San Francisco
50 California Street, Suite 3200 San Francisco, CA 94111
[email protected]

Scott B. Birkey


Scott is a land use and natural resources lawyer who handles entitlement, compliance, and litigation matters for residential and commercial developers, educational and health-care institutions, and public agencies throughout California.

Land Use Entitlements And Permits Experience

Scott has successfully represented developers in obtaining all forms of land use entitlements, including securing development agreements, vesting and tentative maps, general plan amendments, rezonings, site development permits, and other land use approvals. His clients include urban infill developers, master-planned community developers, affordable housing developers, renewable energy developers, and educational and health-care institutions, typically in connection with multiple and complex land use entitlements and, in many instances, involving local, state, and federal agencies. Scott has also assisted clients with land use due diligence in connection with purchases and sales of property.

Endangered Species And Wetlands Permitting Experience

Scott is a leading authority on obtaining permits and approvals under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Section 1603 of the California Fish and Game Code (streambed alteration agreements), and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act (water quality certifications and waste discharge requirements). Scott has extensive experience advising clients as to conservation easements and other similar approaches to mitigation to satisfy permit obligations, and has participated in the review and preparation of large-scale habitat conservation plans and natural community conservation plans on behalf of both private developers and public agencies. Scott regularly prepares and reviews environmental documents in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Scott is co-author of Natural Resource Regulation in California published by Solano Press, the leading treatise in California on permitting projects under the federal and state Endangered Species Act, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and other statutory regimes regulating the incidental take of special-status species and the fill of wetlands.

Land Use And Natural Resources Litigation Experience

Scott defends project approvals on behalf of residential and commercial developers and public agencies in both state and federal courts. His litigation matters involve challenges to project approvals brought under the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and a variety of California planning and zoning laws. Scott also represents clients in enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Bar and Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central, Northern, and Eastern Districts of California


  • J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 2000
  • M.S., University of Idaho, 1997
  • B.A., Texas State University, 1994
©2022 Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP
Los Angeles
2029 Century Park East
Suite 2100
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Orange County
3121 Michelson Drive
Suite 200
Irvine, CA 92612
San Francisco
50 California Street
Suite 3200
San Francisco, CA 94111