Land Use

Overview

Our team continually raises the bar for land use in California, doing exemplary work on the state’s most innovative, forward-looking land use projects. We meld our extensive experience in regulatory and administrative procedures with our strong litigation practice to provide our clients with the skills necessary to address all project aspects. In addition, two of our attorneys are authors and managing editors of California Land Use Practice, a seminal reference book for land use attorneys and urban planners.

We help our clients navigate through myriad complex land use laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA); planning, zoning and subdivision laws; and natural resource protection laws (Clean Water Act, Coastal Act, etc.). The breadth and depth of our experience translates to exceptional results and value for our clients.

Subpractices

  • Our work for public agencies frequently involves creating and updating individual airports’ Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans (ALUCPs) as well as ensuring that municipalities’ general land use plans are consistent with ALUCPs in their region.

  • Our attorneys are leading experts on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and several attorneys in our group have argued court cases that have set important legal precedents related to these laws.

  • Climate change issues—including greenhouse gas emission regulations, green building and sustainability regulations, and climate action plans—are a big part of our practice.

  • Meyers Nave has played a critical role in obtaining Coastal Commission’s certification and implementation of several cities’ and agencies’ Local Coastal Programs and other coastal land use projects.

  • Public agencies can obtain important benefits from negotiating development agreements with developers.

  • California continues to face a widening funding gap, and development fees and exactions are one tool lawmakers use to fill this gap. As use of these tools has increased, the legal issues associated with their use has become more involved.

  • As the building blocks of communities, general and specific plans must be prepared strategically, interpreted correctly and implemented properly under the law.

  • We apply our multi-disciplinary approach to infill and brownfields remediation projects, bringing knowledge of the Polanco Redevelopment Act, the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act of 2004 (AB 389), Prospective Purchaser Agreements, risk allocation and risk sharing, and environmental insurance.

  • Meyers Nave attorneys have handled hundreds of cases involving challenges to general plan, zoning, development, and annexation approvals brought under CEQA, the State Planning and Zoning Law, the Williamson Act, the Coastal Act, the Endangered Species Act, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and other land use and environmental laws. Many of these cases have involved complex legal issues and have resulted in published Court of Appeal and Supreme Court decisions.

  • In the course of advising on the variety of First Amendment issues that routinely arise for public agency clients, our firm has argued a number of adult business and other First Amendment cases that have set standards by which other similar cases are judged. 

  • We are as thoroughly versed in the details of land use law as we are in the overarching legal questions. We routinely advise clients on compliance with the California Subdivision Map Act and the application of conditional use permits and variances.

  • Working as members of the client team, we help our public agency clients update their general master plans, adopt specific plans and zoning ordinances. We review draft plans and environmental impact reports, prepare all necessary findings and resolutions and work with staff and elected officials to assure our clients’ actions comply with all applicable federal, state and local land use regulations.

  • Our team has advised on numerous wetlands restoration and wetlands Section 404 permit matters.

Publications