Planning & Urban Design Services
Interwest was founded in 2002 to provide staff to public agencies throughout the West. We currently have staff working in more than 200 agencies across a wide variety of disciplines, from Public Works to Building and Safety. The addition of our Planning and Urban Design group expands these services into the Planning Department. As with our traditional services, Interwest’s Planning staff is available in a variety of formats to meet the needs of our clients. We can provide a full range of staffing options, from individual planners brought in to work on a specific project to long-term staff working alongside Agency staff to an entire planning department. Our staff can work from your location or remotely, on the schedule or level of coverage you select, and always based on a budget you approve. We oﬀer full-time and part-time staﬀ, as well as on-site and oﬀ-site staﬀ support. Our staﬀ members have years of experience in the public sector and integrate smoothly into the established practices of our client agencies.
LONG-RANGE PLANNING AND URBAN DESIGN
Our Planning and Urban Design group offers all of the Planning services needed by our public agency clients, from General Plans to special projects. Informed by our experience working in public agencies, we produce effective, implementable plans that achieve real results. Our basic services are summarized below:
A General Plan serves as a community's oﬃcial guide for land use, growth, physical improvement, and development. It provides a foundation for decision-making and sets forth a framework for achieving community goals and objectives. To be eﬀective, a General Plan should be based on community consensus, community vision, and an understanding of existing conditions and future growth needs. Interwest specializes in plans that are visionary, yet viable, creative but also grounded in market and economic realities. We guide our client cities to create General Plans that achieve the community's vision through well-conceived policies and implementation programs.
Interwest provides comprehensive zoning code services to our public-sector clients. As communities examine the effectiveness of their regulations to appropriately guide new development and preserve their local character, we can assist with amendments and the drafting of new zoning codes as part of a partial or complete update. We have experience drafting traditional/Euclidian codes, form-based codes, and hybrid codes. As in all our services, our planners have worked behind the public counter and understand the importance of clear and unambiguous regulations – such clarity helps agency staff fulfill their obligations and reduces frustration among members of the community.
A Speciﬁc Plan can be an eﬀective policy document to deﬁne the nature of a district or corridor and establish regulations uniquely tailored to creating a unique and authentic place. A successful Speciﬁc Plan relies on an understanding of existing conditions, community aspirations, and potential for new land uses and activities to occur. Our approach includes developing accurate baseline information of existing land use and environmental conditions and eﬀective public outreach to deﬁne community aspirations.
TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT PLANS
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is characterized by compact, mixed-use development within walking distance of public transportation. TOD can be a key element of a livable and sustainable community by oﬀering housing, employment, restaurants, and entertainment in a close vicinity of a transit station. We create TOD master plans and speciﬁc plans that provide a balance of uses, activities, and amenities around a station to create a community-oriented place.
Since the beginning of America, downtowns have been the "heart" of a community. Downtown is where people gathered, shopped, and lived. Government was located in downtown, and carefully planned public spaces created places for interaction, celebration, and recreation. To this day, well-run cities still view a viable downtown as a critically important part of a successful community. Downtowns have faced challenges over time, from urban decline to "big box" stores to changes in shopping resulting from the rise of online shopping. Our Planning and Urban Design Group is equipped to help our clients meet all of these challenges.
Downtowns, whether historic or contemporary, large or small, should provide a vibrant mix of uses within the framework of an attractive pedestrian-oriented environment. A Downtown Plan can identify areas for inﬁll and streetscape improvements and can plan for public spaces that establish and strengthen a downtown's "sense of place." A successful Downtown Plan can also help identify how to transform yesterday's downtown into a vibrant place that remains relevant in today's and tomorrow's economic reality.