Steve’s career in real estate law spans three decades and numerous changes in environmental and land use regulations. Focusing on California’s Central Coast, Steve represents property owners and businesses seeking development permits and other governmental approvals. As land use rules have become more complex and unpredictable, he has also increasingly provided pre-acquisition due diligence counsel.
Steve regularly counsels developers, public agencies, businesses and homeowners, including coastal property owners, on land development issues such as securing land use permits (including coastal permits and major general plan and zoning amendments). He also serves as general counsel to a regional water agency and a local sanitary district.
In addition, Steve has significant experience in counseling established businesses and associations, including a prestigious private school, a movie theater corporation and a ranch owners association. He also represents a number of public agencies and advises businesses and individuals facing problems with public agencies. For example, he advised a major California water agency in the permitting, financing, planning and construction of a $600 million water distribution system and treatment plant and, more recently, represented a California special district in securing permits for construction of a new trunk line extending through multiple jurisdictions and abandonment of a portion of an existing trunk line partially located in a state and federally designated wetland.
Much of Steve’s work concerns matters that involve California’s Central Coast, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. He is among the best attorneys in California when it comes to coastal land use regulations for residential and commercial developments.
In recent years, Steve has counseled the owner of a 25,000-acre cattle ranch, one of the largest remaining undeveloped properties along the California coast, on land use, Coastal Act and environmental issues. He has also advised a major national utility in securing land use permits for a system upgrade on the Central Coast and represented a major California residential builder in securing permits for a beach-area condominium project, including successful environmental litigation defending those permits.
Environmental impact analyses are part of doing business for anyone developing land in California. A significant part of Steve’s practice involves reviewing environmental impact reports and advising clients on what steps need to be taken prior to land development to ensure compliance with state law. From extensive experience representing clients and as a former land use and environmental attorney for the City of Los Angeles, he is thoroughly familiar with the process associated with environmental review.
Court Admissions — U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Central District of California
General Counsel to the Goleta West Sanitary District, a public agency that provides wastewater collection and treatment services to 6000 customers in the Goleta Valley. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck provides the District with advice on public agency operations, including meeting procedures, Brown Act compliance, conflict of interest issues, personnel, and public facility contracting. Brownstein attorneys also negotiate on behalf of the District with other local public agencies, including the University of California, Santa Barbara and the County of Santa Barbara.
Advising various property owners at Hollister Ranch with respect to public access issues.
Representing a company that owns a 270-acre ranch outside Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County in seeking approvals for three hotels, 20 homes, retail and associated improvements. The approvals will include annexation to Paso Robles, subdivision, and development permits.
Representing a beachfront property owner in Santa Barbara who is facing a condemnation lawsuit from the City of Santa Barbara for reconstruction of a bridge adjacent to the property.