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California Development Projects

ArentFox Schiff secures land use entitlements for some of California’s most complex and controversial development projects.

To do that, we build strategies from the ground up that are designed to work in partnership with clients’ broader business goals. This means acting as more than just legal counsel.

We offer insight into the political context surrounding a project, work carefully with clients to assemble exemplary consultant teams, develop strategies for building community support, and provide policy guidance in connection with legislative affairs focused on housing and transportation issues.

Project entitlement is not merely the result of aggressive advocacy. Our lawyers have worked on a number of high profile developments that required acute sensitivity to underlying issues and high-level strategic thinking. Success is the result of a fully integrated approach.

In recent years, we have made our name as a go-to firm for Silicon Valley tech heavyweights that are seeking permission to build new corporate campuses.

Our Focus

Our land use attorneys work with clients to secure approvals on a range of developments, including projects involving:

  • Entitlements and permitting
  • Strategic planning
  • Development agreements
  • Environmental review
  • Ballot initiatives and referenda
  • State housing laws
  • Climate change, water, and sustainability
  • Land use litigation

We routinely help clients navigate local, state, and federal land use laws and regulations that make development in California particularly complex, including CEQA, NEPA, the State Planning and Zoning Laws, the Subdivision Map Act, general and specific plans, conditional use permits and variances, zoning, and affordable housing requirements and impact fees.

Our Work

We partner with companies across a range of industries that are focused on innovation, as well as individuals that find themselves navigating land use matters. That work has involved improving neighborhoods with state-of-the-art offices, mixed-use, hotels and resorts, residential, and corporate campuses, advising start-up companies on land use compliance and advocacy, conducting feasibility studies, and participating in land use hearings. Our recent projects include:

  • Facebook Headquarters. We have advised Facebook on all land use aspects of its incredible new headquarters development in Menlo Park, in the heart of Silicon Valley.
  • Bohannon Development Company. We worked with the Bohannon Development Company on its high-profile Menlo Gateway project in Silicon Valley, and supported the nascent stages of its ongoing Re:Imagine Hillsdale project.
  • Los Altos School District. We are facilitating the sale of excess development rights to help fund development of a new school in Mountain View.    
  • Zoning Analyses and Feasibility Studies. Property owners frequently engage us to conduct zoning analyses and feasibility studies, which help inform future plans for a site. In addition, we conduct zoning and land use due diligence in connection with real estate and corporate deals.
  • Public Hearings. We have successfully represented property owners in hearings involving alleged zoning violations.