Robert I. McMurryPartner
Robert I. McMurry is a partner at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell. His practice focuses on land use, environmental/CEQA, and water issues. Mr. McMurry has more than 30 years of experience in all aspects of major land development, including entitlements, water issues and drafting, advice and litigation on CEQA documents, for projects including residential, commercial, redevelopment, public institutions, and condemnations. He has successfully litigated numerous cases at both the trial and appellate level. His special area of expertise includes the planning and implementation of all necessary steps involved in guiding Master Plan Communities from original design to completion, including challenges to project approvals. He has been named as one of the Top 25 Land Use Lawyers in California and The Best Lawyers in America.
Mr. McMurry was an Adjunct Professor for Loyola Law School from 1984-1990 and is a member of the permanent faculty for the ALI-ABA National Land Use Institute. He is the author of over one hundred articles and presentations on entitlements, CEQA, and water law.
Examples of entitlement projects and litigation matters in which Mr. McMurry is or has been actively involved include:
Lennar/Heritage Fields: A 4,600-acre master planned community located on the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station now located in Irvine, California. Mr. McMurry’s services for this project, which includes 9,500 residential units and over 6.5 million square feet of industrial, commercial and retail space, include CEQA compliance, general land use counsel, and assisting in planning and issuance of multiple federal, state and local permits.
The Newhall Land and Farming Company: Six master planned communities, the most recent being 1,600+ residential units located in the Santa Clarita Valley in unincorporated Los Angeles County, also including approximately 2,500 residential units and 730,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving commercial uses, together with recreational facilities, open space, community facilities and a school.
Mr. McMurry’s services for this project included CEQA compliance through preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, and assistance with project processing before the County of Los Angeles resulting in project approval.
Mr. McMurry served as lead litigation counsel, and successfully defended four CEQA lawsuits filed by environmental groups challenging the project approvals, achieving successes before both the trial court and the Second District Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal in one case issued a published opinion, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment v. County of Los Angeles (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 149, upholding the sufficiency of the project’s Environmental Impact Report. This was the first published California Court of Appeal decision to uphold a Water Resources (supplies/demand) section in an Environmental Impact Report, and the first published decision following the California Supreme Court’s landmark opinion in Vineyard Area Citizens for Responsible Growth, Inc. v. City of Rancho Cordova (2007) 40 Cal.4th 412.
Hunter’s Point/Candlestick: Largest redevelopment project in San Francisco history (over $2 billion) involving over 10,000 units and several million square feet of commercial industrial development. Mr. McMurry helped design entitlements for the project, draft the EIR, and was lead legal counsel in successfully defending the project against a CEQA challenge.
Tejon Ranch Company/Tejon Industrial Complex East: An approximately 11,000-acre industrial park located in unincorporated southern Kern County, including 15 million square feet of commercial and industrial development. Mr. McMurry’s services included CEQA compliance through the preparation of an addition to the Environmental Impact Report, and assistance with project processing before the County of Kern resulting in project approval.
Mr. McMurry served as lead litigation counsel, and successfully defended the CEQA lawsuit filed by multiple parties challenging the project approvals, ultimately achieving success before both the trial court and the Fifth District Court of Appeal, which issued an unpublished opinion upholding the sufficiency of the project’s Environmental Impact Report (Center for Biological Diversity et al. v. County of Kern, F050685).
Centennial Founders, LLC/Centennial: A “new town” located in the western portion of the Antelope Valley in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, including approximately 23,000 residential units and 15 million square feet of retail, office, commercial and industrial development, together with all necessary schools, service facilities, utilities and infrastructure on approximately 11,600 acres. Mr. McMurry’s services for this project include CEQA compliance through assistance in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report.
Warner Ridge Associates: Property owners’ counsel in a successful landmark regulation taking action against the City (Warner Ridge Associates v. City of Los Angeles). Represented developer and successors in negotiating and twice amending a development agreement concerning a mixed-used project in the City of Los Angeles and overturning rejection of project on several landmark court actions. Other representation includes the successful defense of two lawsuits challenging the subsequent validity of the agreement and the environmental clearance for the agreement and the project.
Marina Two Holding Partnership: Successful defense of an approved residential project in the Marina del Rey area of unincorporated Los Angeles County. As lead litigation counsel, Mr. McMurry successfully defended the project through the trial court, resulting in a settlement of the challenge favorable to the client while the case was on appeal before the Second District Court of Appeal. He has also defended the general partner in arbitrations covering corporate issues.
Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority: Representation of the client over two decades in multiple litigation matters and CEQA compliance involving the client’s properties in Southern California.
Gregg’s Artistic Homes: Successful challenge to the City of Glendale’s refusal to process a hillside residential project, resulting in an extremely favorable settlement for the client after a trial court victory.
J.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1982
M.S., Illinois State University, 1971
B.S., University of Denver, 1970
Bar AdmissionsState Bar of California, 1982
State Bar of Illinois, 1983
Awards & Recognition
- Recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America®, 2013, 2014
- Recognized as a "Southern California Super Lawyer" 2011-2014, (Business Edition, 2014)