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.



More Than 205 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 19, 2021

Best Lawyers selected 210 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 20, 2020

Best Lawyers selected 201 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (Copyright 2020 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

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.


D.C. Council Considers Changes to Condominium Warranty Adjudication Process [Get The Dirt Blog]

September 28, 2020

If the COVID-19 pandemic was not already difficult enough on the D.C. real estate development community, recent proposed legislation by the D.C. Council might make developing condominiums in the city more challenging. On September 17, 2020, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Housing and...

Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Issues Fines to Restaurants and Bars Violating Social Distancing Measures [Get The Dirt Blog]

September 25, 2020

Dr. Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during his testimony before a Senate subcommittee on September 16 that wearing face masks may be more effective than a vaccine at protecting against COVID-19. What is surprising is the authority tasked with...

Zoning Commission Moves to Clarify Regulations for Virtual Meetings and Hearings [Get The Dirt Blog]

September 22, 2020

As COVID-19-related closures are likely to continue into 2021, the Zoning Commission (Commission) recently took emergency proposed action to further clarify the rules and procedures for virtual meetings and hearings. The text amendment applies to Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustment...

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

Awards & Honors

The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch, 2021-2022

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland