Charity Schiller helps public and private clients negotiate the maze of laws that apply to infrastructure and private development projects, so that those projects can be entitled and built. Specifically, Charity assists clients with all aspects of the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and related environmental laws. She has extensive experience with the preparation and adoption of environmental impact reports, environmental impact statements, negative declarations, addenda, exemptions and other environmental documents. Charity is also an experienced litigator, successfully defending her clients before administrative boards and trial and appellate courts throughout California.
Charity represents a wide array of private developer clients and has assisted with the successful entitlement of many dozens of projects across California. She has helped developers obtain approvals of numerous specific plans, securing development rights to thousands of acres of land. She has assisted with acquiring land use approvals and entitlements for dozens of residential, commercial, mixed-use and warehouse projects across the State. She also assists several renewable energy developers with solar, wind, biogas and geothermal project siting and CEQA review. Charity has successfully defended many of these projects from CEQA and land use litigation in both the trial and appellate courts, including negotiating complex multi-party settlements that result in the immediate dismissal of litigation while sparing her clients from litigation costs, time delays and business uncertainties.
Charity assists clients with the successful entitlement and construction of billions of dollars of transportation infrastructure, including commuter rail, freeway widening, car-pool lane additions and new highway projects. In that role, she regularly helps her clients work with federal and state transportation agencies to prepare joint CEQA/NEPA documents, secure funding for transportation projects and defend project approvals from litigation. Charity also has assisted several federally designated metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and regional transportation agencies with countywide and regional transportation plans and the adoption of Sustainable Communities Strategies under SB 375. Similarly, Charity has extensive experience with the unique permitting and CEQA issues posed by linear projects that span multiple jurisdictions. Charity has used those skills to secure – and defend – approvals for transmission lines, pipelines, water transfer projects and other infrastructure projects.
Land Use Plans/Climate Action Plans
Charity assists the firm’s many municipal clients with the CEQA review and adoption of their general plans, several of which have received awards for sustainability and innovation excellence. Similarly, Charity has assisted several jurisdictions with the CEQA review and adoption of climate action plans designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a jurisdiction-wide level.
Beyond her work for clients, Charity regularly teaches courses in environmental law at the University of California, Riverside and guest lectures at several other Southern California universities. She also frequently authors articles on environmental law and speaks on CEQA and related issues.
She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in biochemistry and earned a graduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of California, Riverside. She received her law degree, with honors, from the Pepperdine University School of Law, where she served as lead articles editor for the Pepperdine Law Review and was awarded for writing excellence.
Representative projects include: