Steven R. Meyers
Steven Meyers has practiced public agency law for more than 40 years. He is recognized for his specialty expertise in municipal and special districts law, economic development, land use, environmental law, utility regulation, and public-private partnerships.
Steven formed Meyers Nave in 1986 based on his vision of creating one law firm that could provide the complete range of legal and regulatory services that public agencies typically obtained from numerous law firms on an individual project-by-project basis. His goal was to transform that traditional business model into one that was more effective and efficient for clients. From its start as a three-attorney firm in one office, Steven helped guide Meyers Nave’s growth to more than 60 attorneys in offices throughout California. Steven retired in 2017.
Throughout his career, Steven has contributed his expertise to help shape both the law and the legal profession at the state, national and international level. For example, in 2015, he received the “Outstanding Associate Member” award from the International Municipal Lawyers Association and spoke at the National Conference on Internal Auditing in Qatar. In 2016, he led an IMLA delegation on a cultural exchange program to Cuba and spoke on the topic of “Freedom of Information Laws in a Rapidly Changing Cyber Environment” at the World Jurist Association conference.Read More
Steven has extensive knowledge of California law, policy and politics, and is a highly regarded advisor to municipalities and public agencies in helping them achieve their mandates and missions. He has represented a wide range of public entity clients including Menlo Park Fire Protection District, West Valley Sanitation District, East Bay Dischargers Authority, Moraga Orinda Fire Department, East Bay Regional Communications Authority, Windsor Water District and San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency, as well as the cities of San Leandro, Windsor, Suisun City and Rancho Cordova. His work for these clients covers many areas of law, from those that affect the daily operation of a public entity to newly emerging areas of law such as social media, as well as highly complex issues such as forming multi-agency authorities, pursuing transformative risk management structures, and financing capital improvement projects.
One of Steven’s highest profile cases involves serving as Special Counsel for the City of San Bruno. He is in his sixth year of handling legal and crisis management issues relating to the catastrophic pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 37 homes on September 9, 2010. Steven served as a member of the City’s negotiating team that obtained a $70 million settlement from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to support the City and community’s efforts to recover after the disaster. Steven also assists the City with state and federal regulatory matters relating to the explosion, including hearings and motions before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and investigations and hearings before the National Transportation Safety Board. Steven’s work has been instrumental in the imposition of a record $1.6 billion fine against PG&E, the indictment of PG&E on criminal charges, and claims of political corruption at the CPUC. Final accounting for all damages, fines, settlements, liabilities and remedial unrecovered costs could exceed $10 billion. The multi-faceted litigation involved a California Public Records Act lawsuit for which the City of San Bruno received a James Madison Freedom of Information Award from the Northern California Society of Journalists.
In addition to serving as General Counsel and Special Counsel to numerous public entities throughout California, Steven has an active practice in complex redevelopment and related urban infill and housing transactions. As counsel for these transactions, he has negotiated and drafted virtually every type of agreement and document, from leases and financing documents to environmental and other regulatory agreements. He has also handled the negotiation and resolution of legal issues associated with contaminated properties, tideland disputes, coastal zones and protected habitats, and transportation and planning issues.
Steven is a sought-after speaker on municipal law, civil infrastructure development, government transparency, crisis management, utility regulation, redevelopment and transit-oriented development. He has presented papers and provided trainings worldwide on these topics.
- Henderson, Nevada. The City of Henderson Redevelopment project is approximately 4,500 acres in size. Two thousand acres of it is industrial and former industrial land with filtration and sedimentation ponds and open waste drainage ditches used to process waste from smelting of titanium and other exotic metals for the aerospace industry. The township of Pittman, a thousand acres of blighted residential property constructed for the Boulder Dam workers in the 1930s, is also part of this project area along with another 1,500 acres of vacant lands, former industrial lands, and dilapidated residential properties. Steven prepared all of the development plans, reports and actions for this project, now adopted by the City, and is currently negotiating the definitive agreement with the major land owners for development and build-out of approximately $5 billion dollars of vertical development.
- The Southern Pacific/Union Pacific Railyards. This project involved the redevelopment of the historic Southern Pacific/Union Pacific Railyards in Sacramento. This urban infill project will combine 10,000 residential units along with adaptive reuse of historic rail marshalling yard buildings to create a city within a city. Huge infrastructure costs have created a “gap” which requires participation of the public sector. Our client is Thomas Enterprises, developer of the railyards. Steven is integrally involved in the project, negotiating and drafting a variety of definitive agreements.
