We have developed special expertise in advocating for our clients in land use and related regulatory matters. This expertise involves not just a solid grounding in substantive and procedural law applicable to entitlement issues, but a good eye and fine ear for persuasion, compromise and the nuances of decisions which inevitably include a political element. Far too often we encounter (on the one hand) developers and their attorneys and (on the other hand) community activists, NGO’s and their attorneys, who take an adversarial stance toward the very governmental bodies that will decide their argument. This is an arena where vigorous advocacy frequently means anticipating and meeting objections – seeking a constructive way around barriers to what our clients want.
Whether a client is a major developer seeking the land use entitlements needed to construct a large project (such as a conditional use permit), or an individual homeowner (governed by the rules of a homeowners association (an HOA)) seeking to expand or otherwise modify a home, that client must obtain prior approvals at all applicable levels of authority, be they HOA architectural committees, planning commissions, city councils, or county supervisory boards. After developing a thorough knowledge of applicable regulations and procedures, our firm represents clients in applying for such approvals and in making presentations at required proceedings, and in presenting appeals of any denied applications to designated review bodies. Ultimately – if such appeals prove unsuccessful — our firm can bring and prosecute any required mandamus action in the civil courts.
Development projects of a large magnitude are governed by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and if, after reviewing a development application, the applicable local governing body determines that a full Environmental Impact Report (an EIR) is required, our firm can advise as to how a proper and well-tailored EIR can be generated that complies with all of the reticulate CEQA regulations, while guiding the process through various layers of governmental review and public hearings, from the initial scoping process through final certification.
In the course of our work, we have accumulated particular background in the field of utility-scale renewable energy, including regulatory (CPUC, CAISO, California Energy Commission, etc.), planning (IEPR, DRECP, RETI 2.0, LTPP, etc.) and policy-making. We occupy a special niche in this field. Most people with an interest – be they governmental officials, utilities, developers, and many of the large environmental groups – believe that you can’t have too many large-size wind and solar projects connected to the grid, and that the California desert is the place to put them. We undertake representation for those who believe that the California desert – already under great environmental stress – doesn’t need to be further scarred by large industrial projects, and that the future of renewable energy is on the thousands of acres of rooftops and parking lots throughout the state.