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  • Kathy Jenson, Chair
    Phone: (714) 641-3413

Land Use/Natural Resources

Practice Overview

Rutan & Tucker’s Land Use/Natural Resources Practice Group integrates the expertise of its Government and Regulatory Law department and its Real Estate department to offer a complete range of land use and environmental law services to clients in both the public and private sectors.

Our public agency work has deep roots: Early in the last century, Rutan drafted the legislation that created the Orange County Water District. Since then, Rutan has become synonymous with government agency law, participating in the creation and operation of several cities and special districts in Southern California, the expansion of the Anaheim Resort area, and the redevelopment of the Port of Long Beach, one of the world’s busiest industrial ports. Rutan is the contract city attorney for twelve municipalities in Southern California and special counsel to dozens more; we also represent successor agencies, school districts, water districts, community service districts, and municipal financing authorities throughout the state.

Rutan’s extensive public sector experience offers a unique perspective that benefits its private clients, as well. Rutan routinely advises residential, commercial, and industrial developers, and can guide a project from the due diligence/land acquisition stage, through the entitlement process, and ultimately to the sale or leasing of the finished product. Should litigation arise, Rutan has experienced trial attorneys to protect the interests of our clients, whether public or private.

Rutan represents clients on all aspects of the land use entitlement process, including compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Complementing our entitlement expertise, we advise clients on government relations, lobbying, and community outreach efforts. We routinely represent clients in all types of land use litigation disputes, with particular expertise in cases involving exactions, dedications, and fees.

Although Rutan originated in Orange County, Rutan attorneys also advise property owners, developers, and public agencies on land use and natural resource matters in Northern California. From its centrally located office in the Silicon Valley, Rutan represents clients on all aspects of the land use entitlement process, government relations, lobbying, and community outreach efforts. Rutan attorneys also serve as special counsel to multiple public agencies throughout the Bay Area, advising on land use, CEQA, and NEPA matters.

No other California law firm can match Rutan’s century of experience in both the public and private sides of land use and natural resources law. No one has our commitment to service and value. We stand ready to put this breadth and depth of experience to work for you.

Areas of Specialization

  • Air Quality permitting and regulations
  • California Coastal Act permitting
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • Development agreements
  • Election Law
  • Endangered Species Acts (State and Federal)
  • Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) / California Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCP)
  • Initiative/referendum and political advocacy
  • Mitigation Fee Act
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Political Law
  • Real estate development infrastructure financing (Mello Act, Community Facilities District)
  • Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act of 2000
  • Renewable Energy
  • Storm water and development run-off issues
  • Subdivision Map Act
  • Water Quality permitting and regulations
  • Water Law
  • Wetlands (Clean Water Act Section 404 Wetlands Fill Permits, California Fish & Game Code Section 1600 Streambed Alteration Agreements)
  • Writ of mandate, inverse condemnation, and Civil Rights (42 U.S.C. section 1983) land use litigation
  • Zoning, planning, and land use entitlements