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As land use issues continue to evolve and become more complex, our land use attorneys help clients find creative solutions. We advise private and public sector clients in all aspects of development and permitting, including land use litigation. From small remodeling projects to major residential, commercial, industrial and mixed-use development, we assist on zoning and permitting matters in cities, counties, and special districts throughout California.

Public Hearings and Approvals

Our knowledge of local, regional and state agencies helps us minimize roadblocks. Our attorney team includes current and former board and commission members in Bay Area jurisdictions and regional agencies, former city planners, and advanced degree holders in related land-use fields. This experience provides unique insight for guiding clients through the land use process and representing clients before city councils, boards of supervisors, planning commissions, zoning boards, and commissions.

Supporting the Development Team

We work with client project teams to prepare documentation to obtain land use approvals, including development agreements, tentative and final subdivision maps, complex project applications, conditions of approval, and environmental review documents. Working closely with architects, surveyors, engineers, contractors and others, we help streamline the process. Our practical experience untangling the local, state and federal regulations that govern land use applications (including CEQA, the Subdivision Map Act, and wetlands, air quality, and congestion management regulations) keeps your project on track.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Our attorneys are resolution-oriented, using their experience to find creative solutions to complex issues. As needed, we help clients defend their rights through litigation and alternative dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. We have successfully represented clients in matters throughout California involving issues related to CEQA, the Subdivision Map Act, exactions and development fees, building moratoria, and similar issues.

From project inception to public approval, we provide legal counsel throughout the land use arena:

  • Mixed use projects
  • Public/private partnerships
  • Residential and commercial condominiums
  • Planned unit developments
  • Industrial
  • Commercial
  • Hospitals and medical facilities
  • Vineyard development
  • Geologic Hazardous Abatement Districts
  • Subdivision processing and approval

Residential/Mixed-Use

  • Secured entitlements for a master plan project in San Ramon involving 4,500 residential units, a 169-key hotel, 166,000 square feet of commercial space, along with extensive park areas and featuring multiple development agreements.
  • Gained land use approvals for five separate projects in Oakland’s Jack London Square featuring over 1,000 apartment units and a hotel.
  • Obtained initial and revised land use entitlements for six separate apartment tower projects in Downtown Oakland, totaling approximately 2,000 units.
  • Advised a local government in connection with the largest project in California processed under SB 35 (ministerial approval for certain affordable housing projects).
  • Secured land use entitlements for multi-family projects in the downtowns of Antioch, Berkeley, Danville, Fairfield, Hercules, Lafayette, Oakland, San Ramon, Vacaville, Monte Sereno and Walnut Creek to meet public agencies’ housing requirements under state law.
  • Obtained entitlements for the West Oakland BART Station (Mandela Station) project including over 700 residential units, 382,460 square feet of office space, and 75,000 square feet of retail.
  • Successfully defended Fremont’s Warm Springs/South Fremont Community Plan – spanning 900 acres and including up to 4,000 homes and 11 million square feet of commercial/office and retail uses – from a lawsuit claiming California Environmental Quality Act and Planning and Zoning law violations.
  • Obtained land use entitlements for four large apartment buildings in Downtown Berkeley, each featuring a density bonus, to help address the City’s critical need for student housing.
  • Obtained land use entitlements, including CEQA compliance, for the tallest residential tower in Oakland, consisting of over 600 units and utilizing a density bonus.
  • Represented numerous developers in obtaining approvals for, and developing, large master planned communities throughout Northern California.
  • Represented Oakland and the World Enterprises to develop affordable housing for formerly incarcerated people and to provide commercial space for for-profit businesses to be owned by such individuals.

Commercial/Industrial

  • Represented one of the largest real estate developers in United States in securing land use approvals for logistic centers – including approval of a two million square foot logistics center in Oakley, CA and Sacramento County, CA.
  • Represented the Oakland Athletics in connection with the purchase and redevelopment of the Coliseum site.
  • Obtained land use entitlements, including CEQA compliance, and negotiated construction and management contracts for a 263-room international hotel and 250-unit apartment complex in Silicon Valley.
  • Represented industrial landowners and facility owners in Alameda and Contra Costa County Counties in obtaining land use approvals to operate and expand their facilities.

Office

  • Obtained land use entitlements, including CEQA compliance and addressing historic resource issues, for the largest office complex in Oakland at over 1.6 million square feet; the project also involved drafting and negotiating a disposition and development agreement with the City.
  • Secured land use entitlements for two alternative versions of an office tower in downtown Oakland, including one measuring 1.1 million square feet. 

