Sabrina V. Teller

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 is currently a contributing author to the quarterly online Environmental Law Updates published by the Environmental Law Section of the California Lawyers Association.

Representative matters include:

  • Advising the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection in its environmental review process for the California Vegetation Treatment Program, involving state-wide activities to reduce the risk of loss of lives and property, reduce fire suppression costs, and protect natural resources from wildfire
  • 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 the City of Los Angeles in several ongoing cases defending the City’s compliance with CEQA for various development projects.
  • 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

  • State Bar of California
    • Environmental Law Section
  • California State Courts
  • U.S. District Courts, all California Districts
  • Sacramento County Bar Association
  • 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 2013-2019 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