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 in Land Use and Zoning Law (2021-2022)
  • 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 (2015-2021)

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

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Platform Ecosystems – The Landscape of US and EU Legislation (Webinar)

Stephanie Skaff and Nate Garhart discuss "Platform Ecosystems – The Landscape of US and EU Legislation." Several new bills targeting online platform companies are making their way through state and federal legislative bodies in the...

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Upside: Changes in the VCAP Liability Coverage Market

Over the past few years, there's been a dramatic rise in premiums in the venture capital liability insurance market and a steady increase in claims being submitted under those policies. We're also seeing a...

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Farella Braun + Martel Named Among 2022 Best Places to Work

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hiQ’s Groundbreaking Injunction Against LinkedIn Reaffirmed: Scraping of Publicly Available Data Likely Does Not Violate CFAA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed its prior decision , holding that LinkedIn could not block hiQ, a scraping entity, from scraping public LinkedIn profiles. The court found it was...

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The 15th Annual Santa Fe Advanced Conference on Litigating Natural Resource Damages

Jim Colopy is a speaker at the 15th Annual Santa Fe Advanced Conference on Natural Resource Damages on the panel addressing "Federal Jurisdiction: Waters of the United States.” 

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Election Year Issues for Private Foundations and Public Charities (Webinar)

Cynthia Rowland discusses Nonprofit Education Series on "Election Year Issues for Private Foundations and Public Charities." Public and private foundations may support nonpartisan election-related activities, but only in limited ways and amounts. Join our interactive live...

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LinkedIn Loses Data Appeal

Erik Olson was quoted in the article "LinkedIn Loses Data Appeal" in CDR Magazine . In the article, Erik said: We are pleased to see that the Ninth Circuit has again affirmed, in light...

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Illinois Courts Largely Favor Coverage for BIPA Cases Under CGL Policies

Since Illinois passed its Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) in 2008, there has been a proliferation of class action lawsuits filed pursuant to the statute. BIPA generally bars private entities from collecting, capturing, purchasing...

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2022 Cannabis Insurance Market Update

Tyler Gerking was quoted in  PropertyCasualty360 's article "2022 Cannabis Insurance Market Update."  Read the full article here (subscription required). Watch the webinar "Cyber Insurance for the Cannabis Industry" here .

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