A partner in the San Diego office, Christopher W. Garrett has practiced law with the firm since 1981. His practice centers on environmental law, municipal law, and land use law throughout California and the Western United States. His areas of expertise include federal, state, and local regulation of air pollution, water quality, hazardous waste, solid waste, wetlands protection, endangered species preservation, and other environmental and land use laws, including municipal law, public finance, and government contracts requirements.
Mr. Garrett has particular knowledge of air pollution laws and regulations and compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In addition, he regularly counsels clients to ensure that documents prepared in compliance with these statutes can be defended in subsequent litigation. He also has extensive experience in handling litigation concerning compliance with CEQA and NEPA, representing developers, public agencies, and project opponents throughout California.
Mr. Garrett has been recognized as a “Leading Lawyer” by The Legal 500 2016 and he was recognized as a 2015 California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) by the Daily Journal. Best Lawyers 2015 and 2018 named him “Lawyer of the Year” for Land Use and Zoning, an honor awarded to a single lawyer in a practice area. He was also recognized by the Daily Journal 2014 as one of California’s Top 50 Development Lawyers.
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Mr. Garrett has counseled a variety of manufacturing companies and other businesses on compliance with the Federal Clean Air Act, California air quality laws, including the California Clean Air Act, California Air Toxic Hot Spots Act, and local air pollution control district rules and regulations. He has also reviewed negative declarations, statements of no significant impact, environmental assessments, environmental impact statements, and reports for compliance with CEQA and NEPA. Further, he has developed a specialty in City and County zoning and planning regulations, including compliance with California's General Plan law, Government Code provisions on zoning and planning, and procedures necessary for obtaining conditional use permits, planned unit development approvals, and Coastal Commission permits.
Another specialty of Mr. Garrett's is working with developers to ensure that their projects are protected against subsequent changes in the law, voter initiatives, or changes in permits granted to developments. This area includes application of the vested rights law, California's special provisions for development agreements and vesting tentative maps and other mechanisms to prevent restrictions upon already approved developments.
Mr. Garrett is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association and the Natural Resources Law Section of the American Bar Association. He also belongs to the Association of Environmental Professionals.