Getting results through effective advocacy, negotiation and litigation
JMBM Land Use & Zoning Practice - Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy (GLUEE)
From the city council to the U.S. Congress, companies need help navigating the legislative and regulatory processes that can affect them, as well as a strong voice to advocate their position before governmental bodies. Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell has the experience to represent a wide range of industries, businesses, trade groups and individuals at every level of government, particularly throughout the state of California. We understand how government works, with team members whose substantial political and regulatory experience includes the former principal policy maker for the Los Angeles City Zoning/Building and Safety Commission.
Our particular strength is handling all permitting and compliance issues for clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate or expand operations. JMBM’s land use and zoning lawyers are knowledgeable, skilled negotiators who can produce results when dealing with local governments, including boards of supervisors, city councils, zoning boards and planning and redevelopment agencies, as well as state and federal agencies that oversee environmental and land use issues. Projects that we have helped move through the approval process include hotels, shopping centers, theaters, office buildings, residential developments and apartment complexes, plus a wide range of such industrial projects as mines, energy plants and manufacturing facilities.
Land Use Approvals
We have the public policy skills and contacts to represent private and public landholders and developers before city councils, county boards, state planning commissions and other local, state and federal administrative bodies. We help them obtain permits and other entitlements, and are effective at helping build broad public support. JMBM lawyers are equally skilled at challenging adverse administrative actions, and will vigorously defend approved projects if they hit political or regulatory snags.
The full range of compliance approvals that we facilitate encompasses:
- Zoning and planning
- Project permits and entitlements
- Variances and conditional use permits
- Development incentives
- Takings, eminent domain and inverse condemnation
- Historic preservation
- Environmental Impact Reports (EIR)
- The California Environmental Quality and National Environmental Policy Acts
- Redevelopment and adaptive reuse approvals
Land Use Planning
We work closely with local government officials to make certain the land for real estate and development projects has the appropriate zoning and required permits and approvals. Our lawyers analyze local land development codes, zoning ordinances, development regulations and other restrictions and requirements to ensure that they do not conflict with a client’s proposed project.
Such efforts form a solid foundation for obtaining the necessary government permits and zoning approvals. They also enable our team to effectively negotiate development agreements, easements, licenses and other agreements that may be required for project completion.
Land Use Follow-through
We are skilled at negotiating development agreements to lock into place the necessary entitlements, permits and land use designations for our clients’ projects. Our lawyers regularly prepare development pacts with local redevelopment agencies to secure municipal financing and long-term development rights, and excel at applying unique local or regional statutes such as California’s Subdivision Map Act. Once zoning approval is set, we often prepare reciprocal easement agreements, operating covenants and other commercial and residential development documents that facilitate project completion.
Land Use Disputes
Land use disputes can involve straightforward issues of municipal annexation, subdivision regulation, redevelopment law, development agreements and impact fees. In such instances, clients rely on our experience with local administration of land use regulations, including advice on the interpretation and enforcement of zoning regulations. We have particular strength in the challenging task of zoning appeals, and regularly go before zoning boards and political authorities to demonstrate the change of use prerequisites necessary for rezoning.
For more complex controversies, JMBM has extensive trial and appellate experience in land use litigation. A decade ago, our lawyers argued the high-profile permitting and takings case, Landgate, Inc. v. California Coastal Commission, before the California Supreme Court, and we have litigated many other land use disputes involving:
- Condemnation and inverse condemnation
- Compensation for regulatory takings and state land acquisitions
- Restrictions on development of environmentally sensitive lands
- Validity of exactions and development fees
- Zoning for controversial uses, such as quarries
- Hearings and protests over the adequacy of zoning procedures
We offer comprehensive strategies for clearing the many environmental hurdles that confront all proposed projects before, during, and after development. Our regulatory experience includes wetlands permitting, inspection and compliance reviews, Clean Air and Water Act compliance and permits, and effective negotiation with state and federal agencies.
Environmental approvals are particularly complex for the many projects we represent in California where, as part of the development process, we prepare and review documentation to ensure compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the regulations of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) and the guidelines of numerous other agencies, including the:
- California Air Resources Board
- California Coastal Commission
- Department of Toxic Substances Control
- California Energy Commission
- California Department of Fish & Game
- California State Lands Commission
- California State Mining and Geology Board
- Public Utilities Commission
- Integrated Waste Management Board
- California Resources Agency
- California Office of Historic Preservation
- California State Water Resources Control Board
- California Regional Water Quality Control Boards
- Various air quality management districts including:
- South Coast Air Quality Management District
- Bay Area Air Quality Management District
- Feather River Air Quality Management District
- U.S. Department of the Interior
- U.S. Bureau of Land Management
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
- U.S. Forest Service
Public Policy Advocacy
Because any company or organization can be directly affected by governmental activity, you need a strong presence among decision makers and vigilant cultivation of support from legislative and regulatory bodies that have an impact on your operations. Whether clients have industry specific concerns involving healthcare, insurance, telecommunications, gaming or land use, or broader issues of tax and regulatory policy, we have the knowledge of and contacts at the local, state and federal levels to address such legislative or regulatory problems.
Our lawyers regularly represent clients before administrative agencies and legislative bodies in hearings, rulemaking proceedings and compliance disputes. We are also proactive and get involved in proposed and pending state, county and city legislation and plans to adopt or amend agency rules. You also benefit from our ability to work with policy stakeholders (from media outlets to community activists), both those who are sympathetic to your interests and those whose concerns could be disruptive unless skillfully addressed.
