Eric J. DeBear


Washington, D.C.

(202) 747-0769

(202) 861-1905

Eric advises clients in land use and zoning matters throughout all phases of residential and commercial real estate development projects. Eric routinely drafts documents as part of the zoning entitlement process, including zoning determination letters as well as applications for special exceptions, variances, planned unit developments, and zoning map amendments. Through creative and succinct briefing, Eric has assisted in the successful defense of a number of zoning approvals before the D.C. Court of Appeals. Eric also presents applications and advocates on behalf of clients to the Board of Zoning Adjustment, local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, and District government agencies.

In addition to zoning due diligence and entitlements, Eric has experience in real estate matters that include defending building permits and licenses before the Office of Administrative Hearings, real estate-based litigation in D.C. Superior Court, and condominium formation through the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development.

A District resident for over a decade, Eric earned his J.D. from the Catholic University of America — Columbus School of Law and his B.A. in government from Connecticut College.



Cozen O’Connor Continues Rapid Expansion in Washington, D.C., with Addition of Zoning, Land Use & Development Group

June 27, 2017

The group is led by Meridith Moldenhauer, who joins as a member, and includes Samantha Mazo, who joins as of counsel, Alyssa Bigley and Eric DeBear, who both join as attorneys, and Stephen Varga, who joins as planning services director.


COVID-19 Impact on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals [Get The Dirt Blog]

March 24, 2020

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals (“Court of Appeals” or “Court”) is making significant operational changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as reflected in the March 23, 2020, Order entered by Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby. The change to Court procedures follows suit with many...

The District’s Alley Lot Development Frontier May Be Expanding [Get The Dirt Blog]

July 12, 2019

There are big changes afoot for alley lot development in the District of Columbia.  Over the past year, several clients approached Cozen O’Connor with challenges in developing alley lots.  This was a peculiar juxtaposition given that the District’s Zoning Regulation rewrite in 2016 was seen as a...

The Court of Discontent is a Whale of a Problem [Get The Dirt Blog]

May 09, 2018

A blue whale grows more than thirty pounds a day and doubles in size in its first six months of life.  Every developer wants to land the whale of a deal.  Many big deals in the District of Columbia require complicated entitlements before the Board of Zoning Adjustment or the Zoning Commission....

The Caveman’s Club vs. The Modern Neighbor [Get The Dirt Blog]

February 15, 2018

Protecting one’s property is an innate impulse that dates back to the beginnings of man.  The cavemen defended their caves with clubs and rocks.  It remains unclear whether cavemen also went to community meetings and objected to an increase in density at the neighboring cave.  The question is: how...


  • Catholic University - Columbus School of Law , J.D., 2012
  • Connecticut College, B.A., 2007
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland