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Steven Flower

Shareholder | Los Angeles

Overview

Steven Flower is an advisor to cities and other public agencies, with an expertise is helping them find practical solutions to legal problems, both as a city attorney and as an expert in land use and telecommunications matters.  He believes that the role of the public lawyer is to give elected and appointed local policymakers the legal tools they need to accomplish their goals while minimizing legal risks.

Work for Clients

Steven is the City Attorney of the City of San Marino and the Assistant City Attorney and Planning Commission counsel for the City of Brea.  He previously served as Assistant City Attorney and Planning Commission counsel for the City of Rancho Cucamonga.

Steven also regularly advises cities on local wireless telecommunications regulations, cell site leasing, and cable television franchising including the Cities of Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Covina, Manhattan Beach, Moorpark, Norwalk, San Marino, Seal Beach, South El Monte, Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula, and Walnut.

Professional Experience

Steven joined the Firm in 2006 and is a member of the Firm’s Public Law Department and Telecommunications Practice Group.

Honors & Awards

University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Dean S. Butler Scholarship (2001), a full tuition, three-year merit-based scholarship

Professional and Community Affiliations

Orange County City Attorneys’ Association (President 2016-2017; Board member 2014-2017)

City Attorney Association, Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County Bar Association

American Bar Association, Local Government Division

League of California Cities, City Attorneys Department, Brown Act Committee

League of California Cities, City Attorneys Department, Practicing Ethics Handbook Committee

Experience

Steven advises public entities on day-to-day operations and complex regulatory and transactional issues.  He has extensive experience advising local agency boards and commissions at public meetings on matters of municipal governance and operation, including the Brown Act, parliamentary procedure, conflicts of interest rules, election law, the Public Records Act, public contracts, public works, land use, CEQA, free speech activities, and telecommunications.

Steven regularly works with local agency staffs, developers, and decision-makers on all manner of land use issues, from specific plans for large mixed-use developments to Environmental Impact Reports (“EIRs”) for controversial developments.  Representative matters include the following:

  • Brea Place project, City of Brea. Advised the City regarding a controversial mixed use development that will include approximately 650 high density residential units and relied on an addendum to a previously certified EIR to the city’s General Plan.
  • Empire Lakes Specific Plan, City of Rancho Cucamonga. Advised the City regarding review and approval of a controversial specific plan (and related EIR) to allow conversion of a golf course into a mixed use community that will include up to 3,450 residential units.
  • DWP Project, Seal Beach. Advised the City regarding the review and approval of a specific plan amendment (and related EIR) to allow residential development on the last remaining coastal open space in the city.
  • Housing Element Update, Seal Beach. Advised the City regarding the drafting, review, approval, and implementation of the City’s first Housing Element to be certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development in more than twenty five years.
  • General Plan and Development Code updates, Rancho Cucamonga. Advised the City regarding the drafting and adoption of a comprehensive General Plan update and subsequent comprehensive Development Code update.
  • Comprehensive Zoning Code, Seal Beach. Advised the City regarding the drafting and adoption of a comprehensive update to the city’s zoning code, as well as a related referendum election and a related city-sponsored initiative regarding the adoption of height limits.
  • Victoria Gardens, City of Rancho Cucamonga. Advised the City regarding the review and approval of amendments to multiple, interlocking planning documents (and related supplemental EIR) to allow high density mid-rise residential development at the Victoria Gardens lifestyle center

Steven also negotiates and drafts complex development agreements, telecommunication agreements, and utility franchises.  Additionally, he has worked with public entities to develop standardized contract forms for routine matters to reduce legal costs and improve the protections provided by contract documents.

Steven has drafted ordinances and resolutions on a wide variety of subjects including medical marijuana, historic preservation, wireless telecommunication facilities, floodplain regulations, group homes, fair housing, density bonuses, inclusionary housing, parades and special events, signs, and news racks.

Steven regularly advises his clients regarding the drafting and awarding of public works contracts, including the resolution of bid protests and other legal challenges.

Steven has litigation experience on behalf of public entity clients in cases concerning CEQA, telecommunications, the First Amendment and other civil rights claims, affordable housing, and land use, including a published opinion in Putnam Family Partnership v. City of Yucaipa, 673 F.3d 920 (9th Cir. 2012), which vindicated the rights of cities to create senior housing zones consistent with the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Presentations

Steven regularly speaks on issues of practical importance to public entities, such as telecommunication law, the First Amendment, CEQA, conflicts of interest, design-build contracting, and strategies for managing public meetings.  He regularly provides AB 1234 ethics training to the employees and officials of his public agency clients.

Publications

  • Suspicious Minds: The Federal Telecommunications Act Converges with the Doctrine of Prior Restraints in the Ninth Circuit
    Summer 2007
    Public Law Journal
  • Toward Correcting the Misapplication of Subrogation in California Healthcare
    2004
    Southern California Law Review

Education

J.D., University of Southern California Law School

M.Phil., University of Cambridge

B.A., Wesleyan University

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Richards, Watson & Gershon delivers practical advice and solutions tailored to the unique needs of public entities. Working seamlessly across offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Temecula and the Central Coast, our dedicated team of experts provides the full scope of public law services.

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