Zoning, Land Use & Development

Recent News:

More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch

210 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 24 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

More

Cozen O’Connor has represented residential, commercial, retail, and industrial builders in the development and redevelopment of building lots and millions of square feet of real estate. Our team handles every aspect of the zoning, land use, and development approvals process, from obtaining building permits and variances to negotiating stormwater management and traffic plans. We have experience working on multifamily homes and condominiums, office buildings and shopping centers, single-use buildings such as pharmaceutical headquarters and educational institutions, municipal buildings, and public infrastructure. We are equally adept at managing development in densely built cities as in suburban or rural regions.

Having handled hundreds of projects to date, our real estate lawyers can recognize, anticipate, and resolve issues early. We advise clients candidly when a proposal is likely to confront insurmountable resistance in the approvals process and work closely with architectural, engineering, and budget experts to create realistic, approvable alternatives. Once a development plan is in place, we obtain the necessary approvals to allow construction to begin as soon as possible. We frequently engage government overseers on multiple, parallel tracks and are tenacious about advancing our clients' development goals.

Cozen O’Connor attorneys understand, however, that smart advocacy requires both persistence and diplomacy. Most real estate development — from the addition of a small parking lot to the construction of a one-million-square-foot high rise — invites objection from one party or another. To reach a satisfactory resolution and enable development to go forward, real estate counsel must listen to the concerns of all stakeholders and be able to communicate effectively with government officials, funders, community groups, and residents. Through open and respectful consultation, we are able to keep projects on track and out of court. In those rare cases when negotiation is not possible, we are prepared to litigate to protect clients’ legitimate property rights.

 

SERVICE AREAS

  • Appear before boards of elected officials, planning commissions, and zoning hearing boards
  • Guide clients through local, state, and federal agency land use application processes
  • Negotiate zoning approvals, variances, special exceptions, and conditional uses
  • Advocate for rezoning on clients’ behalf
  • Obtain land use approvals and special use permits
  • Obtain site plan and subdivision approvals
  • Address grading, floodplain, stormwater management, and other environmental issues
  • Address highway occupancy and traffic considerations
  • Represent clients in land use, zoning, boundary line, and easement litigation

Experience

Publications

In Focus: Demand for Industrial Land Surges

June 17, 2022

Evan Pritchard discusses the surge in demand for industrial land due to the growth in e-commerce in Area Development. Sales for industrial land grew by 41 percent from Q1 of 2020 to Q4 of 2021. With online services now a part of everyone’s life, we must be able to support these services with the land.

Mayor Adams Outlines Vision for "City of Yes" [Alert]

June 06, 2022

Mayor Adams announced his “City of Yes” plan to amend the city’s zoning tools to support small businesses, create affordable housing, and promote sustainability.

NYC Agencies Provide Guidance for Racial Equity Report Requirements

May 11, 2022

Beginning June 1, 2022, certain public and private applications before the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) must include a Racial Equity Report.

NY State Legislators Introduce Legislation to Protect SoHo/NoHo Residents

May 09, 2022

Senator Kavanagh, Assembly Member Glick have each introduced state legislation to permit residents to continue to occupy units previously reserved for artists.

Modernizing Real Property Easements For The 21st Century

March 22, 2022

The Uniform Easement Relocation Act (UERA) was approved by the NCC in 2020 in order to resolve the myriad regional approaches to the relocation of easements.

Proposed Chevy Chase Small Area Plan [Alert]

March 17, 2022

Meridith Moldenhauer and Evan Pritchard discuss the Chevy Chase Small Area Plan.

Looming End of Tax Break Triggers Real Estate “Hunger Games” [The Real Deal]

January 12, 2022

Ken Fisher discusses a major gamble taken by developers in Gowanus that will result in a major tax break for some developers for the next 25 years in The Real Deal.

New Legal Requirements for NY Real Estate Company Data Security and Privacy [Brooklyn Barrister]

November 29, 2021

Ken Fisher discusses the need for New York real estate companies to update their data security and privacy practices and procedures in the Brooklyn Barrister.

