Heather B. Lee

Of Counsel

Tel: (925) 977-3320

Location(s)

At a Glance

Heather advises cities and other public agencies on all aspects of land use and municipal law.

Heather previously worked in the Oakland City Attorney's office, where she headed the City's Land Use, Development and Building Services Unit.

Heather has served as lead counsel on numerous complex and controversial development projects.

Heather Lee has more than 26 years of experience in land use, environmental, municipal law and other public agency matters. She has a deep passion for her practice, and her career has covered the full gamut of issues touching upon land use and development in California. She has particular experience in planning and zoning, environmental review (including the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act), subdivisions, wetlands and endangered species, water supply and general municipal law.
 
Prior to joining Best Best & Krieger LLP as of counsel in the firm’s Walnut Creek office, she was supervising deputy city attorney of the City of Oakland's Land Use, Development and Building Services Department. There, Heather handled all aspects of land use advice, permitting and environmental review. She served as lead counsel for the Planning Commission and Planning and Building Services Department on all aspects of municipal and public agency law.
 
Heather advised Oakland on numerous high-profile, public-private partnerships, including:

  • The 918-residential unit Oak Knoll Naval Hospital redevelopment project,
  • The Brooklyn Basin redevelopment project involving 3,100 residential units, 200,000 square feet of commercial space and 32 acres of parkland, 
  • The 500-residential unit Leona Quarry mine reclamation project,
  • Numerous transit-oriented developments, including projects adjacent to the MacArthur, Coliseum and Fruitvale BART stations,
  • Numerous development efforts involving the Port of Oakland, including the Oakland Army Base and Jack London Square


Heather also advised the City on preparation of critical specific plans to provide for streamlined environmental review and permitting in West Oakland, the Oakland Coliseum area (including planning efforts for Oakland’s professional sports teams), Central City East and Downtown Oakland. She was also the lead attorney for development of new transportation, air quality and other CEQA thresholds and standards to address California climate change legislation. Heather also advised on preparation and adoption of the City’s first Citywide Transportation and Infrastructure Impact Fee program. She also advised on a citywide zoning update, which superseded regulations in place for more than 50 years. 
 
Heather also has extensive experience negotiating and drafting complex, multi-party development agreements, facilities agreements and litigation settlement agreements.

Heather was previously a partner at Downey Brand in Sacramento, where she handled CEQA review and permitting for a wide range of water, wastewater and development projects. She negotiated and drafted agreements to successfully complete a cutting-edge water transfer to support development of the 10,000-residential unit Dougherty Valley project in Contra Costa County.
 
Heather is a devoted animal lover. She has volunteered for numerous animal welfare groups and is past-president of Fix Our Ferals, a local nonprofit that provides very low-cost spay and neuter for community cats and dogs.
 
Heather is licensed to practice law in the State of California.
 
Education

  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D.
  • Albion College, B.A.
  • California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association