Amy R. Higuera

Partner

Amy Higuera has successfully represented numerous clients in achieving favorable results in environmental law and land use entitlement matters.

Amy adds to the land use group’s depth of experience with the California Environmental Quality Act, among many other federal and state laws that define the complex and changing body of California land use law. Specifically, her practice includes representation and litigation involving CEQA, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Government Reorganization Act of 2000, the Subdivision Map Act, the California Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the federal Endangered Species Act and the federal Clean Water Act provisions associated with wetlands permitting. Amy also has experience representing real estate developers with the acquisition and disposition of commercial real estate, including due diligence title and zoning compliance review, as well as drafting and negotiating commercial leases.

Amy has worked closely with local government and regulatory agency staff to ensure environmental compliance, as well as with private developers to secure land use entitlements. She has experience providing counsel on highly complex land use and environmental issues and working with clients and stakeholders to develop successful compliance strategies. She has worked closely with metropolitan planning organizations during their environmental review process for the combined regional transportation plans and sustainable communities strategies required under Senate Bill 375. Working in collaboration with cities, counties, and stakeholder groups, these plans include initiatives to expand housing and transportation choices and build stronger regional economies, while achieving greenhouse gas reduction targets, and providing streamlining benefits for consistent development projects.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental Law Section
  • California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section
  • LEED Green Associate, accreditation earned 2009
  • Urban Land Institute, San Francisco
  • Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), San Francisco
  • California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter, Editorial Board Member, 2008-2010

Honors & Rankings

  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Environmental, 2022
  • Dean’s Scholarship Award, McGeorge School of Law
  • Honors at Entrance, McGeorge School of Law
  • Dean’s Honor Roll, McGeorge School of Law
  • Traynor Honor Society McGeorge School of Law
  • Dean’s Honor List, University of California, Davis

Public Sector

  • Representing a municipality in defending its approval of electric utility regulatory changes and compliance with CEQA for future updates.
  • Representing a municipality in defending lawsuits filed under CEQA, the Subdivision Map Act, and Planning and Zoning Law.
  • Serving as outside counsel to advise in preparation of all necessary legal documents for SB 375 and CEQA compliance for adoption of Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy for the Bay Area.
  • Serving as outside counsel to advise in preparation of all necessary legal documents for SB 375 and CEQA compliance for adoption of Metropolitan Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy for the Sacramento region.
  • Served as outside counsel to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in litigation associated with the Department’s approval of an approximately 12,000 acre development in northwestern Los Angeles County.
  • Represented City of Santa Cruz in successfully defending its approval of a master plan for natural resource protection and an accessible trail system in the Arana Gulch open space area.

Private Sector

  • Representing an existing medical school in securing entitlements from the City of Sacramento for a medical center campus to include a 14-story, 420-bed teaching hospital, college, dormitories, childcare center, senior residential care facility, and supporting office, commercial, and retail uses.
  • Representing applicant in obtaining land use entitlements and completing CEQA review for a solar photovoltaic energy generation facility on approximately 1,228 acres in Merced County.
  • Advising developer on entitlement and CEQA strategies for a large infill housing development project in the City of Sacramento, including making effective use of California’s housing accountability laws.
  • Represented applicant for a 2,000-acre mixed-use specific plan to develop a strategy for first phase entitlements from the County of Sacramento, CEQA compliance, and permits under the Endangered Species Acts.
  • Successfully represented the applicant in two lawsuits filed challenging approval of a fitness center project in Roseville and represented same applicant in the administrative process leading to the approval of fitness center project in Folsom.
  • Represented project applicant during the administrative process and secured land use entitlements and EIR certification for a 336-unit residential development, neighborhood recreation center and parks, located on an approximately 48.75-acre site in the City of Sacramento. Successfully represented the applicant in trial court and on appeal.
  • Represented project applicants in obtaining EIR certification and land use entitlements and successfully defended applicants in litigation challenging approval of a 577-acre mixed-use development including a transit center to facilitate extension of the Sacramento light rail system to the Sacramento International Airport.
  • Represented project applicants in obtaining EIR certification and land use entitlements for a 40-acre hospital and medical campus in the City of Elk Grove.
  • Represented project applicants in obtaining EIR certification and land use entitlements for a 6,000-acre Urban Development Plan for residential, commercial and medical uses, public facilities and schools in Merced.
  • Represented project applicants in obtaining EIR certification, land use entitlements, and development agreements for a 65-acre transit-oriented, mixed-use development in Sacramento.

Published Cases

Announcements

1 related items

Speaking Engagements / Events

4 related items
  • February 15, 2024
    CEQA 2024 Update – A Deeper Dive
    Argent Communications 9th Annual California Land Use Law & Policy Virtual Conference
  • January 30, 2024
    BPC Briefing: 2023-24 CEQA Update
    CEQA Case Developments - Year in Review
  • 2015
    CEQA Under Senate Bill 375: Set To Streamline?
    APA California
  • 2008
    California Civil Engineering and Surveying Land Law
    Half Moon Seminars

Blogs

8 related items

Legal Alerts

1 related items

Publications

6 related items
  • December 2023
    2023 Year-End Legislative Wrap Up
    California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter, Volume 33, Number 3
  • October 2023
    Legislative Update
    California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter, Volume 33, Number 1
  • Summer 2010
    New Guidelines for Analyzing Air Quality Impacts Could Thwart Bay Area Infill Development
    Co-author, Points & Authorities (reprinted in Environmental Leader, September 2010)
  • April 2009
    Examining the Importance of the California Supreme Court’s Decision in Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood
    California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter
  • 2003
    A Little Help From One’s Friends: Summary of Rules of Court and Procedural Considerations Relating to Amicus Participation
    Contributor, League of California Cities
  • Winter 2003
    Health and Welfare Chapter 1017: Providing a New System for Treating the Mentally Ill
    34 McGeorge Law Review 485

In her time outside the office, Amy enjoys exploring Bay Area parks, museums, and eateries with her family. She is the proud mom of two young girls and is an active volunteer in their school.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • Bar Association of San Francisco, Environmental Law Section
  • California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section
  • LEED Green Associate, accreditation earned 2009
  • Urban Land Institute, San Francisco
  • Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), San Francisco
  • California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter, Editorial Board Member, 2008-2010

Honors & Rankings

  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Environmental, 2022
  • Dean’s Scholarship Award, McGeorge School of Law
  • Honors at Entrance, McGeorge School of Law
  • Dean’s Honor Roll, McGeorge School of Law
  • Traynor Honor Society McGeorge School of Law
  • Dean’s Honor List, University of California, Davis