skip to content

Charity B. Schiller


3390 University Avenue
5th Floor
(951) 826-8223

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.

Site-Specific Entitlements

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.

Transportation/Linear Projects

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.


  • Pepperdine University, J.D., with honors
  • University of California, Riverside, M.S.
  • University of Oregon, B.S.

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California


  • Woman of Distinction Award for the 61st Assembly District (2015)
  • Super Lawyers “Southern California Rising Star,” Environmental (2013, 2014)


  • Leo A. Deegan Inn of Court, member
  • Riverside County Philharmonic, Board member
  • Riverside Downtown Partnership, Board member
  • Riverside Public Library Foundation, Board member
  • Leadership Riverside Program, Steering Committee Member
Charity B. Schiller

Representative projects include:

  • Perris Valley Line Project: This approximately $250 million Project is the first major extension of Metrolink service in southern California in the last decade. The Project extends Metrolink service from the City of Riverside to the City of Perris and includes rail track upgrades, safety features, and four new commuter stations. The Project required extensive CEQA and NEPA environmental review processes.
  • State Route-91 Corridor Improvement Project: The Project is a $1.3 billion investment that will widen and improve State Route 91 and Interstate 15. This Project underwent extensive environmental review under both NEPA and CEQA.
  • 500 MW Photovoltaic Solar Project: This Project is located on Bureau of Land Management and non-federal lands. The Project involved a joint NEPA/CEQA process, and participation in California’s AB 900 Leadership streamlining program. 
  • 550 MW Photovoltaic Solar Project: This Project is located on Bureau of Land Management and non-federal lands. The Project involved the use of a NEPA document to complete the CEQA process, and permitting through California Public Utilities Commission and the County of Riverside. 
  • 1,557-Acre Mixed-Use Specific Plan Project: The Project is located in San Bernardino County and includes approximately 3,114 residential units, 15 acres of commercial development, and approximately 336 acres of parks and open space. The Project is sustainably designed, supporting the use of solar energy, recycling, building energy efficiency standards, and water conservation. The Project includes extensive CEQA review, the approval of a Specific Plan, and land use approvals.
  • 88-Acre Distribution Warehouse Project: The Project involved an over 1.9 million square foot distribution warehouse for cold storage, dry goods, and manufacturing. The Project proceeded via a CEQA exemption, which was upheld as adequate by the appellate court. (Health First v. March Joint Powers Authority (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 1135.)
Charity B. Schiller
  • "California Supreme Court Makes Critical CEQA Ruling Regarding Categorical Exemptions," JD Supra, March 5, 2015
  • "California Department of Fish and Wildlife Increases CEQA Document Filing Fees," JD Supra, December 24, 2014
  • "Comments Sought on Draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan," JD Supra, December 10, 2014
  • "Decision: Voter-Sponsored Local Land Use Initiatives Not Subject to Environmental Review," JD Supra, August 12, 2014
  • "California Supreme Court Rules Local Governments Are Not Required to Comply with CEQA Before Adopting a Voter-Sponsored Initiative," JD Supra, August 11, 2014
  • "Office of Planning and Research Issues Draft Update to State CEQA Guidelines for Analyzing Traffic Impacts," JD Supra, August 8, 2014
  • "CEQA Exemptions Granted for Certain State Agency Actions by Gov. Brown Proclamation," JD Supra, May 2, 2014
  • "BBK’s Charity Schiller Discusses CEQA Baseline (Video)," JD Supra, January 23, 2014
  • "Resurrecting the Departed: Legal Implications of Reintroducing Revived Species," JD Supra, January 23, 2014
  • "Office of Planning and Research Seeks Input on Proposed Changes to State CEQA Guidelines," JD Supra, January 6, 2014
  • "California Department of Fish and Wildlife Increases CEQA Document Filing Fees," JD Supra, December 10, 2013
  • "Court of Appeal Rules on Lead Agencies’ Ability to Delegate CEQA Decision-Making Authority," JD Supra, November 5, 2013
  • Co-author, “Senate Bill 375: Implementing a Framework for Greenhouse Gas Reduction,” 16.2 A.B.A. Climate Change, Sustainable Development, & Ecosystems Committee Newsletter, October 2013
  • "Court of Appeal Addresses Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis Under CEQA," JD Supra, August 21, 2013
  • "State Supreme Court Makes Key CEQA Ruling Involving Baseling Analyses," JD Supra, August 5, 2013
  • "Court Finds Public Interest in Meeting Renewable Energy Goals in California Outweighs Efforts to Preserve Agricultural Lands," JD Supra, June 27, 2013
  • "Local Legislative Bodies Must Expressly Agendize CEQA Documents – County Planning Commission Failed to Include Project-Related…," JD Supra, June 5, 2013
Charity B. Schiller
  • “CEQA Compliance Timing: Judicial Treatment of Pre-Commitment Since Save Tara,” California State Bar Conference, Oct. 9, 2015
  • “Where’s the Line? Ethical Implications for Administrative Writ Actions,” California State Bar Webinar, May 19, 2015 and California State Bar Environmental Conference, Oct. 19, 2014
  • “CEQA 101,” University of California, Riverside Extension, April 10-11, 2015
  • “Governor’s Drought Proclamations, CEQA Exemptions and Drought Planning,” Association of Environmental Professionals Conference, March 21, 2015
  • “Life in the County: Not Letting Climate Change Rules Serve as a Barrier to Growth,” CLE Land Use Conference, March 9, 2015
  • “Ruby Ridge Ethical Considerations,” Riverside Inn of Court, Jan. 28, 2015
  • “Environmental Ethics,” CLE Water Conference, Nov. 3-4, 2014
  • “Urban Density, Transit, Water/Energy Conservation and Distributed Energy,” Greenhouse Gas Regulations Conference, Oct. 6-7, 2014
  • “California’s Drought: An Update on Current Water Supply Reliability Issues and their Legal Implications,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, June 19, 2014
  • “Ethical Considerations for Environmental Practitioners,” California Institute of Water Law, June 12, 2014
  • “Bay-Delta and Water Supply Issues: The Latest,” Association of Environmental Professionals Annual Conference, March 24, 2014
  • “Preparing CEQA Administrative Records; What to Keep and What to Throw Away,” Association of Environmental Professionals Annual Conference, March 24, 2014
  • “Recent Developments Affecting the California Environmental Quality Act,” International Right of Way Association, March 5, 2014

Send this page