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.
For more than four decades, Tim's insight has been shaped by work on some of California's most complex entitlement projects, experience in private land development, years as a real estate and land use litigator, and public service. As a result, he brings to landowners and developers an uncommon blend of experience, technical expertise, and creative strategic thinking focused on getting that "Yes" from government.
Tim’s experience and expertise were recently honored through his selection by his peers as the Orange County “Lawyer of the Year” for Land Use and Zoning Law, 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."
Tim's practice focuses on CEQA, the Coastal Act, Development Agreements, local planning and entitlements, and land use litigation. His entitlement practice takes him to communities from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. He has successfully defended his clients' projects in courtrooms throughout the State.
Tim has managed entitlement for The Irvine Company'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 School Professor.
As part of Cox Castle & Nicholson's Land Use & Natural Resources practice group, Tim brings to his clients the considerable resources of one of the largest full-service real estate law firms in the United States. The Cox Castle land use team was honored by US News & World Report in 2015 and again in 2018 as the nation's "Law Firm of the Year" for land use and zoning. And for 2019 and 2020 alone, four members of that team have been named “Lawyers of the Year” in their regions, reflecting the depth and strength of each of our California offices (Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Francisco). US News also accords each of those offices the highest possible “Tier 1” recognition in both Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning Law.
- California Law Revision Commission, 1985-1989 (Appointee of Governor George Deukmejian)
- Huntington Beach Planning Commission, 1978-1980, 1981-1983; Chairman: 1979, 1982-1983
- Chapman University School of Law, Adjunct Professor (Environmental Law Practice), 2005-2011
- Building Industry Association of Orange County, Board of Directors, 1994-2006
- Building Industry Association of Orange County, Executive Committee, 1995-1996
- Building Industry Association of Orange County, Housing Committee, Co-Chair, 2000-2009
- California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter, Advisory Board, 1995-1999
- Urban Land Institute, Orange County/Inland Empire
- Community Foundation of Orange, Founding Member, Board of Directors, 2001-2009
- Community Foundation of Orange, President, 2006-2008
- Foundation for the Great Park, Board of Directors, 2005-2013
- Home Aid Orange County, Board of Directors, 1998-2014
- Home Aid Orange County, Executive Committee, 2006-2009; 2011-2014
- Orange County Forum, Board of Directors, 1995-2005
- Orange County Youth Sports Foundation, Board of Directors, 1977-Present
- Orange County Youth Sports Foundation, President, 1981-1982
- Servite High School, Anaheim, President's Advisory Board, 1998-2010
- “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 18, 2017
- “Commercial Development: A City That Thinks Outside the (Parking) Box,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, January 9, 2017
- “Environmental Justice in California’s Coastal Zone,” LinkedIn, December 16, 2016
- “Environmental Justice is Coming to California General Plans,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, November 29, 2016
- “Avco at 40: What it Really Said About Vested Rights In California,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, October 31, 2016
- “Community Character is Not a CEQA Issue – Unless It’s About Aesthetics,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, April 20, 2016
- “How Will Justice Scalia’s Passing Impact Land Use?,” Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, February 22, 2016
- “Divergent Views on Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Decision,” The Planning Report, August 2015
- “Mixed-Income Development: The California Supreme Court Declares that San Jose’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance is Valid,” Co-Authored with Kenneth Bley, Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, June 15, 2015
- “The Potential Impacts of SB 743: Did the Legislature Double Dribble?,” Co-Authored with Tony Petros and JoAnn Hadfield, The Nexus, Association of Environmental Professionals, January 2015 (also, Lay of the Land, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, December 7, 2014)
- “Global Climate Change Impacts Land Use,” Globe St. Interview, December 2014
- “Evaluating California’s Transportation Metrics,” Co-Author with Tony Petros and JoAnn Hadfield, Urban Land Magazine, Urban Land Institute, November 2014
- “The Ever-Changing Effects of Climate Change on Land Planning,” Association of Environmental Professionals State Conference, Monterey, March 2019
- “Wetlands 101,” BIA/OC NextGen Politics of Land Use Workshop Series March 2019
- “Avoiding the Unequal Burdens of the Past: The Future Role of Environmental Justice in CEQA,” Association of Environmental Professionals State Conference, Rancho Mirage, March 2018
- “Development Agreements 101,” BIA/OC NextGen Politics of Land Use Workshop Series, February 2018
- “Turning Point: Orange County in the 80’s,” BIA/OC NextGen Politics of Land Use Workshop Series, September 2017
- “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
- “Opposition to Your Land Use Approval,” BIA/OC NextGen Politics of Land Use Workshop Series, November 2016
- “Sense of Entitlement,” BIA/OC NextGen Politics of Land Use Workshop Series, October 2016
- “SB 743: Examining Potential Consequences and Solutions,” Association of Environmental Professionals State Conference,