Ed Casey, partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office, represents a variety of residential, retail and commercial developers in land use matters, including those arising under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). His practice encompasses every facet of the entitlement process, from pre-acquisition due diligence to permitting, and he has successfully prosecuted and defended CEQA and other land use lawsuits for a number of major development projects. In September 2012, Ed was featured in the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in California” and in April 2011, the Daily Journal named Ed one of California’s Top 25 Land-Use Leaders.
Ed’s practice also focuses on water supply issues arising from development projects. For example, he has represented private landowners and developers in connection with securing sufficient water supplies for their projects in accordance with recent water supply legislation.
Ed is a member of the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation and chairs the Land Use Committee of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. He received his B.A. from Hofstra University in 1982, and his J.D., with honors, from the University of Chicago in 1985.
Land Use Litigation Experience
- Represents the developer of the largest mixed use project in the Westside of Los Angeles (Playa Vista), which is comprised of 2,600 residential units, 150,000 square feet of retail uses, and other commercial uses. Recently secured a favorable appellate court ruling for the first phase of the project and a trial court decision upholding the revised EIR for the second phase.
- Represents an international shopping center developer (Westfield) in various land use matters and lawsuits throughout California, including Los Angeles, Arcadia, San Diego and Sacramento. Most recently, successfully prosecuted a land use lawsuit involving a controversial project in Arcadia.
- Represented Gene Autry Museum, a major Los Angeles museum, in CEQA and Ralph M. Brown Act related litigation. Recently secured a Los Angeles County Superior Court ruling which allowed the Autry to use a multi-million dollar grant from the State to renovate its Griffith Park facility.
- Defended against a variety of CEQA lawsuits brought against developer of a major landfill project located in both the City and County of Los Angeles. After successfully defending against those lawsuits, the Firm also brokered a settlement with the City, which occurred after the Firm filed a takings lawsuit against the City.
- Represents a major private utility in Southern California on CEQA and other environmental matters for a variety of infrastructure projects.
- Represented the developer of the “Grand Avenue Project,” a large residential, hotel and commercial project in downtown Los Angeles, including securing CEQA clearance from multiple Los Angles agencies.
- Represents the developer of major mixed-use projects near new transit stations throughout Los Angeles.
- Represents a national movie theatre chain in new development projects throughout California, including obtaining land use and alcohol beverage permits.
- Represents a national home improvement company in land use entitlements throughout Southern California.
- Represented the developer of the new Broad art museum in downtown Los Angles in securing CEQA clearance and other land use approvals.
- Represents a variety of Southern California residential developers in securing water supplies from Central and Northern California, including a multi-agency water supply agreement for a “new town” development in eastern Riverside County.
- Represents a major water agency in connection with defense of its major projects in Los Angeles County.
- Represented various institutional interests (museums and hospitals) in obtaining entitlements and CEQA approvals.
On January 1, 2013, Fish and Wildlife CEQA document filing fees increased. If a project will have no effect on fish and wildlife, the CEQA filing fee will continue to be waived. In addition, projects that are statutorily or categorically exempt from CEQA are also not subject to the fee and do not require a “no effect” determination.
At the December 12, 2012, PLUM Committee meeting, City Planning presented revisions to the proposed sign ordinance. Revisions include changes to the Sign District by adding the L.A. Zoo to the list of eligible areas, decreasing the minimum street frontage in downtown from 5,000 to 2,640 feet and changing the sign district application "grandfathering" date to December 6, 2011. Various technical corrections are also proposed.
Rialto Citizens for Responsible Growth v. City of Rialto (4th Appellate District; August 1, 2012). In a case marred by poor documentation, the appellate court found in favor of a Wal-Mart project and reversed the trial court’s invalidation of the project’s EIR and entitlements. In the published portion of the decision (the CEQA portion was not deemed published), the Court found the notice of the City Council hearing defective because it omitted the Planning Commission’s recommendations. However, the Court found that defect to be harmless error because the opponents failed to introduce any evidence of prejudice or harm.
On August 9, 2012, the draft San Pedro Community Plan (last updated in 1999) and Notice of Completion for the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was released for review and comment. The new plan will not reanalyze the existing goals and policies of the area, but will establish new design guidelines and other regulations that will address land use issues in the community. The comment period ends on September 24, 2012 and a copy of the documents can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/sanpedrocommunityplan/.
At the April 24, 2012, PLUM Committee meeting, the Planning Department presented a request for $990,000 to fund the first year of a five-year program to revise the City’s Zoning Code; the last comprehensive update to the Code was in 1946. Over the five-year work plan, the Department is expected to produce three deliverables: 1) a web-based Zoning Code that is easy to read with tables and graphics; 2) a series of guides to the different aspects of the Zoning Code (development standards, review processes, etc.); and 3) a unified Downtown Development Code. PLUM approved the request to fund the program through the Construction Services Trust Fund and to forward the matter to the City Council for consideration.
On December 29, 2011, the California Supreme Court upheld the Legislature's dissolution of all redevelopment agencies across the state, but rejected a companion bill that provided an option for cities and counties to save their redevelopment agencies by making payments for schools and other local services. (California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos (Cal. Sup. Ct. Case No. S194861, filed Dec. 29, 2011)). The two bills at issue were enacted in June 2011 in response to California's budget crisis and were intended to increase funding for public schools and public safety by re-allocating redevelopment agency funding.
March 24, 2011
February 21, 2011
"Appellate Decision Confirms Water Board's Power To Impose Tough Storm Water Rules," Builder and Developer, May 2005.