Scott B. Birkey



Scott is a land use and natural resources lawyer who handles entitlement, compliance, and litigation matters for residential and commercial developers, educational and health-care institutions, and public agencies throughout California.

Secures Land Use Entitlements For Developers

Scott has successfully represented developers in obtaining all forms of land use entitlements, including securing development agreements, vesting and tentative maps, annexations, general plan amendments, rezoning, site development permits, and other land use approvals. His clients include urban infill developers, master-planned community developers, renewable energy developers, and educational and health-care institutions, typically in connection with multiple and complex land use entitlements.

California Natural Resources Permitting Practice

Scott is a leading authority on obtaining permits and approvals under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Section 1603 of the California Fish and Game Code (streambed alteration agreements), and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act (water quality certifications and waste discharge requirements). Scott has extensive experience advising on establishing mitigation banks and conservation easements to satisfy permit obligations, and has participated in the review and preparation of large-scale habitat conservation plans and natural community conservation plans on behalf of both private developers and public agencies. Scott regularly prepares and reviews environmental documents in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Defends Land Use And Natural Resources Litigation

Scott defends project approvals on behalf of residential and commercial developers and public agencies in both state and federal courts. His litigation matters involve challenges to project approvals brought under the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and a variety of California planning and zoning laws. Scott also represents clients in enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Land Use Entitlements

Advised a developer regarding redevelopment of 6.35 acre infill project site, which involved general plan and specific plan amendments in the City of San Jose.

Natural Resources Permitting

Advised a water company in Sacramento Valley regarding a "consistency determination" under the California Endangered Species Act and Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act for installation of fish screens and other water conveyance infrastructure.

Advised a renewable energy company regarding acquisition and compliance with Endangered Species Act incidental take permit, streambed alteration agreement, and waste discharge requirements for a 150 MW wind energy facility in Kern County.

Land Use And Natural Resources Litigation

Represented a homebuilder in litigation filed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act relative to an 80 acre residential development within a specific plan area in Sacramento County.

Represented an academic institution in litigation filed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) related to campus development on an approximately 200 acre project site within a larger long-range development plan.

Publications &
Speaking Engagements

Recent Publications

Recent Speaking Engagements

Awards &

Awards & Recognition

  • Best Lawyers, Land Use & Zoning Law, 2018
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2010; 2013-2018

Professional Affiliations

  • State Bar of California, Environmental Law Section Executive Committee
  • State Bar of California, Environmental Law News, Editor
  • Association of California Water Agencies
  • Bay Planning Coalition
  • Lecturer, Land Use Law, UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)


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Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central, Northern, and Eastern Districts of California


  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), 2000
  • M.S., University of Idaho, 1997
  • B.A., Texas State University, 1994