Land use issues resolved
- Mr. Yates represented a small developer in getting approvals for a mixed use infill project in downtown Larkspur. The City had stretched the process out for 4 years but Mr. Yates was able to help his client obtain permits for this small scale project by stressing the consistency with the General Plan and zoning code.
- Rezoning/Property Values. During a protracted effort to prepare a community plan for a semi rural area in California, Mr. Yates proposed a formula that assisted landowners whose property was being downzoned yet also allowed the county to serve neighbors' needs and avoid litigation.
- CEQA/Infill/Commercial Development. Developers of a "smart growth" project in a major North Bay city were told by the city that they would have to prepare a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report. Mr. Yates determined that such mixed use-infill projects were treated differently under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and helped convince city planners that this difference would allow them to skip an expensive and time consuming delay for a win-win project.
- Mr. Yates was the attorney for homeowners objecting to the Larkspur Station Area Plan. Upon being retained, Mr. Yates identified serious problems with the City's planning process and numerous fundamental inadequacies of the project EIR. The large scale, poorly planned project was terminated soon after submission of Mr. Yates' 55 page comment letter.
- Housing Element/Low Income Housing. As a Deputy County Counsel Mr. Yates was lead legal advisor for Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) decisions in Santa Barbara County, Two communities objected to the RHNA requirements and Mr. Yates worked with his client, the community groups, the regional planning organization and the state housing agency to successfully renegotiate the plan for two cycles.
- Variances/Conditional Use Permits. Regarding the redesign of a private recreation area, Mr. Yates advised a client regarding compliance with several stringent municipal requirements including pre-existing uses, variances and conditional use permits. The project was approved with little cost to the applicant and reduced impacts to the neighbors.
- Winery Regulation/Ordinances. A County proposal to limit the agricultural tourist activities of wineries would have potentially forced some farms to convert their land to development. Mr. Yates proposed legal strategies which allowed for the ordinance amendments and environmental review to be completed quickly, protecting the wineries and the county.