Biography

Steven Vettel is one of the San Francisco's leading land use attorneys, and represents residential, commercial and institutional developers, and property owners. He specializes in assisting his clients in obtaining governmental permits and other necessary entitlements for their real estate development projects. He also negotiates public/private real estate arrangements, such as development agreements and land disposition agreements, and has drafted and secured numerous general plan amendments and rezoning actions.

Steve has successfully represented several major developers in obtaining land use entitlements for the construction of some of the Bay Area’s largest developments, including several high-rise residential towers in downtown San Francisco, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art expansion project, the Potrero and Sunnydale HOPE-SF public housing reconstruction projects, and the University of California's University Village project in the City of Albany. In the face of tough opposition, he has obtained land use entitlements for redevelopment and improvement of several underutilized urban sites throughout the Bay Area, including shopping centers, closed schools, and underutilized religious facilities, often involving the rehabilitation or replacement of historic structures.

Steve also litigates land use disputes. He counsels clients on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance and defends his clients’ environmental review documents in both administrative and judicial forums.

The San Francisco Bay Area has one of the country’s most challenging entitlements environments. With over three decades of land use and development experience, Steve is one of the best-known and most effective attorneys in the city. He knows the decisionmakers, knows the consultants, and above all, really knows the city. He is a familiar and respected presence in San Francisco City Hall, and is a team leader, strategist, and high-level advisor who knows, above all, how to put together projects that work.

Distinctions

  • Chambers USA, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (2011-2019)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Use and Zoning Law (2021-2024)
  • International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (Environmental Law)
  • “Top 50 Development Lawyers” in 2014, The Daily Journal
  • “Top 25 Land Use Leaders” in 2011, The Daily Journal
  • Leading Lawyer - Land Use/Zoning, Legal 500 United States 
  • Hall of Fame, Land Use/Zoning, Legal 500 United States (2020)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers in Land Use/Zoning since (2015-2023)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Board Member, Friends of San Francisco City Planning
  • Director (and former Vice Chair), San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association
  • Former Co-Chair, ACLU of Northern California's Lawyers Counsel
  • Former Member, Executive Committee, San Francisco Housing Action Coalition
  • Former Member, Action Plan Advisory Committee, San Francisco Planning Department
  • Former Co-Chair, Diversity Committee, Farella Braun + Martel

Firm Highlights

News

Scraping Battles: Meta Loses Legal Effort to Halt Harvesting of Personal Profiles

Alex Reese spoke to Matt Fleischer-Black of  Cybersecurity Law Report about the Meta v. Bright Data decision and its impact on U.S. scraping case law. Read the article here (paywall or trial).

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Publication

Navigating California's Workplace Violence Prevention Law

California has introduced a new requirement compelling most employers to implement a workplace violence prevention policy by July 1, 2024. The implications of this law are significant, prompting the need for human resource executives...

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News

Farella 2024 Partner Elevations: Cynthia Castillo and Greg LeSaint

Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel is pleased to announce the election of two lawyers to partnership effective Jan. 1: Cynthia Castillo and Greg LeSaint. “We are thrilled to elevate Cynthia and...

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News

Winston Liaw Named a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow

Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel is proud to announce that Winston Liaw has been named a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellow for 2024. Winston joins a select group of...

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Publication

Navigating California's Evolving Legal Landscape Governing Leaves of Absence

California’s employment laws are no stranger to change, and recent years have witnessed the introduction or modification of various protected leaves by employees. In this article, we will delve into three significant leave categories...

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Publication

Important Changes and the Impact of California Industry-Specific Minimum Wage Laws

In the ever-evolving landscape of California labor laws, the minimum wage has once again taken center stage. With the recent state-wide increase to $16 per hour, the Golden State continues to lead the nation...

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News

Brookfield Forecloses on 2,150-Unit Veritas Portfolio With Uncontested $464M Bid

Restructuring, insolvency, and creditors rights partner Gary Kaplan provided expert commentary in The Real Deal  article, "Brookfield forecloses on 2,150-unit Veritas portfolio with uncontested $464M bid." Read the full article  here  (subscription may be...

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Publication

Navigating Cannabis in the Workplace: A Guide for California Corporations

The landscape surrounding cannabis in the workplace is rapidly evolving, posing challenges for California corporations and businesses to establish effective policies and procedures. As the use of cannabis, both medical and recreational, becomes more...

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Publication

Navigating California's New Rebuttable Presumption Law

The ever-evolving landscape of employment laws in California has introduced a notable change with the implementation of a new law that establishes a rebuttable presumption of retaliation in some circumstances. This law, which took...

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News

Lawdragon Names 7 Farella Lawyers Among “Leaders in Environmental Law”

Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel is pleased to announce that seven lawyers were selected to The Lawdragon Green 500: 2024 Leaders in Environmental Law . Farella lawyers selected for inclusion: Sarah...

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