Donna D. Jones

Donna D. Jones is a CEQA and land use partner in the San Diego office's Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group.

Practice Areas

Donna Jones has specialized in CEQA (entitlements and litigation) as well as all aspects of land use and real estate permitting for more than 20 years. From the land use aspects of due diligence through processing permits, analyzing the adequacy of the CEQA review, lobbying and advocating for the project with the decision-makers and, finally, litigating project challenges under CEQA, Donna has experience in the full breadth and depth of the land use practice.

She has obtained approvals for construction or expansions of everything from commercial buildings to resort hotels to shopping centers to landfills and, of course, residential – including master planned smart growth communities such as Del Sur.

Donna regularly appears before governmental agencies and commissions, including the City and the County of San Diego, the Port of San Diego, the Airport Authority, and California Coastal Commission.

Donna works closely with consultants, clients and lead agencies to ensure the adequacy of their EIRs, negative declarations, addendums, exemptions, and more, as well as defending the resulting CEQA document against challenge by project opponents.

Land Use Entitlements

Obtaining entitlements for land owners and developers has become increasing complex over the years, and requires relationships with decision-makers and staff as well as in-depth knowledge of federal, state and local laws and the ability to work cooperatively with a wide range of interests to ultimately lead to a successful development. Ms. Jones has permitted commercial buildings, residential units, hotels, shopping centers, and infrastructure projects in the City as well as the County of San Diego among other jurisdictions.

Environmental Compliance

Ms. Jones has successfully represented clients in obtaining federal and state permits from, among other agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the California Department of Fish & Game (CDFG), the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) and the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). She also works closely with consultants, clients and lead agencies to ensure adequacy of the project EIRs, negative declarations, addendums, exemptions, and more, and defends the resulting CEQA document against challenge by project opponents.

Professional Qualifications and Activities

Ms. Jones is immediate past Chair of Civic San Diego (formerly CCDC). She has served for two years as Chair of Public Policy for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and serves on the Chamber’s Management Council and Board of Directors. She previously chaired the Downtown San Diego Partnership (DSDP) and continues to serve on the DSDP’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors.

Ms. Jones recently was honored by the San Diego Business Journal as one of 2013's "Women Who Mean Business," and has also been named one of the Best Lawyers in America (2011-2013) and San Diego Super Lawyer (2011-2013). Donna was a member of the Mayor's Civic Leadership Team, and served on the Downtown Implementing Committee established to monitor implementation of the Downtown Community Plan. She chaired the Financial Reform Subcommittee of the Mayor's Charter Review Commission, helping to develop the financial and other charter reforms that were ultimately approved by the voters of San Diego in June 2008. Ms. Jones also has served on the City of San Diego's Historic Resources Board and its Wetland Advisory Board, and co-chaired the San Diego County Bar Association's Land Use and Environmental Law section.

Ms. Jones is a registered lobbyist with the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, and the San Diego Regional Airport Authority.

Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Real Estate, 2) Land Use, 3) and Environmental, 4) Environmental, 5) Real Estate Development and 6) Tribal and Indian Law
Law School University of Texas School of Law (J.D., 1990)
Education Texas A&M University (B.A., 1981)
Most recent firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
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