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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, property owners, and investors to develop and execute strategies that provide predictable, cost-effective pathways to secure permits. 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 in Olympia. 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 permits 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 structure. 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.
  • Secured approvals for 175,000 sf. office development in Pioneer Square, including demolition of an existing 1919 structure and design approval of the new development. Defended permits on appeal; matter settled on favorable terms.
  • Assisted owners obtain Pioneer Square Preservation Board approval for numerous adaptive reuse of historic structures for office, retail, and hotel uses.
  • Obtained permits for 321-unit International District mixed-use project, including historic district approval for demolition of existing buildings and design approval.

Recognition & Community Involvement

  • Chambers USA, Listed as “Up and Coming” in Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (Washington), 2020
  • Washington Super Lawyers, Listed as a Rising Star, 2019-2020
  • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association, Volunteer of the Year, 2019
  • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Association, Governmental Affairs Committee Co-Chair, 2018-present
  • Urban Land Institute, Young Leaders Group Board member, 2014-2018
  • City of Tacoma Planning Commissioner, 2010-2012

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Legislative Update from Olympia, Seattle and Bellevue,” ULI-Northwest, Multifamily Product Council, December 19, 2019.
  • Speaker, “Land Use, Permits and Politics,” Washington State Bar – Environmental and Land Use Law Section 2019 Midyear Conference, May 2, 2019.
  • Speaker, “City of Seattle Policy & Regulation Update,” ULI-Northwest, Multifamily Product Council, September 11, 2018.
  • Moderator, “Seattle Housing Affordability and Livability: The Path(s) Forward” with Seattle Councilmember Rob Johnson, Gabe Grant from Spectrum Development and Jill Fleming from Capitol Hill Housing, 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