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 
  • Best Lawyers in America (Land Use and Zoning Law)
  • 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, Daily Journal.
  • The Legal 500 United States 

Memberships and Affiliations

  • 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

Daily Journal Names Jeff Fisher Among Top IP Lawyers in California

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Named Among the Best Places to Work in the Bay Area 2019

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Publication

Individual Accountability in the Huawei Trade Secrets Prosecution

In the ongoing legal battle over the alleged theft of American trade secrets by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, one curious aspect is the lack of charges filed against any individual Huawei employees. On February...

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News

How to Plan for a Smooth Transition of Your Family Business

Family Wealth Senior Associate Lauren Galbraith discusses how family internal dynamics play a role in transferring significant assets, especially a business, between generations. Link to read the full article.

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Event

North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to underwrite the North Coast Cannabis Industry Conference featuring keynote speaker Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. The event will also feature...

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Event

Non-Profits, #MeToo and Talent Management in 2019

Barbara Murphy, Chandra Andrade and Rebecca Stephens, speakers, Non-Profits, #MeToo and Talent Management in 2019

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Publication

Who 'Owns' a Secret? Whether Trade Secret Licensees Have Standing to Sue in California

If the eye-popping damages awards in several recent lawsuits are any indication, companies are increasingly coming to see their private information as one of their most valuable assets—and California juries apparently agree. For example,...

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Publication

The 10th Circuit Correctly Construes “That Particular Part” Narrowly

We do not often write about coverage opinions from jurisdictions as far away as Oklahoma; however, a recent case from the Federal Tenth Circuit looked at one of our favorite topics and came out...

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Event

CWA Regulation of Discharges to Groundwater: Permitting Uncertainty in Light of Circuit Court Split

Sarah Bell will speak on the Strafford live webinar, "CWA Regulation of Discharges to Groundwater: Permitting Uncertainty in Light of Circuit Court Split." This CLE webinar will discuss the "indirect discharge" theory of Clean...

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Publication

Attorney General Finds Impact Fees on Density Bonus Projects Invalid

In response to questions from a variety of cities across the state regarding the application of “public benefit fees” to density bonus projects, the State Attorney General’s Office published an opinion on April 9...

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