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Ian S. Morrison


Land Use Law

Primary Focus & Experience

Ian’s practice focuses on land use entitlements with an emphasis on working in Puget Sound jurisdictions. Ian works with developers and owners to create and execute strategies that provide predictable, cost-effective pathways to permits. Prior to joining McCullough Hill PLLC, he worked for Governor Gregoire as a liaison to local government, civic and businesses throughout the Puget Sound. Ian uses his policy background to help clients navigate political issues arising in the land use process.

Recent Significant Engagements

Puget Sound development. Obtained entitlements for mixed-use residential, office, hotel, retail, religious, and educational developments in Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond.

Land use legislation, development agreements, and rezoning approvals.

  • Secured numerous Comprehensive Plan amendments and site-specific rezones throughout the Puget Sound, including in Seattle, Bellevue, and Lynnwood.
  • Negotiated development agreement and master plan approval for 1350 residential units and over 850,000 sf. of office and retail use adjacent to future Sound Transit station in Lynnwood to be phased over a 25-year term.
  • Obtained Bothell code amendment to allow biomedical research user to vest projects against new development regulations, saving millions in potential costs.
  • Obtained Seattle code amendment to allow landowners to qualify property as a “sending” site for purposes of selling landmark transfer of development rights.
  • Secured Medina code amendment to allow a private school to build a new gym.

Landmark and historic districts approvals.

  • Secured approvals for an office development in Pioneer Square, including demolition of a building from the District's period of significance and design approval. Defended permits on appeal; matter settled on favorable terms.
  • Navigated Seattle’s Landmark Preservation Board process, including obtaining approvals for adaptive reuse of landmarks, achieved denials of nominations submitted by third-party nominees, and securing transfer of development rights.
  • Assisted owners secure Pioneer Square Preservation Board approval for adaptive reuse of numerous historic structures for office, retail, and hotel uses.
  • Obtained permits for 300+ unit International District mixed-use project, including historic district approval for demolition of existing buildings and design approval. 

    Recognition & Community Involvement

    • Ranked by Chambers USA, in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (Washington), 2020 - present
    • Recognized by Washington Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Land Use & Zoning, 2019-present
    • Named one of the “Best Lawyers in America” in Land Use and Zoning by Best Lawyers since 2021
    • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association, Board member, 2021 – present
    • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association, Volunteer of the Year, 2019
    • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association, Governmental Affairs Committee Co-Chair, 2018-2021
    • City of Tacoma Planning Commissioner, 2010-2012

    Speaking Engagements

    • “State, Local, and Judicial Responses to the COVID Pandemic,” Washington State Bar - Environmental and Land Use Law Section 2021 Midyear Conference, May 7, 2021. 
    • “Legislative Update from Olympia, Seattle and Bellevue,” ULI-Northwest, Multifamily Product Council, December 19, 2019.
    • “Land Use, Permits and Politics,” Washington State Bar – Environmental and Land Use Law Section 2019 Midyear Conference, May 2, 2019.
    • “City of Seattle Policy & Regulation Update,” ULI-Northwest, Multifamily Product Council, September 11, 2018.


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