Rochelle BrowneShareholderLos Angeles







Rochelle Browne is a shareholder in the Public Law Department at Richards, Watson & Gershon. Since joining the Firm in 1977, Ms. Browne has specialized in litigation on behalf of public agencies and in advising public agencies in the areas of land use, the California Environmental Quality Act, changes in municipal and local district boundaries and rent control.

Ms. Browne has successfully defended cities and redevelopment agencies against challenges to their general plans, zoning ordinances, redevelopment plans, the granting and denial of land use permits and business licenses, environmental impact reports, compliance with CEQA, compliance with the Brown Act and the Public Records Act and annexation proceedings. Her practice includes trial and appellate work in both state and federal courts and frequently involves claims for violation of substantive and procedural due process, equal protection, the First Amendment and civil rights, as well as inverse condemnation and takings claims and claims for violation of the various state and federal statutes governing public agencies, such as The Federal Fair Housing Act.

A sampling of the reported cases in which Ms. Browne has successfully represented public agencies are: Carson Mobilehome Park Owners' Assn. v. City of Carson, 35 Cal.3d 184 (1983) [upholding the constitutionality of a mobilehome rent control ordinance]; Greenwood Addition Homeowners Assn. v. City of San Marino, 14 Cal.App.4th 1360 (1993) [upholding the decision not to adopt a joint tax transfer resolution and thereby preventing annexation]; Itzep v. City of Agoura Hills, 24 Cal.App.4th 621 (1994) [upholding an ordinance which prohibits soliciting business, sales, contributions or employment from person traveling in vehicles]; Carson Harbor Village v. City of Carson, 37 F.3d 468 (9th Cir., 1994) [holding that a plaintiff cannot state a taking claim against a public agency based on an ordinance that was in place when the plaintiff purchased the property claimed to have been taken by the ordinance]; Clark v. City of Hermosa Beach, 48 Cal.App.4th 1152 (1996) [rejecting claim that denial of a fair hearing on a permit application constituted a federal constitutional claim]; Roble Vista Associates v. John Bacon, 97 App.4th 335 (2002)[rejecting claim that a Palo Alto ordinance requiring tenants to offer leases of at least 12 months to tenants was preempted by state law]; City of Redlands and City of Rancho Cucamonga v. County of Riverside, 96 Cal.App.4th 398 (2002) [requiring County to prepare an EIR before changing land use policies affecting Rancho Cucamonga and Riverside].

Ms. Browne has drafted guidelines for implementation of CEQA for many of RW&G's public agency clients and has advised them concerning CEQA compliance for large and controversial projects. She has also served as special counsel concerning CEQA compliance for other cities and has drafted mobilehome rent control and mobilehome park conversion laws.

Ms. Browne served as Chair of the Land Use Subsection of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Real Property Section from 1987 to 1989 and on the Executive Committee of the Real Property Section from 1989 to 1991; she has made presentations to the League of California Cities (Drafting Agreements Bearing on the Police Power, Erosion of Residential Zoning Power and Defending Mobilehome Rent Control Ordinances, Environmental Justice), to the California Local Agency Formation Commission Conference (Local Government Financing) and to Public Counsel (Seminar on Child Care, Land Use and Zoning Issues); and has served on the League of California Cities Mobilehome Issues Committee. She currently serves on the Advisory Panel of the Community Land Use Project of the Institute of Local Self-Government, which educates public officials, planners, City Attorneys and the public concerning planning and zoning issues, including takings and inverse condemnation law.

B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, University of California, Los Angeles, 1960
J.D., Order of the Coif, University of California School of Law, Los Angeles, 1977
Practice Areas

Appellate Law
Climate Change
Land Use
Mobilehome Law
Public Agency and Municipal Law
Public Agency and Municipal Law Litigation
Rent Control