Harriet A. Steiner

Partner

harriet.steiner@bbklaw.com

Tel: (916) 551-2821

Location(s)

At a Glance

Harriet represents cities, special districts and joint powers agencies as city attorney, general counsel and special counsel.
 
She has appeared on The Best Lawyers in America® list for Municipal Law & Municipal Litigation every year since 2009.
 
Harriet advises on all aspects of land use approvals, CEQA compliance, public financing and Proposition 218.

Harriet Steiner’s practice focuses on public law, representing cities, special districts and joint powers agencies as city attorney, general counsel and special counsel. A partner in Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Municipal Law practice group, her background includes:

  • Land use
  • Environmental law
  • Telecommunications law and cable television franchising
  • Wastewater and municipal water
  • Public financing 


Land Use and Environmental Utility Rate Setting 
Harriet advises public agencies on land use approvals, including negotiation of development agreements, compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, public financing and Proposition 218 compliance. She represented public agencies in CEQA and land use litigation, election challenges, public financing and development impact fee challenges, and Proposition 218 litigation.
 
Harriet represented the City of Davis in the restructuring of its water fees to facilitate a new surface water project; challenges to the fees included initiative measures, election issues and a Proposition 218 challenge in which the City prevailed in the trial court and then successfully settled the case, allowing the project and amended water fees to move forward.

Litigation matters she has handled include:

  • Knox v. Orland, 4 Cal.4th 132, upholding Landscaping and Lighting District, 1992
  • Friends of Davis v. City of Davis, 83 Cal.App.4th 1004 CEQA; design review approval challenge 2000
  • Oates v. City of Lincoln, 93 Cal.App.4th 25, defense of refinancing of Marks Roos bonds, 2001
  • LandValue 77, LLC v. Board of Trustees Kashian, Fifth District Court, 193 Cal.App.4th 673 Government Code section 1090, CEQA Challenge; Attorneys’ fees, 2011
  • City of Hayward v. CSU, First District Court, 242 Cal.App.4th 833, 2015 Cal. Lexis 1371, petition for review denied - returned to trial court - CEQA challenge, 2015
  • Yolo Ratepayers for Affordable Public Utility Services v. City of Davis, Yolo County Superior Court, Case No. CV 13-187, settled after mediation and dismissed, 2015
  • Supporters of Responsible Planning in Davis v. City of Davis, Yolo County Superior Court, Case No. PT15-1442, pending trial court CEQA challenge, 2015


City Attorney
As city attorney for the City of Davis from 1986 until 2019, Harriet assisted the City on, among other matters, the development and implementation of its agricultural mitigation ordinance for farmland and habitat preservation; its Affordable Housing Ordinance; the creation of a joint powers agency with the County for Community Choice Electricity; and creation and implementation of water and sewer rates, associated with new water and sewer projects, including litigation challenging these rates under Proposition 218.

Telecommunications
Harriet serves as general counsel to the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Television Commission, which holds the cable television franchise for the county and the cities within the county and now implements the DIVCA franchises in the County. She assisted the Commission in the development of a robust fiber institutional network for the schools in Sacramento known as BestNet. She also represents the cities of Davis, Piedmont, Oakland, Paso Robles, and others in telecommunications matters. She has drafted telecommunications ordinances, negotiated cable franchises and franchises with cable over-builders, negotiated and drafted fiber network agreements, cellular tower and DAS lease agreements, and represented local entities on telecommunications siting applications and permitting, in cable and wireless cellular tower litigation.

Prior to joining BB&K, she was a shareholder with McDonough Holland & Allen in Sacramento. She is admitted to practice in all federal courts located in California and the California Supreme Court and is licensed to practice law in the State of California.

Education

  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D.
  • State University of New York, M.A.
  • State University of New York, Harpur College, B.A.


Memberships

  • Attorney Development and Succession for the City Attorneys’ Department of the League of California Cities, 2019-2020
  • League of California Cities’ Committee on Revenue & Taxation, liaison
  • Southern California and Nevada chapters of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors
  • Sacramento County Bar Association Public Law Section, past president
  • League of California Cities
New Year, New Laws Impacting Public Agencies in California – Part I
Legal Alerts Jan 09, 2019

New Year, New Laws Impacting Public Agencies in California – Part I

2019 Brings Changes to Election, Revenue, Conflict of Interest, Property and Public Safety Laws… and More

California Supreme Court Holds Groundwater Pumping Charges Are Not Property-Related Charges Subject to Proposition 218
Legal Alerts Dec 04, 2017

California Supreme Court Holds Groundwater Pumping Charges Are Not Property-Related Charges Subject to Proposition 218

Case May Impact Groundwater Pumping Charges Authorized Under SGMA

Non-Property Owners in Cities and Counties May Now Sue for Wasteful Government Spending
Legal Alerts Jun 16, 2017

Non-Property Owners in Cities and Counties May Now Sue for Wasteful Government Spending

California Supreme Court Decision Widens Potential Claimant Pool

PEG Fees Set by Ordinance Under California Video Franchise Law Are Not Taxes Subject to Prop. 26
Legal Alerts Jan 22, 2016

PEG Fees Set by Ordinance Under California Video Franchise Law Are Not Taxes Subject to Prop. 26

State AG Opinion Could Positively Impact Many Local Governments

Absent Timely Local Processing, New California Law Automatically Approves Applications for New Cell Sites and Large Colocations
Legal Alerts Oct 13, 2015

Absent Timely Local Processing, New California Law Automatically Approves Applications for New Cell Sites and Large Colocations

Municipalities Should Ensure They Will Be in Compliance

Uncertainty of Legislative Earmarks Not Enough to Deem Mitigation Infeasible
Legal Alerts Aug 07, 2015

Uncertainty of Legislative Earmarks Not Enough to Deem Mitigation Infeasible

California Supreme Court Takes on CEQA Issue in State College Expansion Project

California Supreme Court Grants Review in San Buenaventura Groundwater Pumping Fees Case
Legal Alerts Jun 25, 2015

California Supreme Court Grants Review in San Buenaventura Groundwater Pumping Fees Case

Appellate Court Decision Held that the Pumping Fee is Subject to Prop. 26 and is not a Property-Related Fee Subject to Prop. 218

City’s Revenue Transfer From its Wastewater Utility to its General Fund Is Justified
Legal Alerts Jun 04, 2015

City’s Revenue Transfer From its Wastewater Utility to its General Fund Is Justified

California Appellate Court Holds that Transfer Did Not Violate Proposition 218

CPUC Adopts Rules for Renewal of State Video Franchises
Legal Alerts Sep 04, 2014

CPUC Adopts Rules for Renewal of State Video Franchises

Commission Decides Streamlined Process Required by DIVCA

Wireless Antenna Issues Paper Published at League of California Cities City Attorneys' Conference
Authored Articles & Publications Jun 01, 2012

Wireless Antenna Issues Paper Published at League of California Cities City Attorneys' Conference

By Gail Karish, Harriett Steiner, Joe Van Eaton

Exactions and Impact Fees in California Published by Solano Press Books
Authored Articles & Publications May 01, 2012

Exactions and Impact Fees in California Published by Solano Press Books

By Harriet Steiner and Seth Merewitz

  • “Many California Cities May Not be Receiving Full Cable Franchise Fee,” BBKnowledge, Aug. 16, 2017
  •  “Ruling Leaves Local Public Agencies Open to Legal Actions Asserting Wasteful Government Spending by Non Property Owners,” BBKnowledge, July 20, 2017

Contact Harriet A. Steiner