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

Publication

Advice for Nonprofit Investment Committees From an Investment Advisor

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . In episode 82, we revisit the duties of directors in managing investment assets. Joining Cynthia Rowland today is Jennifer Nelson, Senior Wealth Manager...

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Publication

7 Ways Companies and Content Creators Can Navigate Copyright Law for a Successful Partnership

In recent years, the advent of the social media “influencer” has revolutionized advertising. Companies often partner with influencers to market their products, hoping to tap into the influencer’s devoted audience. Likewise, influencers create certain content...

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Publication

REFRESH: Loot and Private Foundation Rules – Part 2

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . In this episode, I refresh  EO Radio Show  episode 22, the second of our two episodes exploring private foundation rules using commentary on the...

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News

Chambers USA 2024 Recognizes Farella Braun + Martel Lawyers, Practices

Farella Braun + Martel is pleased to announce that Chambers USA has recognized 16 lawyers and six practice areas in the legal directory’s 2024 edition. Individual California and Western U.S. Rankings: Sarah Bell &ndash...

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News

Ex-DraftKings Exec Seeks Fast Trial To Test Noncompete Law

Holly Sutton, chair of Farella's Employment Law Group, provided expert commentary to Law360 for the article "Ex-DraftKings Exec Seeks Fast Trial To Test Noncompete Law." Read the article here (subscription required).

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Named Among 2024 Bay Area Best Places to Work

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Publication

How to Navigate California Wage Statement Penalties After Naranjo v. Spectrum

On May 6, 2024, the California Supreme Court, in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services Inc. , clarified that an employer is not liable for statutory penalties for inaccurate wage statements when it had a...

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News

Farella Advises TILT Holdings Inc. on $10.5M Loan Transaction

Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel advised TILT Holdings Inc. , a global provider of cannabis business solutions, and its Pennsylvania subsidiary, grower and processor Standard Farms, on a $10.5 million loan transaction...

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Publication

Nonprofit Quick Tip: State Filings in Oklahoma and Texas

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . This is the 12th in a series of “Quick Tip” episodes focusing on the details of state registration of nonprofit corporations. In previous episodes, we...

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News

City of San Mateo Sued by Nonprofit Over New Housing Plan

Tom Mayhew spoke to CBS News about the lawsuit filed by Housing Action Coalition (HAC) and Farella against the City of San Mateo. The lawsuit challenges the city's recently adopted Housing Element in order to...

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