uses his legislative and policy background to help clients navigate political issues arising in the land use process.

Recent Significant Engagements

Puget Sound urban development. Obtained entitlements for numerous mixed-use residential, office, retail and institutional developments in Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond. 

Landmarks and historic districts.  

  • Obtained entitlements for 165,000 sf. mixed-use development in Pioneer Square, including historic district approval for demolition of existing structure and design approval for a 115’ tall, office building that integrated an adjacent historic, contributing structure. Defended entitlements on appeal; matter settled on favorable terms.  
  • Navigated the Landmark Preservation Board process, including obtaining Certificates of Approval for adaptive reuse of landmark buildings, denials of landmark designation applications submitted by third-party nominees and securing transfer of development rights (TDR).
  • Obtained entitlements for 321-unit residential project in the International District, including historic district approval for demolition of existing buildings and design approval.   

Code amendments, rezones and Comprehensive Plan amendments.

  • Secured multiple Comprehensive Plan amendments and site-specific rezones to increase density and height throughout the Puget Sound, including Seattle, Bellevue and Lynnwood.
  • Obtained City of Seattle code amendment to allow University District landowner to qualify as a “sending” site for purposes of selling TDR for a potential landmark building.
  • Secured City of Medina code amendment to allow private school to develop a gym and theatre.
  • Assisted owners advocate for additional density and viable development standards in areawide rezones, including the Downtown Bellevue and Seattle citywide upzones.

Recognition & Community Involvement

  • Washington Law & Politics, 2019 Rising Star
  • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association, 2019 Volunteer of the Year
  • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association, Governmental Affairs Committee Chair, 2018-present
  • Urban Land Institute, Young Leaders Group Board member, 2014-2018 
  • City of Tacoma Planning Commissioner, 2010-2012  

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Land Use, Permits and Politics,” Washington State Bar – Environmental and Land Use Law Section 2019 Midyear Conference, May 2, 2019.
  • Moderator, “Seattle Housing Affordability and Livability: The Path(s) Forward” with Seattle Councilmember Rob Johnson, Gabe Grant and Jill Fleming, NAIOP Washington and Urban Land Institute co-hosted discussion, September 6, 2016.


  • University of Washington, Certificate in Commercial Real Estate, 2014
  • University of Washington School of Law, J.D., concentration in environmental law, 2012
    • American Planning Association, Daniel J. Curtain Planning & Law Fellowship
  • Washington State University, B.A., Political Science, magna cum laude, 2006
  • Washington State University, B.A., History, magna cum laude, 2006