Environmental Planning And Problem Solving


Environmental litigation is costly. There are times when it is the best or only course of action, but when environmental litigation can be avoided by finding creative solutions to environmental concerns about existing uses or changes to land use, that is often the best course of action to take.

At the Law Offices of Kathleen P. Clack, we have been helping property owners and community stakeholders find solutions to contentious environmental issues since 1998.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced California environmental planning lawyer.


Today's environmental arena involves a complex and sometimes competing set of values and laws. While the obvious issue may be contamination of soil, water and air, layers of equally important factors have to be weighed into a decision to purchase, use or clean land. Quantities of clean soil, water and air factor into the decision matrix, while protecting animal and plant species as they exist in any location. All natural resources including endangered species exist in various quantities at any location. Land purchase and use decisions must be made based on an analysis of each factor.

Above and beyond the quantifiable elements of natural resources and contaminants is the capacity of the population to co-exist with the uses of soil, water and air proposed or existing in any land use decision. Together with federal and state laws, the effects on the population associated with a contemplated land use must be considered. The population must be prepared for new or changing land uses. Land users are often required by statute to involve the public in the methods and procedure for the removal of contamination.

Land uses affect the rights of the land owner and the public. Each is entitled to representation under the law. In approaching a problem situation or developing a new land use, the rights of each have to be part of the planning and decision-making process. In the age of electronic communication, no element of the environmental world goes unnoticed. New projects where there were none quickly become visible. The public is more informed and educated today than ever before. The general public provides input on projects, cleanup actions and a whole variety of environmental impacts. Public comment is a part of the regulatory process and the planning process. Likewise, the public needs projects to move forward. People need employment, resources and housing. The answer is planning, communication and above all, balance.

The best way to establish a productive and positive rapport with the parties interested in a given land use or cleanup decision is a full awareness of the interrelated matrix of statutes, natural and manmade resources, contaminants, and the quantities of each. Advance planning for each element is the best means of successful completion of a project or continuation of an existing land use that has been affected.

Working with applicable government agencies is an important part of finding a solution to any land use and environmental law dispute. Protecting and defending the rights of developers, associations and individual landowners, our firm also understands the stakes for municipal, state and federal government agencies. We will help you engage in productive problem-solving in order to reach a successful conclusion.

Working relationships with regulatory agencies are equally important to successful projects, be they new or changing land uses or cleanup actions. The involvement of a project-specific regulator, federal and/or state, may be required. It is essential to prepare any project for the eventual, though not always required, regulatory participation.

The process for each issue may differ slightly, but science and the approach to dealing with regulators and the public process are mostly the same. It is vital for anyone preparing to work with regulators and the public that cleanup or land use projects are addressed with accuracy in facts, science and evidence; honesty at all levels no matter how seemingly insignificant; consistency; and, of course, application of the appropriate statutes.

In order to minimize or avoid the need for litigation, this law office focuses on a variety of environmental issues, statutory requirements and preparedness for public and regulatory involvement, if and when it becomes necessary. We consider the approach to a particular set of objectives and issues and help you through the process.


Property owners have constitutionally protected rights to gain economic value from their property through use and development. But, in a democracy, other stakeholders have rights as well, particularly groups who will be affected by proposed uses of a property.

Our legal team helps diverse interest groups to come together, to understand the law and the rights of property owners, and then to explore and negotiate a course of action that:

  • Allows the property owner maximum benefit from his/her property
  • Satisfies legal and regulatory requirements to the degree required and possible
  • Gives the community and other stakeholders confidence that the property use is sufficiently compliant with legal requirements and that the owner has been responsive to public concerns regarding contaminant abatement and remediation

Our environmental law attorneys pay attention to the human component of disputes as well as the process elements. Through skilled facilitation and creative negotiation, it is often possible to find solutions that offer added benefits. Some of those benefits may include increasing scientific knowledge of environmental impacts, endangered species, and legislative or administrative law changes.


With law offices in Fresno and Pacific Grove, we help clients in California and throughout the U.S. who have environmental law concerns in state and federal courts. We are available weekdays from nine to five, and by appointment. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced California environmental planning lawyer.