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City of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

Andee Leisy and Sabrina Teller represent the City of Los Angeles as outside CEQA and land use counsel in over a dozen cases involving a wide variety of development projects, ranging from small infill residential subdivisions to schools to large downtown redevelopment projects. In 2016 and 2017, Andee Leisy assisted with successfully defending the City’s approval of the “Archer Forward: Campus Preservation and Improvement Plan” and related environmental impact report prepared for the expansion and improvement of an independent, all-girl, college preparatory and performing arts school located off Sunset Boulevard. In 2017, Sabrina Teller and Nathan George assisted with successfully defending the Martin Expo Town Center project, a mixed-use redevelopment of a prominent site one block from Metro’s new Expo/Bundy station in west Los Angeles. Over 100 of the development’s 516 apartments will be set aside as workforce-level and very-low-income housing.

Caruso Affiliated – 333 S. La Cienega

Caruso Affiliated – 333 S. La Cienega

333 S. La Cienega is a mixed-use, environmentally-sustainable residential and transit-oriented building, located at the gateway between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. The project will offer 145 state-of-the-art units for rent, 10% of which will be designated affordable housing, and provide a wide array of community benefits. The project is one of the first in the state to qualify for the CEQA exemption for transit priority projects created by SB 375. Whit Manley and Tiffany Wright are the lead RMM attorneys for the applicant, Caruso Affiliated.

Berrellesa Palms Senior Affordable Housing Project

Berrellesa Palms Senior Affordable Housing Project

Bay area affordable housing developer Resources for Community Development obtained entitlements in 2010 for a 49-unit senior affordable housing project in Martinez. The one-acre downtown infill project intended for seniors with chronic health issues and at risk for homelessness was challenged by a group of neighbors contesting the City’s use of statutory exemptions from CEQA for qualified housing projects and projects consistent with specific plans, and CEQA’s categorical exemption for infill housing. The neighbors claimed the project was not consistent with local plans and could adversely affect nearby potentially historic resources. The City developed a strong record during the administrative approval process, and Sabrina Teller was successful in defeating a petition for a writ of mandate. The project was completed in 2014.

Yuba County Water Agency

Yuba County Water Agency

RMM has represented the Yuba County Water Agency in multiple matters involving the federal Endangered Species Act, NEPA, and CEQA since the early 2000’s. Chip Wilkins currently represents the Agency as an Intervenor-Defendant in a case involving a challenge to a Biological Opinion regarding Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, and southern Distinct Population Segment of North American green sturgeon (“green sturgeon”) on the Yuba River. In November 2017, Mr. Wilkins represented YCWA in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California at a hearing on the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California and received a favorable ruling. The case is currently pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Placer Area Plan/Tahoe City Lodge

Placer Area Plan/Tahoe City Lodge

The Tahoe City Lodge would redevelop an existing commercial complex into a 118-unit lodge that would include a mix of hotel rooms and 1- and 2-bedroom suites, hotel amenities, and parking, as well as redevelopment of the existing clubhouse building and new shared-use parking at the Tahoe City Golf Course.  The Lodge project was approved in a joint EIR/EIS with the PCTBAP, a Placer County-initiated update to its land use regulations that apply in the Tahoe Basin. Whit Manley and Chip Wilkins represented the ownership group in obtaining entitlements and approvals for the lodge and the Placer County Tahoe Basin Area Plan (PCTBAP) from Placer County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 2016 and 2017 respectively.  Mr. Manley and Mr. Wilkins represented the ownership group in a lawsuit challenging the EIR/EIS for the project. They settled the case on favorable terms for their client and the project is moving forward.

Homewood Ski Area Master Plan

Homewood Ski Area Master Plan

The Homewood Mountain Resort Ski Area Master Plan was approved by Placer County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 2012. The Master Plan will guide the redevelopment of the ski resort into a mixed-use north base area, a residential south base area, and a mid-mountain lodge with beginner ski area. Whit Manley and Chip Wilkins represented the ownership group in obtaining entitlements and approvals and also defended them in federal and state litigation over the adequacy of the EIR/EIS for the project. The litigation was eventually settled. The project is scheduled to break ground in 2018.

TRPA Regional Plan

TRPA Regional Plan

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, comprised of representatives from the State of California and Nevada, approved its Regional Plan Update in 2012. TRPA adopted the plan update as the general governing document for development and environmental protection in the Lake Tahoe region. TRPA was sued following its certification of a final EIS for the plan update. Whit Manley and Chip Wilkins successfully defended the Environmental Impact Statement and TRPA’s approvals relating to the plan update in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, culminating in Sierra Club v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 840 F.3d 1106 (9th Cir. 2016).

Caltrain Electrification Project

Caltrain Electrification Project

The Caltrain Electrification Project consists of changing the diesel-powered locomotives and infrastructure for the commuter rail service between San Francisco and San Jose to electrified service to allow more frequent/faster trips, accommodate more passengers, and eliminate hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon emissions annually. Part of the funding for the project comes from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which will share the electrified track for its future high-speed rail service on the Peninsula. Caltrain certified a final EIR for the electrification project in January 2015. Opponents of high-speed rail in the South Bay sued, and Sabrina Teller and Elizabeth Pollock successfully defended the EIR in Contra Costa County Superior Court in August 2016. The project received its federal funding in 2017 and is expected to be constructed by 2020.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Regional Connector

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Regional Connector

The Regional Connector Transit Corridor light-rail project provides the crucial missing link in the Los Angeles light-rail network. The 1.9 mile light-rail extension will connect the existing Metro Gold Line to the Metro Blue and Expo Lines through downtown Los Angeles, allowing passengers to travel across the county via light rail without needing to make transfers. The Regional Connector will help to create a sustainable light-rail transit system, improving air quality, reducing traffic congestion, and improving mobility. RMM has successfully defended the project in eight lawsuits in state and federal court alleging violations of CEQA, NEPA, and the Public Records Act, including in the Ninth Circuit case Japanese Village, LLC v. Federal Transit Administration, 843 F.3d 445 (9th Cir. 2016). Tiffany Wright is RMM’s lead attorney for Metro.