Controversial Citywide Hotel Text Amendment Debated at City Planning Commission [Alert]

August 02, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Kaitesi Munroe, Vivien Krieger, Katie Schwab discuss the city’s proposed City-Wide Hotel Special Permit and how community boards and borough presidents are responding.

NYC Is Moving Towards Creating a Permanent Open Restaurants Program [Alert]

July 20, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Kaitesi Munroe, Vivien Krieger, and Katie Schwab discuss Mayor de Blasio's plan to make the temporary Open Restaurants Program permanent.

NYC Council Approves Proposal to Mandate Racial Equity Reports for Certain Land Use Applications [Alert]

June 28, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Kaitesi Munroe, Vivien Krieger and Katie Schwab discuss the NYC Council Approval of the Proposal to Mandate Racial Equity Reports for Certain Land Use Applications

Cozen O’Connor’s Ken Fisher Recaps His Week

May 20, 2021

Ken Fisher (New York), shares a brief recap of his involvement with the Gowanus rezoning project where Mayor de Blasio proposes to upzone approximately 80 acres along the canal to make it available for residential buildings for the Commercial Observer.

Where do the Mayoral Candidates Stand on Affordable Housing? [Alert]

April 22, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Lauren Turenchalk, Vivien Krieger, and Katie Schwab discuss the eight top Democratic candidates and their plans for affordable housing.

Mayor de Blasio Presses Forward with Citywide Zoning Agenda [Alert]

March 18, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Vivien Krieger, and Ken Fisher discuss a series of new proposed citywide zoning text amendments that are intended to improve transit station accessibility, incentivize the creation of local grocery stores, and alleviate regulatory burdens for gyms and restaurants.

In The News

More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch

August 22, 2022

210 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 24 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Meridith Moldenhauer Named a 2022 GlobeSt. Women of Influence

July 26, 2022

Moldenhauer was recognized at an awards ceremony on July 26, 2022.

Ken Fisher Named to City & State New York’s 2022 Brooklyn Power 100

July 11, 2022

New York, July 11, 2022 — Kenneth K. Fisher, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Business Law Department, was named to City & State New York’s 2022 Brooklyn Power 100. The list recognizes “the borough’s most politically powerful figures, including government officials, business executives, nonprofit leaders, activists, advocates and academics.”

In Focus: Demand for Industrial Land Surges

June 17, 2022

Evan Pritchard discusses the surge in demand for industrial land due to the growth in e-commerce in Area Development. Sales for industrial land grew by 41 percent from Q1 of 2020 to Q4 of 2021. With online services now a part of everyone’s life, we must be able to support these services with the land.

Mayor Adams Outlines Vision for "City of Yes" [Alert]

June 06, 2022

Mayor Adams announced his “City of Yes” plan to amend the city’s zoning tools to support small businesses, create affordable housing, and promote sustainability.

Chambers Ranks 86 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 22 Practice Areas in Chambers USA 2022 Guide

June 02, 2022

Chambers USA, the leading annual guide to the top lawyers and law firms in the United States, has ranked 86 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields in the guide’s 2022 edition.

NYC Agencies Provide Guidance for Racial Equity Report Requirements

May 11, 2022

Beginning June 1, 2022, certain public and private applications before the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) must include a Racial Equity Report.

NY State Legislators Introduce Legislation to Protect SoHo/NoHo Residents

May 09, 2022

Senator Kavanagh, Assembly Member Glick have each introduced state legislation to permit residents to continue to occupy units previously reserved for artists.

Modernizing Real Property Easements For The 21st Century

March 22, 2022

The Uniform Easement Relocation Act (UERA) was approved by the NCC in 2020 in order to resolve the myriad regional approaches to the relocation of easements.

Proposed Chevy Chase Small Area Plan [Alert]

March 17, 2022

Meridith Moldenhauer and Evan Pritchard discuss the Chevy Chase Small Area Plan.

Kenneth Fisher Named Among City & State New York’s Real Estate Power 100

February 14, 2022

New York, February 14, 2022 — Kenneth K. Fisher, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Business Law Department, was named to City & State New York’s 2022 Real Estate Power 100. The list recognizes New York City’s most influential real estate executives, public officials, lawmakers, labor leaders, activists, and advocates. Fisher was recognized for his “reputation as a respected authority working ‘at the intersection of law, politics, and community service.’”

