Cox Castle's Land Use team of over 30 attorneys guides clients strategically and efficiently through the complex and dynamic processes that define California land use. Our attorneys have unparalleled expertise in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which pervades almost every aspect of California land use work. We understand that project development involves both a legal framework and political considerations, which allows us to serve as strategic legal counselors to help our clients achieve their development goals.

We advise clients on every phase of the land use/development process, from pre-acquisition due diligence and entitlement strategy to environmental compliance to certificates of occupancy. We have successfully helped clients navigate the entitlement process in every forum (legislative, administrative, and judicial) for virtually every kind of development project, including:

  • Housing (single family, multifamily, affordable, senior, master-planned and mixed-use communities)
  • Office/R&D (office, research and development, life science, corporate campus)
  • Retail (shopping center, lifestyle center)
  • Hospitality (hotel, resort, timeshare, online lodging services)
  • Industrial (warehouse/distribution, logistics, manufacturing, landfill, quarry)
  • Healthcare (hospital, assisted living, medical office building)
  • Renewable Energy (wind, solar, battery, green hydrogen, geothermal)
  • Educational Institutions (schools, colleges, and universities)

We maintain strong working relationships with federal, state, and local government officials and staff at every level in jurisdictions across the state, enabling us to effectively advocate for our clients’ objectives. We also serve as members and leaders of a range of industry, trade, government, and political organizations, further expanding our network. In a highly political environment, these key relationships often make the difference in achieving our clients’ objectives.

Entitlements and Permitting

Our entitlements practice spans the full range of local, state, and federal land use and environmental administrative processes:

Local Land Use Approvals

We help secure the full array of local land use approvals, including general plan amendments, specific plans, zoning changes, conditional use permits, variances, design review, subdivision approvals, historic resource approvals and annexation. We counsel clients on issues involving fees and exactions, conditions of approval, compliance with local requirements, such as transportation demand management plans and reach codes, and, as discussed below, environmental clearance, including CEQA and NEPA strategy and compliance.

Environmental Review

We have advised clients on literally thousands of documents prepared to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We stay current on the increasingly complex and technical issues involved in the analysis of impacts to biological resources, endangered species, transportation, greenhouse gas emissions, air quality and health risk assessment, water supply and cultural and tribal cultural resources.

Housing Law

We keep pace with the rapidly changing field of housing law, advising clients on issues including the Density Bonus Law, Housing Accountability Act, Housing Crisis Act, SB 35, AB 2011, SB 6, inclusionary and other affordable housing requirements, and Housing Element Law. We track and regularly report on the latest legislative developments to keep our clients current.

Vested Rights

We regularly counsel our clients in securing vested rights to their entitlements, including filing preliminary applications for housing projects, processing vesting tentative maps, and negotiating development agreements in jurisdictions across the state.

Ballot Measures

Our attorneys advise clients on the strategic use of initiatives as a component of the entitlements process, including drafting the measures and coordinating with political advisors. We also counsel clients defending against referendum measures challenging their entitlements.

Resource Agency Permits

If a project will impact sensitive biological or aquatic resources (coastal, riparian, wetlands, navigable waters, etc.) we help guide applicants through the permitting processes to obtain state and local permits from a variety of agencies, including the US Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and the state and regional water boards.

In addition to cities and counties, our land use agency experience includes the state and regional water boards, air districts, the Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, the California Coastal Commission, the State Lands Commission, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the California State Office of Historic Preservation, the Building Standards Commission, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the Native American Heritage Commission and other regulatory and advisory agencies.






Related News & Publications

Jump to Page

By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.