Our land use attorneys have extensive experience assisting developers and property owners throughout Southern California.
Areas of expertise include state and local planning and zoning laws, the Subdivision Map Act, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), LEED certification and green building compliance, general plans, historical designations, development agreements, exactions and dedications, and compliance with local regulatory agencies including housing, building and safety, fire and health departments. We provide pre-development feasibility analysis, real estate project entitlements and zoning services, environmental law and due diligence, and government/community relations.
As part of our extensive land use practice, we conduct thorough due diligence research (including title research, building permits and all zoning and planning history), land use application preparation, and management of the entitlement, public hearing, and development permitting process for an array of zoning and land use entitlements. Professional services include government and community relations, entitlement applications including complex zone variances, zone changes, general plan amendments, conditional use permits, project appeals and responses to permit enforcement actions. We can also oversee project team selection and coordination and project timelines and fee estimates.
Services We Provide
Land Use Analysis/Pre-Development Analysis
Research and analyze current zoning restrictions, land use designations, previous zoning approvals, building permits, covenants, affidavits, environmental issues and potential liabilities. Evaluate proposed project description and preliminary site plan, arrange meetings with key government staff members and prepare project timelines, fee estimates, and entitlement strategy.
Entitlement Services, Project Management
Prepare applications for Site Plan Review, Adjustments, Modifications, Zone Variances, Conditional Use Permits, Plan Approvals, Zone Changes, Specific Plan Exceptions, Plan Amendments, and similar requests. We provide leadership through the entire entitlement process, from arranging negotiations with governmental officials to responding to questions from staff, as well as representation at public hearings.
California Environmental Quality Act
Assist developers in all aspects of navigating CEQA, including initial negotiations with lead agency, oversight and coordination with preparers of environmental studies, i.e. Mitigated Negative Declarations and/or Environmental Impact Reports, developing responses to public comments and representation at all public hearings. We have prepared CEQA Guidelines and conducted CEQA and NEPA trainings for local public agencies.
Land Use Litigation
We are experienced land use litigators working on the side of developers for the right to entitle and develop their properties. We have handled a wide variety of writ of mandamus cases involving multiple cities and counties in Southern California. We have also handled numerous compliance cases against the Los Angeles Housing Department and the Los Angeles County Health Department.
- Other professional legal services also include:
- Government and Community Relations
- Monitoring of Community Plan and General Plan Updates
- Conditional Use Permits for alcohol sales and service in retail stores, restaurants, bars and nightclubs
- Responses to enforcement actions (Building and Safety, Health Department, Housing Department)
- Administrative Law hearings and appeals
- Project Appeals & Mitigation Monitoring
- Obtained approvals from City of Riverside for the development of a 35,000 square foot office/commercial two building project.
- Received entitlements to build several student housing/apartment buildings near the University of Southern California.
- Negotiated signed, approved Development Agreement and multiple addendums with City of Inglewood for super graphic ads on freeway adjacent buildings.
- Received approval from the City of Los Angeles to allow the continued use of a large commercial corner with a liquor store after the property owner faced several criminal nuisance and code violations
- Secured approval for several “second dwelling units” throughout the City of Los Angeles.
- Obtained land use entitlement approval to expand operations of a private, religious high school in Los Angeles, despite opposition from neighbors.
- Obtained approval for a 26-unit small lot subdivision in Van Nuys, despite opposition from neighbors.
- Achieved approval of lot line adjustments for clients’ properties located in the cities of Los Angeles, Torrance and Montebello.
- Obtained entitlement approval for condominium conversion of 8-unit building in Hollywood.
- Received approval from Mulholland Design Review Board for new construction of several very large single family homes – one within the “inner corridor” and located right on Mulholland Drive and one within the “outer corridor” off of Mulholland.
- Negotiated deal with the City of Alhambra to rebuild an existing non-conforming structure after a significant portion of the original structure was destroyed by fire.
- Performed hundreds of due diligence research and analysis projects for property owners and prospective buyers of sites located throughout Southern California – from single family homes to multiple parcel sites with 40+acres at all stages of the entitlement process.
Contact ECJ for Your Land Use, Zoning & Development Needs
For more information regarding the services available from our Department, please contact Ellia Thompson at (310) 263-6356.
ECJ’s Land Use attorneys serve clients throughout California and across the nation.