Land use cases and projects
- For Troesh Materials LLC: Second Appellate District Court ruled in favor of JMBM client In a decision published on February 8, 2013, the Second Appellate District Court ruled in favor of JMBM client Troesh Materials, LLC in a challenge brought pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) against the County of Santa Barbara's approval of Troesh's Diamond Rock Sand and Gravel Mine and Processing Facility (the "Diamond Rock […]
- For Western Aggregates, Inc: JMBM Client Prevails in First-Ever Vested Rights Hearing Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP announced that its client, Western Aggregates LLC a subsidiary of Eagle Materials Inc. prevailed in a hearing before the State Mining and Geology Board (Board) to determine the validity of "vested rights" to mine and produce construction materials from lands in the Yuba Goldfields, one of the […]
- Schlage Lock Site Named Best Land Deal of the Year in San Francisco Demolition and remediation activities began the week of April 6, 2009 on the long dormant brownfield in San Francisco known as the Schlage Lock industrial site. The San Francisco Business Times recently named the Schlage Lock site part of Universal Paragon Corp.'s (UPC) 20-acre, $500 million Brisbane Baylands development project the Best Land […]
- For Universal Paragon: Obtained approvals for the $500 million mixed-use project on 20 acres of brownfield in the Bay Area For Universal Paragon Corp: Obtained approvals clearing the way for the development of a $500 million project on 20 acres of brownfield in the Bay Area, near the San Francisco/Brisbane border. The complex deal involved settling a lawsuit, indemnifying parties from claims of future environmental liability, obtaining fixed cost contracts for remediation and securing environmental […]
- For Forest City Development and Westfield: Obtained approvals for the construction of a 1.5 million square foot retail and entertainment complex For Forest City Development and Westfield: Obtained approvals for the construction of a 1.5 million square foot retail and entertainment complex in San Francisco, part of the Westfield San Francisco Centre. The project included the preservation of the dome and façade of the former Emporium building, expansion of a Redevelopment Project Area and extensive negotiations […]
- For the Martin Group and AMC Movie Theaters: Obtained approvals for a mixed-use complex For the Martin Group and AMC Movie Theaters: Obtained approvals for a mixed-use complex of 14 theaters, 50 condominium dwellings, retail space and a 450-space parking garage, including the rehabilitation of the Landmark Don Lee Showroom building in San Francisco.
- JMBM Wins First Density Bonus Case Against the City of Los Angeles Under SB 1818 On December 8, 2008, JMBM attorneys successfully challenged an attempt by the City of Los Angeles to unlawfully impose conditions of approval on a proposed infill apartment project that was entitled to a height limit increase under SB 1818, the state density bonus law. Louise Apts. LLC v. City of Los Angeles is the first […]
- For Candy & Candy (CPC Ltd.): JMBM provided land use due diligence and pursued project approvals for a 252-unit luxury high rise condominium and retail project in Beverly Hills For Candy and Candy; CPC Group (based in London, England), JMBM represented the client in land use due diligence and pursuit of project approvals for the redevelopment of the Robinsons-May Department Store in Beverly Hills for the development of a high profile 252-unit luxury condo and retail project; property purchased for $500 million.
- Selected CEQA Litigation Experience JMBM's Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy (GLUEE) lawyers offer comprehensive strategies for clearing the many environmental hurdles that confront all proposed projects before, during, and after development. Environmental approvals are particularly complex for the many projects we represent in California where, as part of the development process, we prepare and review documentation to ensure […]
- Selected Land Use Litigation Cases JMBM's Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy (GLUEE) lawyers represent a wide range of industries, businesses, trade groups and individuals at every level of government, particularly throughout the state of California. Our particular strength is handling all permitting and compliance issues for clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate or expand operations. When […]
- Selected Development Projects and Clients JMBM's Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy (GLUEE) lawyers represent a wide range of industries, businesses, trade groups and individuals at every level of government, particularly throughout the state of California. Our particular strength is handling all permitting and compliance issues for clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate or expand operations. Projects […]
- For Decron Properties: JMBM successfully obtained approval under Los Angeles' Mixed Use Ordinance for a large development project Furama Hotel Redevelopment was the first to obtain approvals under the City of Los Angeles's new Mixed Use Ordinance for the development of 540 apartments and 27,000 square feet of commercial use at Lincoln Boulevard and Manchester Avenue. The firm represented Decron Properties.
- For The Clarett Group and Prudential Real Estate: JMBM handled the development entitlement approvals for a major mixed-use project in Hollywood JMBM's Government, Land Use, Environmental and Energy Group represented the Clarett Group and Prudential Real Estate in obtaining development entitlement approvals for a major mixed-use development to exceed one million square feet on Hollywood Boulevard adjoining the Pantages Theatre. The project includes 1,042 apartment units and 175,000 square feet of retail.
- For G.H. Palmer: JMBM completed litigation resulting in the demolition and reconstruction of a 1,000-unit Los Angeles apartment structure In Palmer v. City of Los Angeles, JMBM successfully litigated a contentious and highly controversial case arising out of the demolition of an old structure without permit in downtown Los Angeles. The settlement resulted in new development of nearly 1,000 apartment units.
- For CEMEX, Inc.: JMBM scored a significant victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for a mine project, which involved the relationship of the federal Endangered Species Act to state law On June 5, 2006, JMBM scored a significant victory for the firm's client, CEMEX, Inc., when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a published opinion in Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and CEMEX, Inc. The Center's lawsuit challenged authorizations by the Service in favor of the Soledad […]