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


  • Represented landowner in CEQA action challenging the county’s approval of Specific Plan amendments, the environmental impact report and development agreement for a large commercial and residential project on neighboring property

  • Represented real party in interest and worked with city to defend city’s reliance on CEQA exemptions in approving a mixed-use, transit oriented infill development project

  • Obtained approval of new roller coaster for amusement park over significant neighbor opposition and following more than 20 public hearings

  • Represented developer and worked with city in the preparation and approval of a joint EIS/EIR for a large residential and commercial development project on real property transferred pursuant to the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Act

  • Represented developer in negotiating complex construction, loan, intercreditor and lease agreements for acquisition, financing, construction and leasing of the $72 million mixed-use center, which included a jazz museum, condominiums, restaurants and parking.

  • Represented client in dispute involving the State’s claim that real property was subject to the public trust

  • Resolved numerous eminent domain cases for a public entity on favorable terms involving complex acquisitions for grade separation projects affecting access, circulation and parking.

  • Received favorable court ruling in a case involving a city’s improper suspension of an issued building permit and enactment of an emergency ordinance to prevent construction of the client’s project

  • Negotiated acquisition of adjacent surplus land from neighboring public entity to allow clients to maintain and expand their yard and create buffer from incompatible uses

  • Obtained a $27 million verdict for a shopping center owner in an eminent domain case involving acquisition of a significant portion of the center’s parking for a transit station

  • Representing owners of coastal property, obtained a ruling from the California Court of Appeal, that a State Lands Commission policy restricting coastal development was an illegal, underground regulation and could not be used to prevent the landowners from developing their property. (Bollay v. California Office of Administrative Law, et al., California Court of Appeal Case No. C 063268 (Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 34-2008-80000072).)



Impacts of the Bay Area Shelter-In-Place Orders on Development and Related Litigation

Impacts of the Bay Area Shelter-In-Place Orders on Development and Related Litigation

03/19/2020 | Client Update

As of March 18, 2020, eleven Bay Area and neighboring counties have issued Shelter-in-Place orders, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and…

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City of Oakland Releases Opportunity Zone Prospectus

City of Oakland Releases Opportunity Zone Prospectus

06/20/2019 | Client Update

On June 11, 2019, the City of Oakland released an Opportunity Zone prospectus. The 37-page document is intended to describe Oakland’s goals for the federal tax incentive program, highlight the…

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California Housing Bills Impacting 2019

California Housing Bills Impacting 2019

03/01/2019 | Client Update

2019 welcomed a host of new bills in California aimed at the development of housing. Here’s a summary. AB 2923: Transit-Oriented Development on BART-Owned Land (Chiu and Grayson) This legislation…

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Date Category Publication Title
01/23/2019 Publication Client Update Planning Commission Meeting to Discuss Draft Downtown Oakland Specific Plan
04/01/2018 Publication Contra Costa Lawyer Update on Housing Projects in Contra Costa Developers_ Innovative Ways to Help Cities Address the Housing Crisis
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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 Robert Selna and Todd Williams Oakland Proposed Developer Fees Updated March 24, 2016
01/29/2016 Publication San Francisco Chronicle Ideas to turn abandoned Oakland properties into affordable homes
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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 Client Update CA Supreme Court Provides Key CEQA Guidance Regarding Categorical Exemptions
08/07/2014 Publication Todd Williams No CEQA Required When Agencies Adopt Citizen Sponsored Initiatives
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BPC Expert Briefing: CEQA Update 2019

BPC Expert Briefing: CEQA Update 2019

11/18/2019 | Bay Planning Coalition

Wendel Rosen is pleased to host the BPC Expert Briefing: CEQA Update on Monday, November 18, 2019 from 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM at Wendel Rosen LLP. Join land use…

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How Oakland is Responding to Opportunity Zones

How Oakland is Responding to Opportunity Zones

10/29/2019 | SPUR

Join Land Use Partner Rob Selna on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 who will join a dynamic panel to discuss Opportunity Zones. Event Description The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of…

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Jobs & Housing Coalition 2019 Legacy Event

Jobs & Housing Coalition 2019 Legacy Event

09/19/2019 | Jobs & Housing Coalition

Wendel Rosen is proud to sponsor the Jobs & Housing Coalition’s 2019 Legacy Event. The Legacy Event is Oakland’s biggest salute to trailblazing business and civic leaders. In 2019, the…

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Date Category Host Title
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
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01/16/2019 Seminar IRWA Bay Area Chapter 2 Annual Legal Update
01/15/2019 Seminar National Business Institute Marijuana Business Law in California
12/20/2018 Seminar Robert Selna 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 Client Seminar 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
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11/10/2016 Sponsorship Bisnow Oakland Construction & Development: The Boom Continues!
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
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11/10/2015 Seminar Wendel Rosen Client Seminar Easy In, Not Always So Easy Out
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
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05/01/2013 Seminar A New Look at the New Oakland Coliseum District
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


Zack Wasserman Comments on Oakland A’s Stadium Development

Zack Wasserman Comments on Oakland A’s Stadium Development

12/03/2019 | San Francisco Business Times

In the San Francisco Business Times article “A’s try to win at Oakland stadium game,” Partner Zack Wasserman looks at the recent developments affecting the construction of a new stadium…

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Todd Williams Reviews Court Decision Affecting Charter Cities and Housing Laws

Todd Williams Reviews Court Decision Affecting Charter Cities and Housing Laws

12/03/2019 | The Mercury News

Partner Todd A. Williams recently spoke with The Mercury News regarding the Sixth District Court of Appeal’s decision that San Jose and other California charter cities must abide by the…

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Todd Williams Comments on Application and Use of SB 35 Statewide

Todd Williams Comments on Application and Use of SB 35 Statewide

11/25/2019 | The Mercury News

Following a recent discussion with The Mercury News, Partner Todd A. Williams is quoted in the article “Is California’s most controversial new housing production law working?,” discussing SB 35, a…

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Date Category Publication Title
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
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10/02/2019 In the News San Francisco Chronicle  Land Use Partner Robert Selna Comments on San Francisco Rezoning Settlement
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
07/10/2019 Press Release   Wendel Rosen Elevates Robert W. Selna to Partner, Continues to Activate Firmwide Growth
07/09/2019 Press Release   Wendel Rosen’s Patricia Curtin and Amara Morrison Named Real Estate Forum “Women of Influence”
06/01/2019 News Nob Hill Gazette  On the Waterfront
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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
06/23/2016 Press Release   Three Wendel Rosen Attorneys Named to SF Business Times List of Most Influential Women in 2016
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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
08/07/2015 Press Release   Firm Welcomes Robert Selna to its Land Use and Real Estate Practice Groups
05/12/2015 Press Release San Francisco Business Times  Patricia Curtin Named a Most Influential Woman in Business