Fixing the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway: What Can Be Done and When

January 25, 2022

Ken Fisher is quoted in an article in the Commercial Observer that discusses the neglected state of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) and what needs to be done to address this issue.

After 10-Year Saga, Judge’s Delay Keeps Senior Housing Unbuilt

January 19, 2022

Ken Fisher is quoted in an article in The Real Deal about New York City’s development of an affordable housing complex for seniors at the site of Elizabeth Street Garden.

Looming End of Tax Break Triggers Real Estate “Hunger Games” [The Real Deal]

January 12, 2022

Ken Fisher discusses a major gamble taken by developers in Gowanus that will result in a major tax break for some developers for the next 25 years in The Real Deal.

New Legal Requirements for NY Real Estate Company Data Security and Privacy [Brooklyn Barrister]

November 29, 2021

Ken Fisher discusses the need for New York real estate companies to update their data security and privacy practices and procedures in the Brooklyn Barrister.

Cozen O’Connor Continues to Gain Traction in Real Estate with Zoning and Land Use Attorney G. Evan Pritchard

November 15, 2021

Pritchard brings extensive experience with securing zoning entitlements throughout Northern Virginia and the District.

Eric Adams’ Top Challenges as New York Mayor Include Real Estate

November 04, 2021

Ken Fisher discusses plans that Eric Adams, the new mayor of New York City has to increase the housing, zoning, and quality of life issues confronting the city in Commercial Observer.

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.

Controversial Citywide Hotel Text Amendment Debated at City Planning Commission [Alert]

August 02, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Kaitesi Munroe, Vivien Krieger, Katie Schwab discuss the city’s proposed City-Wide Hotel Special Permit and how community boards and borough presidents are responding.

Vivien Krieger Continues Her Leadership at Urban Land Institute New York

July 23, 2021

Vivien Krieger, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate Practice, has been appointed chair of Urban Land Institute (ULI) New York’s Technical Assistance Panels Steering Committee for a one-year term, effective July 1, 2021.

NYC Is Moving Towards Creating a Permanent Open Restaurants Program [Alert]

July 20, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Kaitesi Munroe, Vivien Krieger, and Katie Schwab discuss Mayor de Blasio's plan to make the temporary Open Restaurants Program permanent.

NYC Council Approves Proposal to Mandate Racial Equity Reports for Certain Land Use Applications [Alert]

June 28, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Kaitesi Munroe, Vivien Krieger and Katie Schwab discuss the NYC Council Approval of the Proposal to Mandate Racial Equity Reports for Certain Land Use Applications

47 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

May 28, 2021

Super Lawyers has selected 47 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to the 2021 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Cozen O’Connor’s Ken Fisher Recaps His Week

May 20, 2021

Ken Fisher (New York), shares a brief recap of his involvement with the Gowanus rezoning project where Mayor de Blasio proposes to upzone approximately 80 acres along the canal to make it available for residential buildings for the Commercial Observer.

Where do the Mayoral Candidates Stand on Affordable Housing? [Alert]

April 22, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Lauren Turenchalk, Vivien Krieger, and Katie Schwab discuss the eight top Democratic candidates and their plans for affordable housing.

How will New York Convert Unused Buildings Into Housing?

April 20, 2021

Ken Fisher discusses a plan lawmakers are considering to convert distressed office buildings and hotels into housing in City & State New York.

Judge Lifts Restraining Order on Gowanus Rezoning

April 19, 2021

Ken Fisher discusses the likelihood of the Gowanus rezoning project proceeding in Crain’s New York Business.

Mayor de Blasio Presses Forward with Citywide Zoning Agenda [Alert]

March 18, 2021

Alyssa Baldassini, Vivien Krieger, and Ken Fisher discuss a series of new proposed citywide zoning text amendments that are intended to improve transit station accessibility, incentivize the creation of local grocery stores, and alleviate regulatory burdens for gyms and restaurants.

