Land Use & Zoning Law

Advising Developers and Owners Regarding Land Use, Zoning, and Permits in Pierce County

At the Brink Law Firm, we understand that you want to put your property to productive use. You may want to build a house on vacant land, build an accessory dwelling unit above your garage, or obtain approval to develop hundreds of new single-family dwelling homes. Whether these uses are allowed is a “land use” question.

If you own property, you will almost certainly have to deal with a land use or zoning dispute if you want to alter your use of it. This process can be costly, time-consuming, and can disrupt your life and your business. Whether your dispute is with a neighbor or a government agency, it is important to have the assistance and representation of a skilled attorney who understands land use and zoning laws in Washington to help you resolve your dispute in the most efficient way possible.

The Brink Law Firm has long been providing experienced advice to developers and property owners throughout the south sound area, including Pierce County, King County, Thurston County and Kitsap County. We understand the intricacies that each land use, zoning, or permit matter can involve and our goal is to facilitate the successful realization of each client’s property and development vision.

Handling Many Types of Land Use and Zoning Matters

Land use and zoning cases come in all shapes and sizes. Some homeowners may have a dispute over a property boundary with a neighbor who is trying to build a fence. Other clients may have multi-million dollar development projects halted—costing them money every second—because they are at a standstill with the applicable municipalities in Pierce, King, Thurston or Kitsap Counties. No matter what type or scope of dispute you may have, attorneys Terry and Clinton Brink are ready to help.

To best serve clients, the Brink Law Firm handles the following land use, zoning, and permit matters, among others:

  • Adverse Possession
  • Rezoning
  • Conditional use permits
  • Easements
  • Development agreements
  • Plats
  • Variances
  • Amnesty permits
  • Annexation and related agreements
  • Bulkhead permits
  • Compliance with all aspects of real property development under the Growth Management Act
  • Critical areas (e.g., wetlands, flood hazard areas, steep slopes, fish and wildlife habitat, geological hazards, shoreline management and other critical areas regulations)
  • Dock permits
  • Environmental remediation
  • Non-conforming use permits
  • Planned development districts
  • State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)
  • Shoreline substantial development permits
  • Water rights, transfers, and other issues

Each one of the above matters will have its own laws, agencies, and legal issues involved. Our firm is prepared to skillfully handle your case and stand up for your rights to use your land as you see fit.

Resolving Disputes in a Way that Works for You

Many people facing a legal dispute assume they will have to battle it out in court. However, the Brink Law Firm knows that litigation can be a drain on any property owner’s resources and that taking such legal action is not necessary to reach a resolution in every case. Instead, we look for creative ways to resolve your dispute in an efficient manner while still ensuring that you receive the results you deserve.

The following are only some ways that we may go about resolving land use and zoning disputes for our clients:

  • Negotiation – Often, when a party refuses to compromise in a dispute, the party may be motivated by emotion or stubbornness. In some cases, all it may take is a letter from your attorney to get the obstinate party to rethink its position. An attorney can also sit down and facilitate discussion and negotiation that allows the parties to come to a mutually agreeable conclusion themselves. This is especially common in cases involving neighbors (such as boundary disputes) or in joint ownership disputes. The presence of an attorney can help keep negotiations productive, reasonable, and on track.
  • Mediation – If negotiations are unsuccessful, there are other ways of resolving a dispute more formally without immediately turning to the courts. Mediation is often a successful alternative dispute resolution method. It involves both parties (and their attorneys) sitting down with a neutral mediator who will encourage cooperation and negotiation based on the facts of the case. It is important to have legal representation in mediation sessions because an attorney can identify when negotiated solutions are not in your favor and can help you stand up for your best interests.
  • Arbitration – Arbitration does not involve the formal court system but does involve presenting your side of the case to an arbitrator or an arbitration panel. The panel will listen to both sides and then decide how the matter should be settled. Arbitration decisions are legally binding, so it is critical to have the assistance of an experienced land use attorney who can skillfully present your arguments and work to obtain a decision in your favor.
  • Litigation – While negotiation, mediation, and arbitration are all generally faster and more cost-efficient ways of resolving land use disputes, filing a lawsuit is still necessary in some cases. For this reason, you want a law firm that is prepared to represent you in court when needed.

The Brink Law Firm always has our clients’ best interests in mind and will explore every option to resolve you dispute. We have extensive experience in all of the above dispute resolution methods.

Consult with a Pierce County Land Use and Zoning Lawyer Today

When you have a land use or zoning problem, it is not only important that the matter gets resolved, but that it gets resolved in a way that saves you the most time, money, and headache. At the Brink Law Firm, we know how important a swift yet favorable resolution can be in any land use dispute.

Attorney Terry Brink has a unique background in development and real estate and understands the many problems that property owners and developers can face. If you have any issue regarding permits, zoning, or land use in or around the Tacoma area, your first call should be to the team at the Brink Law Firm. Call the office at 253.620.6666 or contact us online to discuss the many ways that we can help you.

Our Successful Projects Include:


  • Bisceglia Dock, Pierce County
  • Brink/Harrison Dock, Pierce County
  • Cornew Dock, City of Olympia
  • Jorgenson Dock, Pierce County
  • Parker Dock, Pierce County
  • Paul Dock, Pierce County
  • Stolle Dock, Kitsap County
  • Unger Dock, Pierce County
  • Merkle Dock, Pierce County


  • Ashton Village-35 dwelling units (City of Bonney Lake)
  • Ashton Woods-132 dwelling units (City of Bonney Lake)
  • Brink Ranch-146 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Brookfield Farms-273 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Carr Meadows-19 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Crossroads-168 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Daybreak-529 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • East Grove Cottages-61 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Edgewood Heights Townhomes-452 dwelling (City of Edgewood)
  • Emberwood-9 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Emerald Hollow-18 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Fairway Village-81 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Falachi Court-29 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Fieldstone-30 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Highland Ridge-88 dwelling units (City of Bonney Lake)
  • Lexington Heights-71 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Limerick Park-120 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Lipoma Communities-1,697 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Lipoma Firs North-1,274 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Melrose Station-84 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Nighthawk-11 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Ptarmigan Ridge-67 dwelling units (City of Bonney Lake)
  • Rainbow Skies-15 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Rhoades County Estates-8 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Ridgewood Park-12 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Roseview-55 dwelling units (City of Federal Way)
  • Royal Firs-62 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Shadowood-24 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Silverwood-71 dwelling units (City of Federal Way)
  • South Hill Estates-27 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Timberhawk-27 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Topping-147 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Watchtower Heights-65 dwelling units (City of Tacoma)
  • Westwind-18 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Wohlford Addition-20 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Woodbriar-87 dwelling units (Pierce County)
  • Woodland Meadows-20 dwelling units (Pierce County)