Government/Institutional/Educational/Publications

  • Serve as general counsel for Alameda County Transportation Commission and other Bay Area transportation agencies; assist with environmental clearance, property acquisition and project implementation of significant regional transportation infrastructure improvements, including the $350 million GoPort project.
  • Act as legal counsel to 10 geological hazard abatement districts (GHADs) in California and advise landowners/developers/local governments in forming and operating GHADs.
  • Processed and secured land use approvals for mental health facilities throughout California for a major health care provider.
  • Served as land use counsel to a large Bay Area provider of charter schools.
  • Represented recycling and resource recovery company to expand and improve facility in eastern Contra Costa County.
  • Serve as principal author of Development Easements chapter for Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) easement and boundaries treatise, and serve as annual update editor.
  • Co-author national land use book, State & Local Government Land Use Liability (Thomson Reuters), updated annually.

Publications

Update on Density Bonus: a Strong Development Tool Gets Stronger

Update on Density Bonus: a Strong Development Tool Gets Stronger

07/23/2021 | Wendel Rosen LLP

On June 2, 2021, partners Amara Morrison and Todd Williams of the Wendel Rosen Land Use Practice Group went live to discuss legislative changes to the California Density Bonus Law…

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Webinar: Density Bonus: a Strong Development Tool Gets Stronger

Webinar: Density Bonus: a Strong Development Tool Gets Stronger

06/08/2021 | Wendel Rosen LLP

Amara Morrison and Todd Williams partners in Wendel Rosen’s Land Use Practice Group, discussed the recent legislative changes to the Density Bonus Law, and how the law works to benefit…

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Webinar: How the “Housing Crisis Act” (SB 330) Can Ease Approvals for Housing Development Projects

Webinar: How the “Housing Crisis Act” (SB 330) Can Ease Approvals for Housing Development Projects

10/29/2020 | Wendel Rosen LLP

Todd Williams and Patrick Tuck – experienced attorneys at Wendel Rosen in land use and real estate matters – shared their knowledge on how to use SB 330 to get…

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Date Category Publication Title
07/27/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP NEPA’s Turn on the Trump Chopping Block
06/03/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP Ninth Circuit Finds Oakland’s Attempt to Block Coal Shipments Violated Development Agreement
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06/01/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP Governor Issues Executive Order Suspending CEQA Deadlines for 60 Days and Revising Related Noticing Procedures
05/26/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP Clean Water Act Permitting Reaches Groundwater
05/14/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP Court of Appeal Overturns City Council Denial of Use Permit Based on Councilmember Bias
05/08/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP Superior Court Validates Cupertino’s Streamlined Approval of Major Affordable Housing and Office Project
04/29/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP New Bay Area Shelter-in-Place Orders Permit All Construction to Resume
04/21/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP State Legislators Criticize Bay Area Health Officers’ “Arbitrary” Shelter-in-Place Rules Limiting Housing Construction
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04/01/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP Bay Area Counties’ Extended Shelter-In-Place Order Imposes Strict Limits on Development and Construction
04/01/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP COVID-19: How Wendel Rosen’s Real Estate Litigation Group Can Assist
03/19/2020 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP Impacts of the Bay Area Shelter-In-Place Orders on Development and Related Litigation
06/20/2019 Publication Client Update City of Oakland Releases Opportunity Zone Prospectus
03/01/2019 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP California Housing Bills Impacting 2019
01/23/2019 Publication Client Update Planning Commission Meeting to Discuss Draft Downtown Oakland Specific Plan
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04/01/2018 Publication Contra Costa Lawyer Update on Housing Projects in Contra Costa Developers_ Innovative Ways to Help Cities Address the Housing Crisis
01/03/2018 Publication Amara Morrison and Todd Williams Slate of New Housing Bills Take Effect January 1, 2018
03/27/2017 Publication Neal Parish and Todd Williams California Supreme Court Rules Public Employees’ Personal Email Accounts are Subject to CA Public Records Act
05/20/2016 Publication Todd Williams Governor Seeks to Streamline Approval of Multifamily Housing Projects
04/20/2016 Publication Robert W. Selna Oakland City Council Approves Impact Fees
03/24/2016 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP Oakland Proposed Developer Fees Updated March 24, 2016
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01/29/2016 Publication San Francisco Chronicle Ideas to turn abandoned Oakland properties into affordable homes
01/25/2016 Publication Robert Selna Oakland Proposed Developer Fees Summary
09/28/2015 Publication Todd Williams Governor Signs AB2 Allowing for a New Tool to Combat Blight in Disadvantaged Communities
06/29/2015 Publication Neal Parish and Todd Williams Inclusionary Housing Stays
06/17/2015 Publication Neal Parish California Supreme Court Endorses City Authority to Adopt Inclusionary Housing Ordinance
03/03/2015 Publication Wendel Rosen LLP CA Supreme Court Provides Key CEQA Guidance Regarding Categorical Exemptions
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08/07/2014 Publication Todd Williams No CEQA Required When Agencies Adopt Citizen Sponsored Initiatives