- East Palo Alto. This project involved the redevelopment of the University Avenue / Highway 101 interchange with several hundred thousand square feet of office space and a Four Seasons Hotel. Steven represented the City and the project sponsor in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) litigation over the entitlements for the project.
- East Bay Regional Communications Authority. Steven formed this Joint Powers Authority to provide for the design, construction, finance and operation of an interoperable, standardized communications system for emergency services in the East Bay.
- Rancho Cordova Revenue Neutrality Dispute. Steven handled a dispute between the County of Sacramento and the newly incorporated community of Rancho Cordova over the terms of a revenue neutrality formula. He negotiated a settlement that resulted in a net increase of $100 million in real property taxes for the city over a 30-year period .
- Millbrae Intermodal Project. Millbrae Station combines BART and Caltrain at one location on the peninsula. Development of a mixed-use transit village surrounding this intermodal station is a project which involves land assembly, entitlements, gap financing and inclusionary housing obligations. Steven has led these efforts.
Honors and Awards
- Recipient, “Outstanding Associate Member” award, International Municipal Lawyers Association, 2015
- Daily Journal, “Top 20 Municipal Lawyers in California,” 2012, 2013
- AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
- Recipient, John J. McCloy Fellowship in Urban Studies, United States Conference of Mayors and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1984
Presentations and Publications
- Author, “The Paradox That Is Cuba,” Municipal Lawyer magazine, May, 2016
- Presenter, “Freedom of Information Laws in a Rapidly Changing Cyber Environment,” World Jurist Association, 2016
- Presenter, “Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion: Where Were the Auditors?” Qatars Fifth National Conference on Internal Auditing, The Institute of Internal Auditors, Qatar, 2015
- Co-Author, “Under California: Knowing What Lies Beneath,” Western City Magazine, June, 2013
- Co-Author and Presenter, “The San Bruno, California Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion: Response, Investigation and Regulatory Actions,” International Municipal Lawyers Association, Washington, DC, 2012
- Presenter, “Using Public-Private Partnerships to Encourage Urban Infill Development,” American Institute of Architects, 2011
- Author, “The Use of Public Private Partnership for Special Districts and All Levels of Governments,” California Special District, 2010
- Trainer, “Fundamentals of DDAs and OPAs,” California Redevelopment Association Institute, 2009
- Author and Presenter, “Transit-Oriented Development: Reality or Chimera?,” International Municipal Lawyers Association, Washington DC, 2009
- Author and Presenter, “Rising to the Promise of Transit-Oriented Development,” World Jurist Conference, Kiev, Ukraine, 2009
- Contributor, American Bar Association State and Local Government Newsletter
- Contributor, “Local Regulation of Alcohol Licensees,” Los Angeles Lawyer, 2006
- Contributor, “Will Eminent Domain for Redevelopment Purposes Survive Legislative Challenges After Kelo?,” California Real Property Journal, Volume 24 No. 2
- Presenter, “Open Government and Transparency in American Politics,” World Jurist Conference, Shanghai, China, 2005
- Contributor, “Alcohol, Sex and the City: Local Regulation of Alcohol-Serving Establishments Challenges Municipalities,” American Bar Association State and Local Government Newsletter, 2005
- Presenter, Lorman Education Services, “Eminent Domain in California,” 2005
- Presenter, “Managing Legal Services for Public Agencies,” International Municipal Lawyers Association, Washington D.C., 2004
- Interview, "Practicing in Public," East Bay Business Times, 2003
- Contributor, “RLUIPA: Congress Again Takes Aim at State and Local Land-Use Authority,” State & Local Law News, 2003
- Presenter, “Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Peoples Act – Religious Tolerance in America,” World Jurist Conference, Sydney, Australia, 2003
- Presenter, “Effectively Managing Outside Counsel,” County Counsels Association, 2003
- Contributor, “Planning by Plebiscite: The Ballot Box Is the Wrong Forum for Californias Growth Wars,” State & Local Law News, 2001
- Presenter, “Ballot Box Zoning and American Land Use Law,” World Jurist Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 2001
- Member, The State Bar of California
- Member, Order of the Coif
- Member, Thurston Society
- Member, Moot Court Board
- Member, Mayors' Council on Pipeline Safety
- Member, International Steering Committee, International Municipal Lawyers Association
- Member, Board of Councillors, Save the Redwoods League
- Past Chairman of Executive Committee, State Bar Public Law Section
- Past Editor, Public Law Journal
- Past Member of Legislation Committee, League of California Cities, City Attorneys’ Department
- Past President, Bay Area City Attorneys’ Association
- Past President, Bay Planning Coalition
- University of California, Hastings College of the LawJD, 1973
- University of California at Santa BarbaraBS, Political Science, 1969