Meyers Nave Proudly Serves as Go-To Land Use and Environmental Counsel on High-Profile, Large-Scale Projects Throughout California
Our Land Use and Environmental Law Practice attorneys are well known for working on many of California’s most prominent civil infrastructure projects, industrial sites, mixed-use developments, and sports and entertainment complexes. We provide sophisticated transactional, litigation and regulatory compliance assistance to public agencies, business entities and public-private partnerships throughout the state. Recognized by Law360 as a “California Powerhouse,” we are go-to lead counsel for helping clients with their largest and most strategically important projects, which are also those that often attract intense media attention and public scrutiny.
Our expertise includes the procedural requirements of the CEQA review process as well as the substantive requirements involved in the preparation of Environmental Impact Reports under CEQA. We have handled EIRs that cover a comprehensive range of CEQA impact assessment requirements, including air quality, aesthetics and visual resources, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, land use, noise, transportation and traffic, utilities and public services, and water resources. We help clients identify the proper scope of environmental review, respond to comments during the EIR process, and develop a “bullet proof” administrative record that stands up to scrutiny in the event of litigation. Meyers Nave also specializes in providing advice on options for streamlining the CEQA process.
Our team also has extensive litigation experience with an outstanding track record of success, including cases involving CEQA compliance, environmental justice considerations and federal preemption issues. Meyers Nave served as lead counsel in the California Supreme Court’s 2015 landmark CEQA case of Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, in which the Court set out a new two-part test for public agencies to use when deciding whether to invoke a CEQA exemption. Some clients engage our legal services after an EIR has been challenged and others leverage our litigation experience to engage us to provide advice during the administrative process to create a defensible record in anticipation of litigation. Our state-wide team of Land Use and Environmental Law attorneys are proud to offer exceptional legal expertise and practical advice to clients with all types of large scale projects throughout California.
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA)/Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Meyers Nave currently serves as lead land use and environmental counsel for the development, expansion and modernization of the North Air Cargo facility, which includes the integration of a new intermodal transportation system. Our long-term working relationship includes representing LAX in connection with its approval of a $13 billion airport expansion for which we advised on a broad range of land use and environmental issues, including CEQA, NEPA, the California Coastal Act, the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act, federal and state endangered species laws, and other state and federal regulatory and permitting requirements. We also successfully defended LAWA/LAX in four consolidated lawsuits challenging the approval of the airport’s Master Expansion Plan for alleged violations of CEQA, NEPA and the California Coastal Act. Our team also advised LAWA in the preparation of Part 161 Studies for LAX and the Van Nuys Airport, and served as outside counsel for the environmental review of the $240 million South Airfield Improvement Project, the first to be implemented under the LAX Master Plan.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF): Southern California International Gateway Project
Meyers Nave represents BNSF in seven consolidated lawsuits and related appeals challenging the company’s planned $500 million rail yard transfer facility on CEQA and other environmental impact and environmental justice grounds. We also advise BNSF on CEQA, land use and regulatory issues relating to a Southern California segment of the California High Speed Rail project. The $500 million Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) Project will create a new near‐dock rail yard for the loading of shipping containers heading to and from the Los Angeles‐Long Beach port complex. When completed, SCIG will reduce the distance imported shipping containers have to travel from the ports for loading onto trucks. The project will reduce truck traffic, freeway congestion and air pollution by eliminating approximately 2 million truck trips annually along a 24-mile stretch of a nearby freeway.
City of Oakland: Oakland A’s MLB Stadium and Associated Mixed-Use Development
In addition to providing general CEQA advice to the City of Oakland on major development projects, Meyers Nave represents the City on the preparation of an EIR for the Oakland Athletics’ new professional baseball stadium and surrounding residential and commercial mixed-development project. The proposed Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal is being pursued by the A’s as the site for a new ballpark to replace the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as the team’s home. As part of the overall proposal, the A’s would also carry out an extensive redevelopment of the Oakland Coliseum property, converting it into a small sports park/amphitheater and redevelop surrounding land to include housing, a tech hub, a youth sports complex, retail, and light manufacturing.
Hall Equities: Professional Soccer Stadium, Convention Center, Hotel and Housing Project
Meyers Nave is providing land use and CEQA advice to the developer of a proposed $750 million soccer stadium project located on a long-vacant parcel in Concord near the downtown BART station. The proposed project includes a 15,000 to 18,000-seat stadium, two hotels with 650 rooms, a 150,000 square foot convention center, retail space and housing. The stadium would be home to a United Soccer League Division 2 franchise for the Oakland East Bay area.
City of Sacramento: $477 Million Downtown Arena for the Sacramento Kings
Meyers Nave defeated every legal challenge against a new $477 million downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings NBA team, including (1) an eminent domain victory giving the City of Sacramento permission to take over the final piece of downtown property, (2) a published appellate decision denying a CEQA-based challenge to the project, (3) a published appellate decision denying a constitutional challenge to the special statute passed to streamline the City’s CEQA review of the proposed arena (the first appellate decision concerning the constitutionality of project-specific CEQA streamlining statutes), and (4) an 11-day trial alleging that the public-private partnership behind the arena engaged in a “secret subsidy,” collusion, fraud, concealment, waste and illegal expenditure of public funds, along with alleged illegalities in the City’s bond financing. The trial victory was recognized by The Daily Journal among the “Top Defense Results” of the year.