Events

Bisnow East Bay Multifamily Update

Bisnow East Bay Multifamily Update

08/19/2021 | Bisnow

Wendel Rosen proudly sponsors Bisnow’s East Bay Multifamily Update on August 19, 2021. Todd Williams, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group Chair and Partner, will moderate a discussion with industry…

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Density Bonus: a Strong Development Tool Gets Stronger

Density Bonus: a Strong Development Tool Gets Stronger

06/02/2021 | Wendel Rosen LLP

Amara Morrison and Todd Williams partners in Wendel Rosen’s Land Use Practice Group, discussed the recent legislative changes to the Density Bonus Law, and how the law works to benefit…

Full Article
Oakland Outlook 2021

Oakland Outlook 2021

03/30/2021 | The Registry

Real Estate Partner Daniel Myers joined key industry leaders at the Oakland Outlook 2021 hosted by The Registry on March 30, 2021.  The dynamic panel discussed the real estate outlook…

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Date Category Host Title
03/26/2021 Conference Panel League of California Cities How to Prepare Findings and Conditions of Approval
12/05/2019 Sponsorship San Francisco Business Times Oakland Structures
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11/18/2019 Conference Panel Bay Planning Coalition BPC Expert Briefing: CEQA Update 2019
10/29/2019 Conference Panel, Event SPUR How Oakland is Responding to Opportunity Zones
09/19/2019 Sponsorship Jobs & Housing Coalition Jobs & Housing Coalition 2019 Legacy Event
05/11/2019 Sponsorship Bay Planning Coalition BPC 2019 Spring Summit
02/23/2019 Seminar American Planning Association California Chapter Northern 2019 Legal Updates; to Cannabis SB 35
01/16/2019 Seminar IRWA Bay Area Chapter 2 Annual Legal Update
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01/15/2019 Seminar National Business Institute Marijuana Business Law in California
12/20/2018 Seminar Wendel Rosen LLP Landlords & Cannabis Workshop – Leasing to a Cannabis Tenant
04/19/2018 Sponsorship Bisnow Alameda County Multifamily & Mixed-Use Expansion
01/09/2018 Seminar Wendel Rosen LLP Demystifying the New 2018 Housing Laws and Update on Major Oakland Projects
05/09/2017 Sponsorship Bisnow Bisnow – Oakland Multifamily & Mixed-Use Rise and Expansion 2017
11/10/2016 Sponsorship Bisnow Oakland Construction & Development: The Boom Continues!
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10/21/2016 Seminar Contra Costa County Bar Association What Every Real Estate Attorney Should Know About CEQA
04/12/2016 Seminar Wendel Rosen Client Seminar The Latest on Oakland’s Development Impact Fees and the California Supreme Court’s Steps to Rein in CEQA
02/23/2016 Sponsorship Bisnow Bisnow – Oakland State of the Market
02/17/2016 Seminar Alameda County Bar Association What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About CEQA + New Supreme Court Developments
02/09/2016 Seminar Commercial Real Estate Women Land Entitlements
11/10/2015 Seminar Wendel Rosen Client Seminar Easy In, Not Always So Easy Out
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10/06/2015 Seminar Bay Planning Coalition Bay Planning Coalition CEQA Update
09/15/2015 Seminar Wendel Rosen Client Seminar Keeping Your Infill Project on the Approval Track
04/14/2015 Seminar Wendel Rosen Client Seminar This Land is … Whose Land?
03/27/2014 Seminar League of California Cities Planning in an Adversarial Environment
01/22/2014 Seminar League of California Cities Policy Role in Land Use Planning
05/01/2013 Seminar A New Look at the New Oakland Coliseum District
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11/30/2012 Seminar San Francisco Business Times Oakland Structures with the San Francisco Business Times
09/25/2012 Seminar East Bay Rising with The Registry
04/26/2012 Seminar Bay Planning Coalition 25th Annual Decisionmakers Conference – The Maritime Bay: Its Economic Importance to the Northern California Economy

News

Permitting Efforts Support Local Resource for Persons with Eating Disorders

Permitting Efforts Support Local Resource for Persons with Eating Disorders

05/01/2021 | Lafayette Social

An article published in Lafayette Social celebrates the great work done by Dr. Leslie Gee and her team at Monte Nido East Bay program. At its core, Wendel Rosen will always work to…

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Oakland Planning Commission Approves Final Development Permits for West Oakland BART Station

Oakland Planning Commission Approves Final Development Permits for West Oakland BART Station

