Mike Durkee practices land use, elections, and local government law in both administrative and judicial proceedings. He 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, approval processes and litigation in both state and federal courts. Mr. Durkee has 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). He also serves as an expert witness on these topics in litigation.
Mr. Durkee 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 North Livermore Initiative, the San Jose Giants Ballpark Proposal, the Buck Center for Aging and Research, Black Point and Buck Mountain Ranch. He is widely recognized for his expertise in effective negotiation and resolution. He has extensive expertise regarding "value-enhancing" entitlements and is considered one of California's top creative land-use minds. Mr. Durkee 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.
Mr. Durkee is a frequent participant in land use seminars conducted for builders' groups, cities and counties, the University of California Extension, the State Bar of California and Land Use Navigators (www.landusenavigators.com).
Awards & Honors
Named a Northern California "Super Lawyer" by Los Angeles magazine in 2004-2006, 2009-2016
Individually recognized in the "Best Lawyers in America," guide for Land Use and Zoning Law, 2013-2017
Received "Outstanding Instructor" award from the U.C. Davis Extension Land Use Program, 1992