Brown, Peter N.

Peter Brown concentrates his practice in the representation of clients before governmental agencies in land use and environmental entitlement matters. He has successfully represented applicants in a wide range of complex land use matters, including development of residential and industrial projects, shopping centers, and master plan permits for non-profit and educational and cultural organizations.

Peter has addressed a variety of land use and environmental regulation issues in his practice, both before administrative agencies and in the courts. Particular specialties include environmental regulation and permitting, development agreements, exactions and dedications, coastal permitting, growth management, and the law of inverse condemnation and takings. He is a regular speaker on land use law, climate change, environmental law, and public law issues, and has provided professional education on these topics to a range of groups and public agencies. 

Peter also has significant and broad experience in the public law field. He has served as city attorney for the City of Carpinteria, California since 1992 and as special counsel to a variety of public agencies. He has held several leading positions with the statewide League of California Cities, City Attorneys’ Department, serving three years as an Officer of the Department, including one year as President.

Before joining Brownstein, Peter served as Deputy District Attorney for the County of Santa Barbara and was a shareholder with the law firm of Hatch & Parent in Santa Barbara for twenty-four years.

Representative Matters
  • Provided land use and CEQA compliance advice and successfully concluded litigation regarding mixed-use project with 266 apartments and 88,000 square feet of neighborhood commercial development, the largest mixed-use project processed and approved by the City of Goleta, California.

  • Successfully represented applicant in development of 550,000 square foot shopping center project involving complex environmental issues, including location within the flight path of municipal airport.

  • Successfully represented interests of private property owners in Santa Barbara regarding proposal by an organization to paint blue waves across 68 city streets depicting a potential flood zone, which would have devalued hundreds of homes and businesses.

  • Ongoing provision of a wide range of services as City Attorney for city, including drafting ordinances, prosecuting and defending against litigation on a broad range of public agency matters, attending and representing public agency at City Commission and City Council meetings, and advising city regarding Open Meetings, Public Records Act, code enforcement, land use, CEQA, public contracting, property transaction, and related matters.

  • Represented applicant in a phased apartment project totaling over 650 units, resolving a variety of complex issues regarding environmental and permitting issues, negotiation of development agreement, and assistance with the negotiation of public financing.

  • Provided strategic planning and representation for the development of one million square foot research and development business park situated on 92 acres. Handled a wide range of entitlement issues, including negotiation of a development agreement and specific plan, negotiation of aviation easements with Municipal Airport, oversight of the project's environmental review and implementation of a complex set of project conditions of approval, and negotiation of project amendments.

  • Represented city to insure that environmental documents prepared by city appropriately evaluated the global warming impacts created by the projects in city planning documents.

  • Represented internationally renowned music conservatory in gaining comprehensive land use permits for its campus. Directed permit processing, oversaw environmental review compliance and public hearing presentations, and negotiated the settlement of threatened litigation by project opponents

  • Providing ongoing representation for a variety of residential, commercial, industrial, and non-profit applicants for development projects.

News & Events

Secretary of the Board, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation, 2016-present

Board Member, Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, 2011-2017, 2019

Board Member, Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, 2009-2016

Board Member, Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts, 2005-2011

Board Member, Music Academy of the West, 1985-2002

Publications & Presentations
  • J.D., 1975, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
  • B.A., 1968, cum laude, Amherst College
  • California, 1975
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Goleta Man of the Year Award, Goleta Chamber of Commerce, 2019

Who's Who in Business Leadership, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2016

Chairman Award for service, Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, 2016

Note and Article Editor, Southern California Law Review, University of Southern California Law School, 1975


President, League of California Cities, City Attorneys' Department, 2001-2002

Chair, Permit Streamlining Subcommittee of the Santa Barbara Economic Community Project, 1996-1997

Chair, Legal Advocacy Committee, League of California Cities, City Attorneys' Department, 1994-1995

Chair, Santa Barbara County Hazardous Waste Management Plan Advisory Committee, 1987-1989

Santa Barbara Environmental Quality Act Task Force, 1987