Kiss the Ring: City Pols Weigh Heavy on Development in These Major Markets

November 09, 2020

Ken Fisher discusses the influence local officials have in changing the skylines of major real estate cities, such as New York, in The Real Deal.

Super Lawyers Recognizes 21 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys in New York

September 29, 2020

Super Lawyers has named 21 Cozen O’Connor attorneys to its 2020 New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list.

Vivien Krieger Appointed to Two Urban Land Institute New York Leadership Positions

July 08, 2020

Vivien Krieger, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate Practice, has been appointed vice chair of Urban Land Institute (ULI) New York’s Technical Assistance Panels Steering Committee for a one-year term, effective July 1, 2020.

Ken Fisher Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award by New York Law Journal

July 01, 2020

Ken Fisher, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Business Law Department, has been selected by the New York Law Journal to receive its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

What a toothless de Blasio means for real estate

June 10, 2020

Ken Fisher discusses the impact New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's loss of influence has on the real estate industry in The Real Deal.

Fifty-Eight Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

June 05, 2020

Super Lawyers has selected 58 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to the 2020 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Councilman: Resume land-use reviews – but just for Rikers

May 15, 2020

Ken Fisher discusses New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides’ request for the city to restart its land use review process for the Rikers Island Public Place Mapping amid the COVID-19 pandemic in The Real Deal.

Cozen O’Connor Recognized As a Best Law Firm in 24 Practice Areas Nationwide, 106 Practice Areas Regionally

November 05, 2019

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.

D.C. Council Approves Measure to Curb Wave of Development Appeals

October 09, 2019

Meridith Moldenhauer and Samantha Mazo comment on the D.C. Council’s vote to approve amendments to the Comprehensive Plan's Framework Element nearly two years after the Office of Planning introduced the proposed changes in an article in Bisnow.

17 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Recognized as New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

September 27, 2019

Super Lawyers has named 17 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2019 New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list.

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

"It gives me comfort": Real estate reacts to Katz's "miraculous" Queens DA Victory [The Real Deal]

August 07, 2019

Ken Fisher discusses Queens District Attorney Democratic candidate Melinda Katz's narrow victory over Tiffany Cabán in the primary that was announced only after a lengthy manual recount and threats of affidavit ballot challenges.

Courtyard Battle Heats Up at Apartment Complex in Brooklyn

July 27, 2019

Ken Fisher was featured on a WPIX 11 New York news segment discussing the plan to build a parking garage below the Riverside Apartment complex courtyard in Brooklyn.

What the Industry is Saying About the Federal Rent Law Challenge

July 17, 2019

Ken Fisher notes the makeup of the Supreme Court could impact New York's Rent Stabilization Association's and Community Housing Improvement Program's lawsuit, challenging the New York State rent stabilization law, in an article in The Real Deal.

What the Death of the Vacancy Bonus means for Landlords

June 17, 2019

Ken Fisher comments on the impact just-enacted changes to New York’s rent laws will have on New York City landlords, including a provision eliminating the ability to raise rents by 20% when a rent-regulated tenant moved out.

REBNY is donating more than ever. But so are its independent-minded constituents

June 05, 2019

Ken Fisher shares his thoughts on the increase in political contributions from landlords above what their trade association, the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), as the State Legislature prepares for its most significant overhaul in decades.

Affordable Housing Landlords Among City’s Most Active Evictors

May 22, 2019

Ken Fisher explains why the narrative of aggressive evictions in New York is unfair to landlords in a PincusCo article.

Inside the fight to revamp Right to Counsel

May 13, 2019

Ken Fisher discusses New York City's Right to Counsel law in The Real Deal. The article explains that New York passed the law in 2017, guaranteeing a lawyer to all low-income tenants facing eviction, and while it has received support from both tenants and landlords some issues still remain.

13 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Recognized as Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

April 25, 2019

The 2019 Washington, D.C, edition of Super Lawyers Magazine, published by Thomson Reuters, has named 13 Cozen O’Connor attorneys to its list of Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.

First Lutheran Church Reaches Settlement with City of Saint Paul in Religious Liberty Suit

February 06, 2019

In the settlement, the city acknowledged that RLUIPA is an important and central aspect of its land use decisions and is a primary consideration in processing and responding to land use applications made to the city.