11/18/2020 | San Francisco Business Times

Photo Courtesy of JRDV Architects Wendel Rosen attorneys Amara Morrison and Todd Williams represented Strategic Urban Development Alliance, a member of the development team BART selected to entitle and develop…

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Wendel Rosen Scores Six “Tier 1” Rankings on Best Law Firms List

Wendel Rosen Scores Six “Tier 1” Rankings on Best Law Firms List

11/05/2020 | Wendel Rosen LLP

Wendel Rosen LLP, one of the largest and most widely-recognized law firms in the East Bay, has been named to the 2021 Best Law Firms list published by U.S. News & World…

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Date Category Publication Title
11/04/2020 In the NewsNews Daily Journal   Patricia Curtin Named Among 2020 Top Women Lawyers by the Daily Journal
07/13/2020 Press Release Wendel Rosen LLP  Wendel Rosen Attorneys Selected to 2020 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars List
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06/01/2020 COVID-19 Articles Wendel Rosen LLP  Governor Issues Executive Order Suspending CEQA Deadlines for 60 Days and Revising Related Noticing Procedures
05/26/2020 Press Release Wendel Rosen LLP  Amara Morrison Selected to San Francisco Business Times’ Most Influential Women of 2020
05/14/2020 Firm News Wendel Rosen LLP  Les Hausrath Appointed to Land Trust of Napa County Board of Trustees
04/29/2020 COVID-19 Articles Wendel Rosen LLP  New Bay Area Shelter-in-Place Orders Permit All Construction to Resume
04/21/2020 COVID-19 Articles Wendel Rosen LLP  State Legislators Criticize Bay Area Health Officers’ “Arbitrary” Shelter-in-Place Rules Limiting Housing Construction
04/15/2020 COVID-19 Articles Wendel Rosen LLP  Alameda County Health Officer Rebukes Oakland Over Interpretation of Alameda County’s Shelter-in-Place Order Regarding Residential Construction
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04/09/2020 COVID-19 Articles Wendel Rosen LLP  Oakland’s Updated Rules for Construction During Alameda County’s Shelter in Place
04/03/2020 In the News San Francisco Chronicle  Zack Wasserman Discusses the New Study Released on Sea-Level Rise in the Bay Area
04/01/2020 COVID-19 Articles Wendel Rosen LLP  Bay Area Counties’ Extended Shelter-In-Place Order Imposes Strict Limits on Development and Construction
03/19/2020 COVID-19 Articles Wendel Rosen LLP  Impacts of the Bay Area Shelter-In-Place Orders on Development and Related Litigation
12/03/2019 In the News San Francisco Business Times  Zack Wasserman Comments on Oakland A’s Stadium Development
12/03/2019 In the News The Mercury News  Todd Williams Reviews Court Decision Affecting Charter Cities and Housing Laws
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11/25/2019 In the News The Mercury News  Todd Williams Comments on Application and Use of SB 35 Statewide
11/01/2019 Press Release Wendel Rosen LLP  Wendel Rosen Scores Seven “Tier 1” Rankings on Best Lawyers 2020 Best Law Firms List
10/10/2019 Press Release Wendel Rosen   Wendel Rosen’s Amara Morrison Appointed to Bay Planning Coalition Board of Directors
10/02/2019 Press Release Wendel Rosen   Wendel Rosen Boosts Land Use Practice With Addition of Patrick Tuck
08/19/2019 Press Release Wendel Rosen  Wendel Rosen Lands 12 in 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America
07/09/2019 Press Release   Wendel Rosen’s Patricia Curtin and Amara Morrison Named Real Estate Forum “Women of Influence”
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06/01/2019 News Nob Hill Gazette  On the Waterfront
01/09/2019 News Daily Journal  AB 2923: BART Transit-Oriented Housing Legislation
11/20/2017 Press Release   Wendel Rosen Receives Five “Tier 1” on Best Lawyers 2018 Best Law Firms List
08/15/2017 Press Release   Firm Lands 10 Attorneys in 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America
03/10/2017 Press Release   Wendel Rosen Partner R. Zachary Wasserman Elected Chair of Bay Area Regional Collaborative
11/02/2016 Press Release   Wendel Rosen Scores Top Tier “Best Law Firms” Rankings Once Again
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06/23/2016 Press Release   Three Wendel Rosen Attorneys Named to SF Business Times List of Most Influential Women in 2016
05/04/2016 Press Release   Firm Adds Three Attorneys and Broadens East Bay Land Use and Real Estate Footprint
11/11/2015 Press Release   Firm Named to Sixth Annual “Best Law Firms” List
10/29/2015 Press Release San Francisco Business Times  Patricia Curtin Honored as a Northern California Real Estate Woman of Influence
05/12/2015 Press Release San Francisco Business Times  Patricia Curtin Named a Most Influential Woman in Business