Heather Riley’s reputation as a go-to land use and environmental attorney—trusted by both developers and public agencies—hinges on two essential qualities: her attention to detail in solving complex project planning puzzles and her knowledge of the California Environmental Quality Act’s strict regulations and processes. With clients facing an array of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including potential project approval expirations and limited resources at the state and local levels, Heather is successfully assisting in getting entitlements preserved or extended, all while effectively navigating unprecedented issues such as civil court closures and other shelter-in-place restrictions.
For commercial and residential developers and real estate firms with multi-state endeavors looking to get discretionary projects approved, Heather’s successful track record covers all angles. From the initial acquisition to the oversight of land use documentation and entitlement approvals, she makes sure that the project files contain evidence to support the agency’s determination. If a third party files a project or CEQA challenge, Heather has all the tools and skills necessary to vigorously defend her clients’ positions in litigation. She regularly takes cases through to final judicial hearings in trial and appellate courts.
Having worked with the City of San Diego on various land use and regulatory updates, Heather is a reliable development resource for local leaders and agencies.
Heather’s clients appreciate her critical ability to translate the technical aspects of their projects into language that can be understood by a non-technical audience, for example, decision makers, citizens, and judges. She maintains excellent working relationships with agency professionals and consultants throughout Southern California and conducts cordial and productive interactions with opposing lawyers and environmental groups—many of whom she knows and has successfully negotiated with time and again.