Former Newhall Land Executive Vice President Steven D. Zimmer has joined the real estate and business law firm of Gilchrist & Rutter PC.
Prior to his retirement in June, Zimmer led the team developing the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan, beginning in late May 1999.
During Zimmer’s 11-year tenure, he managed all aspects of the environmental, legal, and financial hurdles of the Newhall Ranch master planned community, including entitlement, project planning, project approvals, and local, state and federal project approvals. He also oversaw all CEQA documents and all litigation of land use matters, as well as the critical water supply strategy.
According to Newhall Land Vice President Marlee Lauffer, Zimmer remains a consultant on the project.
In August 2011, the last major obstacle was removed in the realization of Newhall Ranch, one of the largest developments ever contemplated in California. Running 12,000-acres along the Santa Clara River in northwest Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County, Newhall Ranch will create a city of 60,000 people.
“Few developers — and even fewer attorneys – have the range of experience and success that Steve has had throughout his career,” said Managing Partner Jonathan Gross. “Gilchrist & Rutter clients will have access to one of the true leaders in real estate development today.”
“We’ve worked closely with Steve for many years and know that he understands the development business inside-and-out,” says Robert McMurry, head of Gilchrist & Rutter’s Land Use practice. “In today’s world, navigating the approval process is always a challenge. Steve has hands-on experience in successfully attaining and defending approvals among federal, state, county, and city municipalities. He’s a terrific addition to the Gilchrist & Rutter Land Use Group.”
“Bob McMurry’s invitation to join Gilchrist & Rutter came out of the blue,” says Zimmer. “But the chance to work with Bob and his team at Gilchrist & Rutter on some of the most significant and interesting development projects in California today was a challenge I could not resist.”
A real estate developer who is also an attorney is rare. Even rarer is a real estate developer who is an attorney and who has extensive experience in municipal law.
Prior to Newhall, Zimmer was a partner in a law firm that provided contract municipal attorney services to the cities of Oxnard, Solvang, and Grover Beach, as well as to the Oxnard Redevelopment Agency and the Oxnard Housing Authority, where he served as General Counsel. He understands the needs and challenges of governments in real estate development and in all aspects of the land use process.
As executive vice president of the Baldwin Company, Zimmer obtained approval of a 4,300-home master planned community. He managed all aspects of development and home building for communities in San Diego and in Oxnard.
Earlier in his career, Zimmer served as city attorney for El Centro, Calif., and as chief assistant county counsel to Imperial County.
Zimmer earned his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. He became a member of the State Bar of California in 1973.
Zimmer is a board member of the California Building Industry Association and chairman of the association’s Government Affairs Committee. He serves on the board of directors of the Building Industry Association of Southern California, as well as on the board of directors of the Valencia Water Co.
An active member of the community, Zimmer is the past chairperson of the College of the Canyons Foundation Board of Directors and was involved in the Ventura County Homeless and Housing Coalition.