Ken Fisher Elected to Board of Directors of Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

November 05, 2018

Kenneth Fisher, a member of the Business Law Department at Cozen O’Connor, has been elected to the board of directors of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. Fisher will serve a two-year term on the board, effective October 25, 2018.

18 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Named New York Metro Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

September 21, 2018

Super Lawyers has named 17 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2018 New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list. Twelve were recognized as Super Lawyers and five were named "Rising Stars."

Proposal Calls For 26-Unit Apartment Building To Replace Columbia Heights Rowhouses

August 21, 2018

Meridith Moldenhauer, a member of the firm’s Real Estate Practice discusses an apartment development project in the Colombia Heights area of Washington, D.C.

Can NYC increase local input without endangering real estate projects?

July 23, 2018

Ken Fisher, a member of Cozen O'Connor’s Business Law Department, discusses the review of the New York City charter by two commissions and the potential impact to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

Rent Guidelines Board leaves affordable-housing developers in a pinch

June 27, 2018

Ken Fisher, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Business Law Department, discusses the NYC Rent Guidelines Board’s vote to allow a 1.5 percent increase on one-year leases and a 2.5 percent increase on two-year leases to rent-regulated apartments in New York City.

Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers Recognizes 15 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys

May 15, 2018

Fourteen Cozen O’Connor attorneys have been named 2018 Super Lawyers or Rising Stars by Super Lawyers Magazine Washington, D.C. edition, published by Thomson Reuters.

Can Brooklyn MLS Keep it Going Alone?

February 01, 2018

Ken Fisher, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Business Law Department, discusses Brooklyn Multiple Listing Service’s (MLS) increase in memberships in the recent years despite losing the benefits from the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) membership in The Real Deal.

Contacts

Kenneth K. Fisher

Member

kfisher@cozen.com

(212) 883-4962

Vivien Krieger

Co-Chair, Zoning, Land Use & Development

vkrieger@cozen.com

(212) 883-2228

Meridith H. Moldenhauer

Co-Chair, Zoning, Land Use & Development

mmoldenhauer@cozen.com

(202) 747-0763

Thomas P. Witt

Of Counsel

twitt@cozen.com

(215) 665-5578

People

Awards

Chambers Ranks 86 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers, 22 Practice Areas in Chambers USA 2022 Guide

June 02, 2022

Chambers USA, the leading annual guide to the top lawyers and law firms in the United States, has ranked 86 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields in the guide’s 2022 edition.

Kenneth Fisher Named Among City & State New York’s Real Estate Power 100

February 14, 2022

New York, February 14, 2022 — Kenneth K. Fisher, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Business Law Department, was named to City & State New York’s 2022 Real Estate Power 100. The list recognizes New York City’s most influential real estate executives, public officials, lawmakers, labor leaders, activists, and advocates. Fisher was recognized for his “reputation as a respected authority working ‘at the intersection of law, politics, and community service.’”

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.

47 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

May 28, 2021

Super Lawyers has selected 47 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to the 2021 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Ken Fisher Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award by New York Law Journal

July 01, 2020

Ken Fisher, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Business Law Department, has been selected by the New York Law Journal to receive its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Fifty-Eight Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

June 05, 2020

Super Lawyers has selected 58 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to the 2020 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Cozen O’Connor Recognized As a Best Law Firm in 24 Practice Areas Nationwide, 106 Practice Areas Regionally

November 05, 2019

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.

17 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Recognized as New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

September 27, 2019

Super Lawyers has named 17 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2019 New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list.

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

13 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Recognized as Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

April 25, 2019

The 2019 Washington, D.C, edition of Super Lawyers Magazine, published by Thomson Reuters, has named 13 Cozen O’Connor attorneys to its list of Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.

Related Practice Areas

Keep up-to-date with the latest news from Cozen O'Connor

Enter your City or Zip.

Probably shouldn't change this:
Sign up to receive alerts, publications, and event / webinar invites.

By submitting your contact information, you are giving Cozen O'Connor consent to contact you via email.