Land Use, Real Estate, Environmental, Water and Zoning Law

Ms. Neiswender’s experience in journalism, in the California State Senate and through nearly 30 years of litigating for her clients provides her – and you – with a unique perspective in dealing with governmental regulation and administrative oversight.

The Land Use specialty within the law focuses on those legal and regulatory matters that affect development and use of property.   From development of a single lot to the subdivision and construction of an entire neighborhood, the land owner requires the assistance of an experienced Land Use and Zoning lawyer.

Ms. Neiswender has assisted in the approval of real estate projects in Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, some of the most restrictive government entities in the state of California.  The process is complex, involving an understanding of the Subdivision Map Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, the California and federal Endangered Species Acts, the California Fish & Game laws, water law and regulation, as well as the labyrinth of local zoning laws.

Ms. Neiswender has also assisted clients in all aspects of development, purchase, sale, and lease of real property.  The Law Office of K.M. Neiswender has recently litigated a number of real estate fraud cases, as well as title policy issues, easement disputes and similar matters.

Ms. Neiswender has a solid working relationship with all relevant state and federal agencies, including the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the State Water Resources Board, and others.

Ms. Neiswender has worked on both sides of Land Use cases.  She has worked to obtain approvals for projects, and has fought to stop development on various grounds.  Her clients have included the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, the Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Coastkeepers, Environment in the Public Interest and many others.  Her work in this area has resulted in the publication of a number of important appellate level cases.

In water law, she has litigated water use and regulation in the trial and appellate courts, impacting the use of water statewide.   The question of what is the “highest and best” use of water is very much in play in California, especially with the current drought. This will impact the ability of Californians to use their land and their public spaces for many decades to come.  It is the balance of private interests and the public’s right to preservation of California’s unique habitat and species that is in constant flux, and you need an experienced guide to make sense of it.

In federal and state courts, Ms. Neiswender has fought the complex question of when land is a regulated wetland, a question that finds a different answer under state and federal law, and often turns on highly technical factors.

On the local level, in recent years, cities and counties have taken on a more and more active role in deciding whether a landowner can develop his or her property, using restrictive zoning requirements, manipulating water and sewer guidelines, and challenging the legality of historic lots under the Subdivision Map Act.  Sometimes the challenges are merely good faith disputes as to the application of current regulations; other times, the restrictions are a “back door” attempt to prevent any legitimate development of real estate in important habitat areas.  This is a rapidly developing area of the law, requiring an understanding of the local ordinances, state regulations and the policy considerations behind each.