About Us

Attorney specializing in land use, elections, and local government law.

Land Use Navigators is run by Mike Durkee as a free, online resource center for land use law information.

Mike is an attorney at the law firm at Nossaman LLP, where he practices land use, elections, and local government law in both administrative and judicial proceedings. Mike represents developers, builders, property owners, cities, counties, special districts, and interest groups in all aspects of California local government, elections, and land use entitlement, review, and approval processes. He has transactional and litigation expertise in the laws and processes regarding the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), local governance, general plans, specific plans, planning, zoning and development, vested rights (common law, development agreements, vesting maps), exactions (fees/dedications), the Subdivision Map Act, Williamson Act, and local elections (initiative, referendum, recall). Mike also serves as an expert on these topics in litigation.

Mike has been instrumental in the creation, coordination, and implementation of overall entitlement strategy (including defense tactics) for some of California’s most controversial development projects, including the San Jose Giants Ballpark Proposal, the Buck Center for Aging and Research, Black Point, Buck Mountain Ranch, and the North Livermore Initiative. He is widely recognized for his expertise in effective negotiation and resolution. Mike has extensive expertise regarding “value-enhancing” entitlements and is considered one of the state’s top creative land-use minds. He regularly handles the coordination with city/county staff regarding the planning of the project, the negotiation and drafting of all agency documents for legal compliance and tactical advantage, the coordination of all environmental, planning, and engineering consultants and their reports, and the transition into litigation when necessary.

Mike’s Land Use litigation practice includes representing landowners, developers, builders, landowners, businesses and governmental agencies in state and federal courts.

Mike is a frequent participant in land use seminars conducted for builders’ groups, cities and counties, the University of California Extension, and the State Bar of California. He is a co-author of Ballot Box Navigator (Solano Press 2003), and Land-Use Initiatives and Referenda in California (Solano Press 1990, 1991), and the principal author of Map Act Navigator (1999-2013). Mike writes the “Ask the Map Act Expert” column for the trade journal California Surveyor. He is a former member of the Advisory Board of The California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter, and the State Assembly Local Government Committee’s “Subdivision Map Act Advisory Group.” He was recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer by the California Super Lawyers magazine in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, was named to Best Lawyers in America (2013), and is the recipient of the 1992 “Outstanding Instructor” award from the U.C. Davis Extension Land Use Program.

MDurkee21@gmail.com
510-918-5873