Archives: October 2020

Sabrina V. Teller

Sabrina V. Teller

Managing Partner

Ms. Teller joined the firm in 2001 and became a partner in December 2006.  Ms. Teller represents public agencies, private applicants, and citizens’ groups in a wide variety of land use and environmental law matters.  Ms. Teller handles all phases of the land use entitlement and permitting processes, from local agency administrative approvals through trial and appellate litigation.  Ms. Teller’s practice includes the California Environmental Quality Act, the State Planning and Zoning Law, the Subdivision Map Act, the Williamson Act, the California Coastal Act, the California Endangered Species Act, the California Water Code provisions relating to water supplies for development, the National Environmental Policy Act, the federal Endangered Species Act, and the federal Clean Water Act provisions associated with wetlands permitting.

Ms. Teller regularly teaches land use and environmental law continuing education classes and seminars for her client agencies and professional organizations such as the Association of Environmental Professionals. She served as an editor for the California Land Use & Policy Reporter from 2005 to 2008. She also contributes to the online Environmental Law Updates published by the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association.

Representative matters include:

  • Outside counsel to the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection with respect to the preparation of a programmatic environmental impact report for the California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP), which involves the use of prescribed fires and other techniques to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and to restore forest health, and in litigation over the approval of that project.
  • CEQA counsel to the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority with respect to that entity’s plans to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfires within Marin County.
  • Representing the City of Los Angeles in several ongoing cases defending the City’s compliance with CEQA for various development projects.
  • Representing the City of Livermore in litigation defending the City’s approval of a boutique hotel;
  • Representing the Town of Loomis in litigation defending the Town’s approval of a new Costco store;
  • Outside counsel to the City of Monterey in a variety of environmental and land use matters.
  • Outside counsel to the City of Mountain View in a variety of environmental and land use matters.
  • Outside counsel to the City of Santa Cruz for a variety of infill projects.
  • Outside litigation counsel to the County of Humboldt in a variety of cases arising under CEQA and the State Planning and Zoning Law.
  • Outside litigation counsel to the San Francisco Unified School District in litigation under CEQA challenging the District’s proposal to study the removal of a mural in George Washington High School.
  • Counsel to RainTree Investment Corporation regarding land use entitlements and CEQA compliance for portions of the Green Valley Specific Plan area in Perris, California.
  • Counsel to various developers of Dollar General stores regarding compliance with CEQA and local land use regulations.
  • Jointly represented the California High-Speed Rail Authority with the California Attorney General’s Office to defend the Authority’s environmental review for individual project segments of the future statewide high-speed train system;
  • Successfully defended the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board in litigation challenging the environmental review for the Board’s electrification and modernization project to improve the Caltrain commuter rail service on the San Francisco Peninsula;
  • Defended the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission’s CEQA compliance for a freight rail service contract assignment and rail repair work, upheld by the Santa Cruz County Superior Court;
  • Representing landowners in Folsom and Roseville in the environmental review and subsequent implementation of specific plans for future residential and commercial development.
  • Defended the San Mateo County Community College District in cases challenging facility improvements at the College of San Mateo. In 2016, the California Supreme Court decided in the District’s favor a key question regarding the standard of review for agency decisions to rely on CEQA’s subsequent review provisions.
  • Defended the City of Monterey’s approval of a city-wide streetlight replacement project for energy efficiency in litigation challenging the City’s reliance on a categorical exemption from CEQA, upheld by the Sixth District Court of Appeal.
  • Represented Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Americas in successfully navigating CEQA, CESA, and local land use entitlement processes to obtain a conditional use permit in November 2008 for a new 103-MW wind power project on private land in Shasta County. Ms. Teller assisted RES in developing a strong biological and cultural resources mitigation program, working cooperatively with the County of Shasta, resource agencies, and environmental and tribal interests to avoid litigation after project approval.
  • Represented Save Our Water Resources, an unincorporated citizens association, in a successful petition for writ of mandate decided in Sacramento County Superior Court regarding the City of Orland’s CEQA compliance for approval of a new water bottling plant.

Reported cases:

  • Hollywoodians Encouraging Rental Opportunities v. City of Los Angeles (2019) 27 Cal.App.5th 768
  • Georgetown Preservation Society v. County of El Dorado (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 358
  • Westsiders Opposed to Overdevelopment v. City of Los Angeles (2018) 27 Cal.App.5th 1079
  • Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College Dist. (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 596
  • Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College Dist. (2016) 1 Cal.5th 937
  • Save Our Big Trees v. City of Santa Cruz (2015) 214 Cal.App.4th 694
  • Keep Our Mountains Quiet v. County of Santa Clara (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 714
  • Citizens for a Green San Mateo v. San Mateo County Community College District (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 1572
  • California Clean Energy Committee v. City of Woodland (2014) 225 Cal.App.4th 173
  • Habitat and Watershed Caretakers v. City of Santa Cruz (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 1277
  • Tomlinson v. County of Alameda (2012) 54 Cal.4th 281
  • California Native Plant Society v. City of Rancho Cordova (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 603.
  • Shasta Resources Council v. U.S. Dept of Interior (E.D.Cal. 2009) 629 F.Supp.2d 1045
  • Vineyard Area Citizens for Responsible Growth, Inc. v. City of Rancho Cordova (2007) 40 Cal.4th 412
  • Friends of the Sierra Railroad v. Tuolumne Park and Recreation Dist. (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 643
  • Save Our Neighborhood v. Lishman (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1288
  • The Pocket Protectors v. City of Sacramento (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 903
  • Sierra Club v. County of Napa (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 1490

