Braiden’s clients include Fortune 500 companies with business interests in California, including commercial, residential, agricultural, and industrial businesses. His representation regularly includes appearances before local, regional, state and federal administrative agencies in connection with use permits and other entitlements. He handles all aspects of environmental compliance under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), land-use permitting and any resulting litigation. His permitting work extends from California’s largest ski resorts, to residential developers, oil gas and energy companies, wineries, agricultural entities, landfills, mitigation/conservation banks, and mining companies.
As one of the state’s most knowledgeable authorities on mitigation/conservation banking, Braiden is consistently on the faculty for legal and industry conferences on cutting-edge banking issues. The key to his success is working closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Army Corps of Engineers to entitle mitigation banks throughout California. This work is highly specialized, and includes in-depth title examination, negotiation with landowners, cities, Counties, and State and federal agencies to resolve conflicts with mineral rights, endangered species, jurisdictional waters, traditional land-use laws, and helping create crediting methodologies used by administrative agencies. He understands both the regulatory risks as well as the business interests driving his client’s projects. His professional working relationships with agency staff and counsel, as well as his unparalleled experience in this area of the law, makes Braiden uniquely suited to help his clients get their projects approved quickly and economically.
Braiden is also one of California’s leading experts on the Williamson Act. He was directly involved on behalf of the solar industry to help shape recent legislation modifying the Williamson Act to accommodate solar facilities on non-productive farmland. He also frequently represents multinational oil and mining companies, residential and commercial developers and a variety of landowners on Williamson Act issues, including compatible use determinations, potential litigation, and petitions for cancellation of existing Williamson Act contracts.
Representative Oil, Gas and Mining Experience
Represents both international and independent oil and gas companies throughout California preparing oil, gas, mineral and geothermal title opinions, including drill site, supplemental, acquisition and division order title opinions.
Advises oil, gas, mineral and geothermal companies seeking exploratory and operational drilling permits on both public (state and federal) and private lands.
In the last ten years, negotiated an impressive number of wind, mineral, and geothermal leases on behalf of producers and landowners.
Advises multinational mining companies on technical requirements of mining operations, zoning, conditional use permits and determining vested rights status.
Counsels mining companies regarding compliance with the California Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA).
Represented pipeline companies in obtaining permits associated with rights-of-way, gas-gathering operations and other aspects of pipeline routing and construction in both California and Nevada.
Represents oil terminals and pipeline companies in both environmental/regulatory permitting and land-use entitlements.
Represents commercial wind and solar power companies in all facets of the entitlement process, including environmental review and permitting under CEQA, NEPA, and the California and federal endangered species acts.
Representative Conservation Easement and Mitigation/Conservation Bank Experience
Negotiated with California State Lands Commission regarding patent and title issues, the Public Trust Doctrine and related issues surrounding permanent encumbrance of State-owned land for mitigation projects.
Represents landowners and mitigation bank companies throughout California preparing both mineral and general title opinions and recommendations for clearing title encumbrances.
Represented Bank Sponsors entitling thousands of acres of mitigation/conservation banks throughout California, including: special-status species, habitat, and wetland (including streams, riparian corridors, vernal pool and depressional wetlands) Banks.
Advises Property Owners on Bank entitlement issues, including permit and entitlement timing, conservation easement structure and negotiation, cost/benefit issues, permitting strategies for conservation easement projects, and Mitigation/Conservation Bank proposals on his client’s landholdings.
Largest prime agricultural land conservation easement in California history covering 12,000 acres in Fresno County. Also worked on numerous other conservation easements throughout the state ranging in size from 5 acres to several thousand acres.
Successfully negotiated approval of: mitigation service areas for both Banks and Conservation Easements, mitigation ratios and crediting, easement structure and allowed uses, Banking document language, and environmental review with administrative agencies and the requirements of both State and federal law.
Represents 501(c)(3) and private conservation entities in conjunction with endowment requirements (allowed expenditures, use and investing), easement enforcement, and all dealings with State and federal agencies.
Representative Agricultural Experience
Experience in agricultural land use / environmental permitting and regulatory matters, and has developed a solid history of success representing both family and international food and agriculture businesses.
Defends the agricultural industry in enforcement actions brought by California and federal agencies, including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Aided farming interests and wineries in Napa, Amador, Solano, Tehama and San Joaquin counties to secure permits needed to expand operations, defend agricultural operations from State and federal enforcement actions, and help existing farming operations remain in compliance with State and federal environmental laws.
