Sarah E. Owsowitz’s practice focuses on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) advice and litigation, with a particular concentration on large-scale development, renewable energy and water projects, as well as those with significant cultural resource issues. She is of counsel in Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Environmental Law & Natural Resources practice group.
Sarah represents both public and private clients in administrative proceedings and litigation involving CEQA, as well as state and local planning and zoning laws. In particular, she has substantial experience in obtaining entitlements and preparing and defending environmental impact reports for large-scale retail and logistics projects, hospital retrofits and renewable energy projects.
Of note, Sarah successfully defended against challenges to the adequacy of environmental impact reports and site plans for large-scale grocery stores in Venturans for Responsible Growth v. City of Ventura (2013) [unpublished decision]; Erickson et al. v. City of Clovis (2012) [unpublished decision]; Citizens for Responsible Growth v. City of Bakersfield (2010) [unpublished decision]; and Tracy First v. City of Tracy (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 912. She also successfully defended against an attempt to file a challenge to a water supply assessment in California Water Impact Network v. Newhall County Water District et al. (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 1464.
She is the author of multiple CEQA and land use-related articles and lectures regularly on topics such as current trends in CEQA case law, the use of the joint defense privilege by public agencies, and the preparation and defense of water supply analyses in CEQA documents.
Sarah serves on the Association of Environmental Professionals Statewide Legislative Committee advising on CEQA legislation, and the California Special District Association’s Legal Advisory Working Group. In 2017, the Daily Journal recognized her with the prestigious California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award for Environmental Law. She was included in Super Lawyers Business Edition for her work in environmental law in 2015. Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine selected her as a “Northern California Super Lawyer” for Land Use Law in 2013-2016, as a “Northern California Rising Star” for Land Use Law from 2009 to 2012, and placed her on the “Top Women Attorneys in Northern California” list in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Prior to joining BB&K, Sarah was with Cox Castle & Nicholson and Morrison & Foerster. Before that, for nearly seven years, she served as deputy city attorney for the City and County of San Francisco. She is admitted to practice law in the State of California.
University of Minnesota Law School, J.D.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, M.P.
University of Chicago, B.A.