The owner of the retail center with whom I worked in locating two winery tasting rooms asked me to help organize and represent the interests of a number of property owners in Woodinville’s Tourist Business District (TBD). The TBD was established to protect and enhance the original agricultural activity and the tourist-oriented activities that had grown around it. The City’s Comprehensive Plan and strict zoning codes were being put at risk by new, more liberal zoning revisions proposed by the developer of the largest and last remaining parcel of open land, slated to be a mixed-use “Woodinville Village” project.
CoEfficient Consulting brought the property owners together for an organizational meeting and garnered support for multi-faceted government and community relations campaign, including:
- Communication with all property owners in the TBD, providing updates on developments and encouraging full participation
- Informing business owners. Contacting and informing businesses directly about the issue helped extend the base of support for the issue and garner attention of the City.
- Informing the community. The local Grange agreed to host a Town Hall Forum on the proposed changes which generated Standing Room Only attendance and helped galvanize grass roots support.
- Working with neighborhood homeowner associations to coordinate and effectively communicate their concerns about the zoning revisions to the developers and to City officials. A letter was circulated, petition-style, to garner hundreds of signatures.
- Filing a written response to the City Planning Commission on the proposed zoning revisions. The document was drafted by a committee of Property Owners and approved by the full group.
- Organizing testimony at the Planning Commission meeting. Because of limited speaking time, testimony was coordinated among several speakers to cover all critical points.
- Meeting City Council Candidates. Because the decision is ultimately in the hands of the City Council, the Fall 2009 elections provided an opportunity to help attain a majority of members supportive of the property owners position. Individual meetings were held with the candidates to educate them on the issue and learn their position.
- Candidates Town Hall. The Grange held a community event for candidates to take questions from the public a few weeks before the election.