Amara understands municipal law, land use, and real estate from just about every angle. With more than 25 years of experience as an assistant city attorney, she’s worked closely with public officials and agencies, businesses and developers, and individuals and community groups on everything from approvals to zoning. Valued by clients for her responsive, determined, pragmatic style, she was named “Woman of Influence” by Globe Street Real Estate in 2019.
Real Estate, Land Use, and Environmental Law
Amara has obtained land use entitlements for mixed use, residential, commercial, industrial and hotel development projects. She has extensive experience in all aspects of land use law, including compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Permit Streamlining Act, planning and zoning law, the Subdivision Map Act and affordable housing laws, including density bonus and SB 35. Her work involves negotiation with state and federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Delta Protection Commission.
Amara assists Contra Costa County and Alameda County public sector clients, including special districts, with land use, zoning, development and redevelopment, environmental law, and resource protection and conservation, transportation, and aviation expertise. She is general counsel to various transportation agencies and various Geologic Hazard Abatement Districts (GHADs). She has been lead counsel on the development, implementation, and defense of general plans, specific plans, and neighborhood plans and related development project approvals.
Prior to private practice, Morrison served as assistant city attorney for Livermore and Walnut Creek, where she advised officials and staff on matters including the California Public Records Act, the Ralph M. Brown Act, public finance and contracts, solid waste, risk management and conflicts of interest, First Amendment, and redevelopment. She drafted the state’s first comprehensive no-smoking ordinance, which banned smoking in the workplace (including bars and restaurants), cigarette vending machines, and smoking in multi-family housing units, an action followed by jurisdictions around the country.