Land use requires both legal expertise and political acumen. Combining law with strategic insight and strong government relations, we focus on obtaining entitlements, permits or approvals and guiding your projects to successful completion.
Developing property is about getting projects completed in time and on budget. This often involves navigating your way through a web of zoning restrictions and land use regulations. And it can mean dealing with everything from sustainability and environmental concerns to transportation issues or local opposition.
Completing ambitious projects successfully involves a mixture of legal skill, sound business judgment and political acumen.
We provide a uniquely integrated offer, combining legal expertise with strategy and strong government connections. Our team is behind some of the largest and most complex deals in the market—obtaining entitlements, permits or approvals, conducting environmental reviews and managing the compliance process. We’re best known for our work in coastal development, environmental impact analysis, planning and zoning issues and engaging with local, state and federal law and decisionmakers.
The breadth of our technical practice, diverse client base and integration with government allow us to react on behalf of our clients in any jurisdiction, clearing the path for developments that truly shape communities.
With a respected presence in California and beyond, our team is at the forefront of evolving land use regulation and practice. We work on cutting-edge issues from sustainable development and transportation to vested rights, initiatives and referenda. Our proven strengths in renewable energy and resourcing projects not only help our clients but also protect and maximize the value of our land and natural resources.
Who we work with
We work with anyone developing land, particularly people and companies with complex development goals and land use issues.
Our land use clients include:
- Hotels, resorts and golf courses
- Urban infill and mixed-use projects
- Multifamily developments
- Master-planned communities
- Entertainment venues
- Retail centers
- Commercial and industrial centers
- Public utilities
- Social infrastructure assets, such as hospitals and prisons
- Transit and rail facilities
- Wineries and vineyards
- Educational institutions
What we do
We help clients achieve their development objectives and work with them to resolve the following issues:
- General plans, specific plans and zoning approvals
- Entitlement applications and administrative hearings
- CEQA and NEPA compliance and litigation
- Infrastructure financing and permitting
- Coastal Act compliance
- Due diligence
- Affordable housing
- Climate change
- Eminent domain and condemnation
- Endangered species
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Inverse condemnation
- School mitigation and financing
- Water quality
- Wetland permitting
Solid Experience—From the Ground Up
- Representing Goodman Birtcher on the reentitlement of a 205-acre residential-zoned site comprising a 2.2-million-square-foot industrial area, a 147,200-square-foot business park and a 490,000-square-foot commercial/retail space with a hospital overlay in California’s Inland Empire. Our work includes the general and specific plan amendments and CEQA compliance, and as it is near areas of proposed and existing residential development, we had to address concerns about toxic air contaminants from diesel truck emissions as well as the project’s own greenhouse gas emissions.
- Assisted a developer in the entitlement of a 650,000-square-foot condominium building, the largest residential high-rise project built to date in Century City. In addition to preparing the entitlement applications for the 42-story building and overseeing the preparation of the project’s environmental impact report, we worked to obtain City Council support and avoided protracted litigation by entering into a multiparty settlement agreement with various surrounding stakeholders on terms favorable to the client.
- Handling various land use matters on behalf of a Los Angeles-area college, including campus master planning, site acquisition due diligence, entitlements for new educational facilities and dormitories and the protection of the college’s interests in connection with nearby developments.
- Advising a property owner in connection with the entitlements, development agreement, and environmental review for nearly 2 million square feet of a downtown Los Angeles mixed-use project, which will cover approximately three city blocks and include over 1,000 residential units, 250,000 square feet of retail space, two boutique hotels and a small college campus.
- Successfully represented a hotel owner in the redevelopment of a city-designated landmark building into a luxury hotel, including Ellis Act evictions and subsequent litigation seeking to invalidate the project’s settlement agreement and enjoin the building’s use for hotel purposes.
- Assisted one of the world’s largest retailers in the development of various big-box stores, including the preparation of entitlement applications, counsel on initiatives and referenda and the defense of environmental impact reports in California Environmental Quality Act litigation.
- Advocated on behalf of a coalition of cities in Los Angeles County for Metro’s selection of a Gold Line light-rail extension that would best serve these cities. The work included the preparation of extensive comments on the environmental impact report’s treatment of an alternative alignment that would bypass these cities.
- Developed the land use strategy, obtained all land use entitlements, coordinated CEQA compliance and environmental review and managed the subdivision map process on behalf of The Related Companies for its St. Regis Hotel site in Century City, California, composed of 147 luxury condominiums with approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial amenities.
- Advising one of the world’s largest movie theatre chains in connection with the renovation of its properties throughout Southern California and applications for alcohol conditional use permits and licenses.
- Serving as lead land use counsel to one of the country’s largest private sign companies in connection with entitlements, litigation, and government advocacy work, including negotiating development agreements for new signs, securing view corridors for existing billboards, and working closely with city officials on the crafting of sign ordinances, including issues involving the conversion of static billboards to digital billboards.
- Working with the County of San Bernardino on behalf of Lytle Creek Development to prepare the Environmental Impact Report for Lytle Creek North, a 677-acre master-planned community consisting of 2,466 residential units, and commercial and industrial development. We assisted in litigation defense relating to three CEQA challenges brought by environmental organizations and helped guide the client through the Section 404 Clean Water Act, Section 7 Endangered Species Act and NEPA compliance process.