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA): Multiple Extension Projects
Meyers Nave represents SCVTA in a lawsuit filed by the San Jose Sharks alleging violations of CEQA and NEPA relating to BART’s multi-year four-station extension into downtown San Jose and Santa Clara. The suit against BART and SCVTA claims the tunneling project fails to adequately address construction impacts and immediate and long-term parking impacts for BART riders and fans and concert goers of the SAP Center. Sharks Sports & Entertainment manages the SAP Center and owns the Sharks team. Meyers Nave’s long-term working relationship with SCVTA includes handling many complex and high profile land use and environmental matters relating to SCVTA’s ongoing expansion throughout Silicon Valley, including successfully defended SCVTA in a CEQA action challenging the adequacy of a supplemental EIR for the BART Silicon Valley Project, which extends the BART system from Fremont to Santa Clara, advising on CEQA/NEPA review for the Capitol Express Light Rail Project, a 3‐mile extension of an elevated commuter transit line and accessory passenger station.
Port of Los Angeles (POLA)
Meyers Nave serves as lead outside counsel in connection with environmental compliance and land use permitting for multiple large‐scale cargo, shipping and transportation projects for container terminals and dockside intermodal railyards. We have reviewed major project EIRs and EISs for CEQA and NEPA compliance, focusing on biological, water quality, air quality, traffic, land use, greenhouse gas, and cumulative impacts. Our representation includes working with the California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District and California Coastal Commission. We have also advised the Port on multiple long‐term planning projects, including the Port Master Plan Update. Meyers Nave has also represented the Port in several major CEQA cases in both the trial and appellate courts and we have won every case we have litigated on POLA’s behalf.
City of Los Angeles: Massive Crossroads of the World Redevelopment
Meyers Nave represents the City of Los Angeles in CEQA litigation over redevelopment of the iconic Crossroads of the World site on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The plan, approved by the L.A. City Council, consists of building 950 apartments and condos, a 308‐room hotel, and 190,000 square feet of commercial space in three buildings of up to 32 stories in height. The Governor certified the redevelopment as an Environmental Leadership Development Project, the regulations for which require that all legal challenges be expedited by the courts to be resolved 270 days after project approval.
City of Los Angeles: Downtown Revitalization Development Projects
Meyers Nave serves as a primary outside land use and environmental litigation counsel to the City of Los Angeles in a number of cases challenging land use and CEQA approvals for a wide range of projects that are part of the City’s long-range efforts to revitalize the downtown area. Governor Brown has designated many of these projects as Environmental Leadership Development Projects, the regulations for which require that all legal challenges be expedited by the courts to be resolved 270 days after project approval. The litigations include: (1) Sherman Oaks Residents for a Safe Environment v. City of Los Angeles – CEQA lawsuit challenging the Il Villaggio Toscano project, a residential, commercial and office development; (2) Bruce D. Kuyper, et al. v. City of Los Angeles – CEQA lawsuit challenging a five-unit townhouse development; (3) Crenshaw Subway Coalition; et al. v. City of Los Angeles – CEQA lawsuit challenging CEQA and project approvals for the Cumulus Transit-Oriented Mixed-Use Project with apartments, offices, and grocery store; (4) 8150 Sunset Project – four different CEQA lawsuits brought against the Frank Gehry-designed project, a mixed-use development and (5) 333 La Cienega Project – three different CEQA lawsuits brought against a mixed-use residential and transit oriented building.
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP)
Meyers Nave serves as primary outside counsel for LADWP on land use, environmental and water rights matters, as well as CEQA litigation defense. We represent LADWP on the environmental review of the Elysian Reservoir Water Quality Improvement Project and the Stone Canyon Reservoir Water Quality Improvement Project—two projects to bring open reservoirs into compliance with updated Environmental Protection Agency drinking water quality standards. Our representation of LADWP in numerous litigated matters includes (1) complex statewide litigation filed by the San Diego County Water Authority challenging the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s adoption of rates and charges for imported water, litigation over LADWP’s water rights to Mammoth Creek and the Owens River, and litigation regarding changes to a mitigation measure in an EIR that analyzed a historic water agreement for the City’s aqueduct and transfer of water from Owens Valley to Los Angeles.
County of Los Angeles Correctional Facility Projects
Meyers Nave served as counsel for the lead agency in the environmental review process for the development of two high‐profile, high‐cost detention facility projects: the $2 billion Consolidated Correctional Treatment Facility, proposed to demolish and replace the 50‐year old Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, and the $136 million renovation, expansion and modernization of a non‐operational jail to create a new Mira Loma Women’s Detention Center in the City of Lancaster. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky described the $2 billion men’s facility project as “the most expensive infrastructure project in the history of the county.” Meyers Nave assisted in development of the EIRs prepared for these controversial projects, and assisted the County in avoiding litigation challenging the approvals for both projects.