Worked on behalf of large-scale development and agricultural projects throughout California including: securing conditional use permits, Clean Water Act permitting and compliance, by-right farming and zoning ordinances, Endangered Species Act permitting and compliance, renewable energy leasing and permitting on existing farmland, Williamson Act contracts (negotiation, compatible uses and compliance), conservation easements, and mitigation banking.
Land-Use and Property-Rights Litigation Experience
Extensive experience before State and Federal courts, including First and Third California District Courts of Appeal with published cases in both districts interpreting the Permit Streamlining Act and California’s open range laws. Drafted appellate briefs before the California Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the California Coastal Commission.
Representative Residential, Commercial and Industrial Experience
Represents large-scale residential and mixed-use developers with title analysis and curative measures, partitioning land under the Subdivision Map Act, maintaining the life of a tentative map, drafting and negotiating conditions of approval, easement and roadway dedications and vesting development rights for later construction.
Assists residential developers in complying with California Lake and Streambed Alteration requirements, Clean Water Act, and obtaining permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the various California Regional Water Quality Control Boards pursuant to same.
Recently, and successfully, defended one of California’s largest ski resorts in an appeal of its subdivision map and development plans and is currently permitting an expansion of skiable area, new lift system and related residential development to create one of the largest resorts in North America.
Recently defended a large development before the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) with respect to its proposed development and new public lands leases. Braiden also routinely defends existing land uses when challenged through the TRPA Administrative Determination process.
During the economic downturn, continued to secure numerous land-use entitlements, including General Plan Amendments, Conditional Use Permits, Rezones, and Community Plan Amendments on behalf of developers and landowners. One of the few attorneys to Successfully relocate County boundary lines to resolve jurisdictional conflicts and facilitate development plans.
Represents new and expanded industrial uses and religious land uses.
36 Cal.4th 1 (2005)
139 Cal.App.4th 812 (2006)
Super Lawyers Rising Star August, 2014, 2015
Sacramento Magazine “Top Attorneys” Sacramento’s Outstanding Lawyers: August, 2014
San Francisco Magazine “Northern California’s Outstanding Young Lawyers” August, 2014
Super Lawyers Rising Star August, 2013
Sacramento Business Journal “Best of the Bar” Sacramento’s best lawyers as chosen by their peers: September, 2013, 2015
Judicial Extern to the Honorable Judge Ellen Carroll, United States Bankruptcy Court, Los Angeles
Law Clerk for the California Attorney General’s Office, Tort and Condemnation Division, Los Angeles
Law Clerk for the United States Department of Justice, Office of the U.S. Trustee, Los Angeles
Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, Member
Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member
Sacramento County Bar Association, Appellate Law Section, Member California State Bar, Environmental and Real Property Law Sections, Member
Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Member
North State Building Industry Association, Member
Urban Land Institute, Member
University of Utah (B.A., 2000)
Loyola Law School (J.D., 2003)
Third Annual California Wetlands Permitting and Mitigation Conference: “Wetlands Mitigation Banking; Regulations and Processes” San Francisco, CA (2016) Presenter, Panelist
CalCIMA (California Construction and Industrial Materials Association) Annual Education Conference: “Dangerous Waters: State and Federal Jurisdiction, New State Regulations and Practical Permitting Strategies,” San Diego, CA (2014), Presenter
CalAPA (California Asphalt Pavement Association) Annual Conference: “Environmental Focus: Storm-Water Permitting,” Sacramento, CA (2014), Presenter
National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference: “Financing, Valuing and Permitting Mitigation Banks” Denver, Colorado (2014), Presenter, Panelist
Featured Speaker at University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Symposium: “Growing, Growing, Gone: Innovative Ideas in Resource Management for a Growing Population,” Sacramento, California (2014), Presenter, Panelist
Ecological & Environmental Mitigation Banking Conference, “The Mechanics of Ecological Mitigation Banking,”Santa Monica, CA (2013), Presenter, Panelist
San Francisco Association of Bay Area Professionals, “Hydraulic Fracturing in California,” Redwood City (2013), Presenter, Panelist
Association of Environmental Professionals Annual Conference, “Navigating Projects through CEQA and Local Government Biological and Regulatory Policies,” Sacramento, CA (2012), Presenter, Panelist
J. Reuben Clark Law Society National Conference, “California Land Use and Environmental Permitting”(2012), Stanford, CA, Presenter
J. Reuben Clark Law Society National Conference, “Practitioners Speak About Service for Good in Practice Areas” Salt Lake City, Utah (2010), Presenter, Panelist
American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL), “Federal Mining Law Year In Review,” Reno, Nevada (2006-2015), Presenter
California Building Industry Association (CBIA), “Water Supply, Greenhouse Gas and other Cutting Edge CEQA Issues”(2008), Sacramento, CA, Presenter, Panelist