Practice Expertise

  • Land Use
  • Wine Law

Areas of Practice

  • Land Use
  • Wine Law
  • Environmental Law


Sean is the leader of Hanson Bridgett's Land Use Practice Group, and has specialized in land use and environmental law for more than a dozen years. He is a former newspaper reporter and investigator for the State of Texas, and combines skillsets from across disciplines to find creative legal solutions for his clients. In concert with his team, he counsels landowners, developers, and public agencies on all aspects of environmental and land use matters, and regularly appears at administrative hearings throughout the State of California. Having experience in both land use entitlement and litigation, he is forward-thinking in designing strategies for the permitting and environmental review of development projects, and engineers approaches to maximize efficiency and defensibility while minimizing costs and delays.

Sean and his team have helped entitle millions of square feet of development in California, including affordable housing projects, wineries and vineyards, mixed-use development, regional hospitals, laboratories, pharmaceutical campuses, shopping centers, office campuses, infrastructure projects, terminal expansions and intermodal transport facilities at California’s busiest ports, and solar energy projects. These projects have been located throughout California, from Humboldt County to San Diego. Areas of focus include counseling under the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act,  Planning and Zoning Law, the Subdivision Map Act, takings and exactions, development agreements, initiatives and referendums, Local Agency Formation Commissions, the Housing Accountability Act, natural resource permitting (including under the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act Sections 401 and 404), and emerging laws addressing climate change and sustainable development.

Prior to joining Hanson Bridgett, Sean was a shareholder at Miller Starr Regalia, where he helped write and edit sections of land use practice guides including Miller & Starr, California Real Estate 4th, a 12-volume treatise on California real estate law. He began his legal career in the environmental and land use practice at an international law firm where he edited and wrote sections of other land use treatises and practice guides used across the state. As a journalist, Sean was a crime and investigative reporter in the Texas borderlands. His articles have appeared in publications that include The Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, and the Houston Chronicle, and have merited awards from the Associated Press and Bloomberg News. As an investigator in the State of Texas, Sean looked into allegations of judicial misconduct for the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Bar Admissions

  • California

J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law (2007)
M.A., University of California Graduate School of Journalism (2004)
B.A., Brandeis University (1999)

Areas of Practice

  • Land Use
  • Wine Law
  • Environmental Law

Professional Career

Professional Associations
  • American Bar Association
  • Bay Planning Coalition, Former Board Member
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association
  • Urban Land Institute

Professional Activities and Experience
  • Rising Star, Super Lawyers Northern California (2012–2017)


Additional Articles"Recent Court of Appeal Decision Confirms that CEQA Statutes of Limitations Cannot be Extended Without a Project Proponent’s Consent," Land Use Law Alert (July 2021)
"The End of the Line for Exclusionary Zoning: Berkeley Set to Make its Move," Land Use Law Alert (February 2021)
"CEQ Final Rule for Federal Agencies Implementing NEPA," Land Use Law Alert (July 2020)
"CEQA Reform in the COVID Era? The California Senate Housing Production Package Moves Forward," Land Use Law Alert (June 2020)
"Court Clarifies Mitigation Needs for Buried Artifacts, Plants, and Trees," Land Use Law Alert (April 2020)
"Governor Newsom’s 'Stay at Home' Order Allows Construction to Continue, but Many Cities and Counties are Banning Most Construction," Construction Law Alert (March 2020)
"Updates to CEQA Technical Advisories on Disaster Response and Housing," Land Use Alert (January 2020)
"The Case Against Formula Retail Ordinances: Understanding the Problem and Crafting Solutions," Shopping Center Law & Strategy (October 2017)
"American Tower Corporation v. City of San Diego (2014): Further Guidance From The Ninth Circuit On The Regulation Of Data Towers In California," Miller Starr Regalia Legal Update (December 2014)
"Local Matter or Federal Case? The Network of Cell Tower Regulation in California," California Real Estate Newsalert, Vol. 21, No. 6 (July 2011)
"Back to Basics: Setting the Environmental Baseline Under the California Environmental Quality Act," California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter (February 2011)
"NEPA Review and Impacts on Climate Change" (March 2008)

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