Richard S. Taylor

Richard S. Taylor, a partner, joined Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP in 1991 and serves as the firm’s Managing Partner. He is City Attorney to the City of Saratoga and General Counsel to the Alameda County Waste Management Authority. He also advises local governments and community groups on a wide range of issues, including complex planning and land use matters, CEQA compliance, growth management, open space preservation strategies, trails and recreation planning, election law, and other public agency law issues.

photo by Liza Heider

Mr. Taylor advises public agencies in preparation of complex planning and environmental review documents. Major projects include the Marin County and El Dorado County comprehensive General Plan updates, Napa County and Saratoga Housing Element updates, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s Coastal Protection Program and Service Plan for 140,000 acres of coastal San Mateo County, and the Santa Clara County Trails Master Plan. His work involves drafting policies and implementing ordinances and resolutions as well as providing advice concerning compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, Planning and Zoning Law, and other applicable laws.

In 2009 he was recognized as a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year for his work advising a coalition of conservation groups in negotiating an agreement for preservation of 240,000 acres of the 270,000 acre historic Tejon Ranch in Kern and Los Angeles Counties. He frequently assists organizations in understanding settlement objectives, identifying the needs and interests of other parties, and working with opposing counsel to develop agreements implementing settlement principles. His ongoing work with community groups in the Sierra has led to a series of settlement agreements with private developers to limit development on identified lands and secure a long term stream of funding for acquisition of open space in areas previously targeted for development.

As City Attorney for the City of Saratoga Mr. Taylor advises the City on the full range of issues arising in the course of City operations. These include advising the City Council at its meetings regarding open meeting laws and legal issues associated with the various matters before the Council, working with the City Manager and department heads to implement City policy in accord with various legal restrictions, assisting City staff with regard to code enforcement, and drafting ordinances, resolutions, contracts, permit conditions, easements, and other legal documents for the City. Mr. Taylor also serves as General Counsel to the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and as special counsel to public agencies for a range of specific projects including negotiation of development agreements, negotiating development agreements, and drafting ordinances and other legislation.

Mr. Taylor also works with local community groups and local governments to draft initiatives that address local land use concerns such as establishing urban growth boundaries, regulating vacation rentals, linking growth to the availability of water supply, protecting agricultural lands, and reaffirming existing General Plan policies protecting local neighborhoods.

Before joining the firm he practiced law in Washington D.C. and worked as a planner with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and Santa Barbara County. He served as Managing Editor of the Ecology Law Quarterly and received his J.D. and his M.B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. He received his B.S. in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning with Honors from the University of California at Davis in 1982.

Mr. Taylor is a member of the Bars of the State of California and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.