Education

  • J.D., University of Texas, Austin, 2001
    B.A., Geography, University of Texas, Austin, 1995

Professional Affiliations

  • The State Bar of California
    • California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section
  • California State Courts
  • U.S. District Courts, all California Districts
  • Sacramento County Bar Association
    • Environmental Law Section
  • Lead Articles Editor, Texas Environmental Law Journal, 2000-2001
  • Editor, California Land Use & Policy Reporter, 2005-2008
  • Contributing Author, Environmental Law Updates, Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association, 2017-present
  • Selected for inclusion in the 2013-2020 Northern California Super Lawyers® magazine and Rising Stars section of the 2009-2011 Northern California Super Lawyers® magazine

Community Involvement

  • Former Member, Environmental Law Society, University of Texas School of Law
  • Former Member, Public Interest Law Association, University of Texas School of Law
  • Former Board Member, Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership- Northern California Chapter
  • Former Corporate Board Member, Francis House, Sacramento

Andrea K. Leisy

Andrea K. Leisy

Partner

Ms. Leisy joined the firm in 2000 as an associate and became a partner in 2005. She served as managing partner from 2011 through 2016. Her practice focuses on advising and representing public agencies, project applicants and citizen’s groups during administrative proceedings and in trial and appellate litigation, with a focus on issues arising under the California Environmental Quality Act, the State Planning and Zoning Law, the National Environmental Policy Act, the state and federal Endangered Species Act, the Integrated Waste Management Act, and initiative and referendum law as they relate to land use matters.  Ms. Leisy has also worked on projects involving compliance with, or permitting under, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. Ms. Leisy regularly teaches CEQA, land use and environmental law continuing education classes and seminars for professional organizations such as the Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP), League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties. Current representative matters include:

  • Lead attorney representing Waste Management of California, Inc. and Chemical Waste Management, Inc., in various organics recovery, TS/MRF, and alternative energy projects, as well as in administrative entitlement processes and litigation throughout the state.
  • Outside counsel to various private applicants pursuing entitlements and the completion of environmental review for: commercial cannabis related activities; affordable housing developments; aggregate mining; and congregate care projects.
  • Outside counsel to the City of Los Angeles, the Port of Los Angeles, and the City of Newport Beach in various matters subject to litigation, environmental review and entitlements.

Representative Cases Ms. Leisy has been counsel of record in numerous published and unpublished cases since 2002, including:

  • Stein et al. v. Alameda County Waste Management Authority (2020) 2020 WL 4745561 (Counsel for Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc.)
  • Sunset Coalition v. City of Los Angeles (2018) 2018 WL 1046243 (Counsel for Respondent City of Los Angeles)
  • Placerville Historic Preservation League v. Judicial Council of California (2017) 16 Cal.App.5th 187 (counsel for Respondent Judicial Council)
  • County Sanitation Dist. No. 2 of Los Angeles County v. County of Kern (2016) Tulare County Superior Court (counsel for Respondents City of Los Angeles, et al.)
  • City of Irwindale v. City of Azusa (2013) Los Angeles County Superior Court (counsel for Real Party in Interest Azusa Land Reclamation, Inc.)
  • Gale Banks Engineering v. City of Azusa (2013) Los Angeles County Superior Court (counsel for Real Party Azusa Reclamation, Inc.)
  • El Pueblo Para El Aire y Agua Limpio v. Kings County (2012) 2012 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 4984 (counsel for Real Party in Interest)
  • Citizens for Open Government v. City of Lodi (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 296 (counsel for Real Party in Interest)
  • California Native Plant Society v. County of El Dorado (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 1026 (counsel for Real Party in Interest).

Education

  • J.D., Golden Gate University School of Law, 1999
  • B.A., Legal Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1994
  • B.A., Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1994

Professional Affiliations

  • The State Bar of California
    • California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section
  • California State Courts
  • United States District Court, Eastern and Northern Districts of California
  • Sacramento County Bar Association
    • Environmental Law Section
  • Editor, Climate Change Law & Policy Reporter, 2010-2012
  • Editor, California Land Use & Policy Reporter, 2001-2004
  • Selected for inclusion in the 2014-2020 Northern California Super Lawyers® magazine and Rising Stars section of the 2009-2011 Northern California Super Lawyers® magazine

Community Involvement

  • Board Member, Cottage Housing, Inc. (2008 – 2015)
  • Appointed Member, City/County Sacramento Environmental Commission (2011 – 2013)
  • Member, Advisory Committee, Center for Youth Citizenship (2006 – 2009)
  • Board Member, Volunteers In Parole (VIP) Mentors, Inc. (2005 – 2009)
  • Member, Sacramento City-County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (2003-2008)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Volunteers in Parole (VIP Mentors) (2005 – 2009)

Publications

  • Author, A New Era: Consultation with California Native American Tribes and Consideration of Tribal Cultural Resources under CEQA, Vol. 24, No. 1, Environmental Law News, State Bar of California (Summer 2015).
  • Author, California Air Resources Board Endorses Long Anticipated Cap-and-Trade Regulation , Feature Article, California Climate Change Law & Policy Reporter (January 2010).
  • Co-author, Attorney General Sues Squaw Valley USA for Environmental Violations , Feature Article, California Land Use Reporter (March 2002).
  • Author, Inherent Tribal Sovereignty and the Clean Water Act: The Effect of Tribal Water Quality Standards on Non-Indian Lands Located Both Within and Outside Reservation Boundaries 29 Golden Gate U.L. Rev. 139 (Spring 1999).