Tim Paone



Experience doesn't make us smarter, but it does steer us to solutions where the less-experienced might only see problems. Experienced land use counsel is particularly critical in California, for it is here that creative "been down this path before" thinking is needed to meet the challenges of an often-daunting convergence of federal, state, and local land use regulation.

Focusing on CEQA, the Coastal Act, Development Agreements, planning and entitlement, and land use litigation, Tim’s practice takes him to communities from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. He has successfully defended his clients' projects in courtrooms throughout the State.

His insight has been shaped by work on some of California's most complex entitlement efforts, experience in private land development, years as a real estate and land use litigator, and public service. As a result, he provides an uncommon blend of experience, technical expertise, and strategic thinking focused on getting that "Yes" from government.

Tim has managed entitlement for a major landowner’s properties in Newport Beach, Anaheim, and Orange, served as a Planning Commission Chairman and a Governor's appointee to the California Law Revision Commission, and taught Environmental Law Practice as an Adjunct Law Professor. His experience and expertise were recently honored with his selection by his peers as the Orange County “Lawyer of the Year” for Land Use and Zoning, as published in the 2020 edition of the highly respected The Best Lawyers in America. In 2012, Tim was named by California's leading legal publication, The Daily Journal, as one of "California's Top 30 Real Estate Lawyers."

As part of Cox Castle & Nicholson's Land Use & Natural Resources team, Tim brings to his clients the considerable resources of one of the largest full-service real estate law firms in the nation. The Cox Castle land use team was honored by US News & World Report in 2015, 2018, and 2020 as the nation's "Law Firm of the Year" for Land Use and Zoning.



Litigation: CEQA, Coastal Act, takings, and other land use litigation in Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and San Francisco counties.


Coastal Zone Projects: Aerie (Newport Beach), Bolsa Chica (Huntington Beach), Newport Coast (County of Orange, Newport Beach), Villa Venetia (Marina del Rey), Hoag Hospital  (Newport Beach), Paradiso del Mare (County of Santa Barbara), Windward (Huntington Beach), and single-family homes in Carlsbad and Newport Beach.

Single-Family Residential Projects / Communities: Baker Ranch (Lake Forest), Paseo del Sol (Temecula), Sommers Bend (Temecula), Brookside (Walnut), Bolsa Chica (Huntington Beach), Newport Coast (Newport Beach), Paradiso del Mare (County of Santa Barbara), Windward (Huntington Beach), Deep Creek (County of San Bernardino), SouthShore (Oxnard), Pacific Point (San Juan Capistrano), One Ford Road (Newport Beach), Colby Circle Townhomes (Claremont), Tustin Ranch (Tustin).

Multi-Family Projects: Aerie (blufftop condominiums, Newport Beach), Eleven10 West (260 units, Orange), Villa Venetia (240 waterfront units, Marina del Rey), The Marc (416 units, San Marcos), Alexan Orangewood (1000 units, Platinum Triangle, Anaheim), Bayview Landing (seniors affordable housing, Newport Beach), 1901 E 1st Street (254 units, Santa Ana), Colby Circle (Claremont).

Malls: Santa Monica Place (Santa Monica), Fashion Island (Newport Beach), Garden Walk (Anaheim).

Retail Projects: Retailers in Newport Beach, Oxnard, Santa Ana, Laguna Beach, San Clemente, and Anaheim. "Big Box" entitlement and litigation in Anaheim, Torrance, Perris, Ontario, among others.

Mixed Use Projects: Gene Autry Experience (Platinum Triangle, Anaheim), Alexan Pacific Grove (278 units, Orange), Palomar Station (San Marcos), and Vantis (Aliso Viejo).

Commercial/Industrial Projects: Pacific Commercentre (County of Orange), Baker Ranch (County of Orange), various projects in Orange and Los Angeles counties and throughout Inland Empire.

Oilfield Operations: Newport Banning Ranch, a coastal oil field in Newport Beach.

