Zoning, Planning & Land Use

For any real estate project – and particularly in sensitive areas such as the arid Southwest and the Gulf Coast and Pacific Coast regions – regulatory approvals regarding land use and natural resource access can make or break the ultimate success. Developers, owners, lenders and public entities alike rely on our lawyers to resolve land use and environmental concerns that have direct impact on development. Our firm pioneered the use of "specific plans," a land use regulatory tool for large-scale development, and has been active in shaping state and local land use legislation. And any real estate project where there is not existing water service to the property, or where access to water rights is in question, will benefit from our experience with state and local water use regulation. 

Land use concerns can involve straightforward issues such as municipal annexation, subdivision regulation, redevelopment law, development agreements, and impact fees. In such instances you can rely on our experience with local administration of land use regulations, including representation before boards of adjustment and advice on the interpretation and enforcement of zoning regulations. However, when disputes arise, we offer industry and public sector clients our extensive experience in land use law litigation at the trial and appellate court levels. That includes important cases that have dealt with the foremost issues in land development regulation:

  • Compensation for regulatory takings and state land acquisitions
  • Zoning initiatives and referenda
  • Validity of aesthetic regulations, including sign controls and architectural and design review
  • Restrictions on development of environmentally sensitive lands
  • Validity of exactions and development fees
  • Zoning for controversial uses, such as group homes and landfills
  • Hearings and protests over the adequacy of zoning procedures
  • Creation of public improvement districts

Our lawyers have extensive experience in the administrative, legislative and litigation aspects of land use law. This practice is statewide in scope and includes both public and private sector representation.

Administrative Practice 

We routinely practice before city and town councils, county boards of supervisors, boards of adjustment, citizen participation boards and local stakeholders (businesses, neighbors) in connection with the local administration of land use and zoning regulations.  We assist clients with:

  • Rezoning approvals including master planned community zoning approvals (specific plans, planned area developments, planned community developments) 
  • Comprehensive or general plan amendments
  • Variances 
  • Conditional or special use permits

Our team advises clients and negotiates on their behalf in connection with the interpretation and enforcement of zoning and subdivision regulations including:

  • Zoning interpretations 
  • Zoning violations 
  • Subdivision plat or development plan approvals 
  • Administrative approvals of development planning proposals 
  • Zoning due diligence analyses

We also work on behalf of clients to negotiate, adopt and implement:

  • Development agreements 
  • Economic development agreements 
  • Community/neighborhood agreements 
  • Municipal annexations 
  • Redevelopment and urban renewal districts 
  • Impact fees agreements 
  • Public records requests and open meeting law conformance 
  • Government condemnation or eminent domain 
  • Governmental finance mechanisms including public improvements districts and community facilities districts 
  • Planning and acquisition of state lands 
  • Conservation easements

Legislative Practice 

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie’s land use attorneys are active in the drafting and adoption of land use legislation at the municipal, county and state levels, including practice before planning commissions, local governing bodies and the state legislature.

Litigation Practice 

The firm’s lawyers have been active in land use law litigation at the trial and appellate court levels, representing both local governments and private developers and landowners. They have been involved in a number of important cases, dealing with the foremost issues in land development regulation, including:

  • Compensation for regulatory takings 
  • Proposition 207 claims 
  • Zoning initiatives and referenda 
  • Validity of aesthetic regulations, including sign controls, architectural and design review, and restrictions on development of environmentally sensitive lands 
  • Validity of exactions and development fees 
  • Zoning for controversial uses, such as group homes and landfills 
  • The adequacy of zoning procedures, such as notices, hearings and protest calculations 
  • Utility service authorization 
  • Adult businesses

Business Transactions

Samuel S. Chang
Samuel S. Chang
602.262.5794 / vCard
Michael J. Phalen
Michael J. Phalen
602.262.5777 / vCard
S.L. Schorr
S.L. Schorr
520.629.4401 / vCard
Heidi K. Short
Heidi K. Short
602.262.0237 / vCard

Regulatory & Government

Garrett D. Gordon
Garrett D. Gordon
Reno, Las Vegas
775.321.3420 / vCard
Stanley B. Lutz
Stanley B. Lutz
602.262.5704 / vCard
Josh M. Reid
Josh M. Reid
Las Vegas
702.474.2605 / vCard
Casey J. Stiteler
Casey J. Stiteler
775.321.3453 / vCard

Related Industries

Real Estate

Related News

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Other Publications

New Generation of Laws Take Effect
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP

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Primary Services

Real Estate Services

Key Contacts

Heidi K. Short
Heidi K. Short
Garrett D. Gordon
Garrett D. Gordon