Hotels: A five-star resort in Dana Point, boutique hotel and tennis club in Newport Beach.

Health Care Facilities: Major hospital campus expansion (Newport Beach), Oasis Wellness Village MOB Master Plan (Palmdale), an 80-bed acute psychiatric care facility (Mission Viejo)

Schools and Churches: A private school in Orange, a Cathedral in Santa Ana, a church and entertainment center in Anaheim, school mitigation agreements in many communities.

Open Space/Recreational: County Regional Park dedications (Upper Newport Bay, Back Bay, and Upper Peters Canyon), Bayview Park (Newport Beach).

Publications &
Speaking Engagements


“Takings Claims: The U.S. Supreme Court Just Cleared the Path to Federal Court,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, June 21, 2019

“What Will Really Solve California’s Housing Crisis?” Globe St. Interview, March 2017

“Surprise! California Has a Housing Crisis,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, January 2017

“Housing Crisis? What Housing Crisis? Someone Better Tell California’s Legislature,” LinkedIn, February 2017

“Commercial Development: A City That Thinks Outside the (Parking) Box,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, January 2017

“Environmental Justice in California’s Coastal Zone,” LinkedIn, December 2016

“Environmental Justice is Coming to California General Plans,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, November 2016

“Avco at 40: What it Really Said About Vested Rights in California,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, October 2016

“Community Character is Not a CEQA Issue – Unless It’s About Aesthetics,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, April 2016

“How Will Justice Scalia’s Passing Impact Land Use?” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, February 2016

“Divergent Views on Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Decision,”  The Planning Report, August 2015

Speaking Engagements

“Development Agreements and Vested Rights,” Lorman Webinar, July 2017

“An Introduction to the Coastal Commission,” BIA/OC NextGen Politics of Land Use Workshop Series, March 2017 (Presenter)

“Preparing for Opposition to Your Land Use Approval,” BIA/OC NextGen Politics of Land Use Workshop Series, November 2016 (Moderator)

“Sense of Entitlement,” BIA/OC NextGen Politics of Land Use Workshop Series, October 2016 (Moderator)

SB 743: Examining Potential Consequences and Solutions,” Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) 2015 Conference in Santa Barbara, March 2015 

“SB 743:  A Game Changer?” County Counsel's Association of California, 2014 Spring Public Works and Contracts & Environmental Law and Regulation Conference, San Diego, May 2014.

“The Impacts of SB 743,” ULI Infrastructure Council, Orange County/Inland Empire, April 2014.

"Water Supply Issues in California," IHP Quarterly Dealmakers Roundtable, March 2014

Awards &

Awards & Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2020 Edition, “Lawyer of the Year,” Land Use & Zoning Law, Orange County
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Land Use & Zoning Law, 2007-2021
  • California's Top 30 Real Estate Lawyers for 2012, The Daily Journal

Public Service

  • California Law Revision Commission, 1985-1989 (Appointee of Governor George Deukmejian)
  • Huntington Beach Planning Commission, 1978-1980, 1981-1983; Chairman: 1979, 1982-1983

Professional Affiliations

  • Building Industry Association of Orange County, Board of Directors, 1994-2006, Executive Committee, 1995-1996, Housing Committee, Co-Chair, 2000-2009
  • Chapman University School of Law, Adjunct Professor (Environmental Law Practice), 2005-2011
  • Urban Land Institute, Orange County/Inland Empire

Community Affiliations

  • Community Foundation of Orange, Board of Directors, 2001-2009, President, 2006-2008
  • Foundation for the Great Park, Board of Directors, 2005-2013
  • Home Aid Orange County, Board of Directors, 1998-2014, Executive Committee, 2006-2009; 2011-2014
  • Orange County Youth Sports Foundation, Board of Directors, 1977-Present; President, 1981-1982

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California


  • J.D., University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, 1975
  • B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1972