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About me

John McClendon’s practice focuses on the land use entitlement process with an emphasis on CEQA/NEPA and other environmental laws, the Coastal Act, Planning & Zoning Law, Subdivision Map Act, affordable housing and water law. An experienced litigator, he has brought and defended scores of environmental, land use, housing and water law actions, including many successes before California’s appellate courts.


On "offense," Mr. McClendon has represented numerous citizens groups in challenging controversial public and private development projects at the administrative stage before city and county decision-makers.  In representing these groups in subsequent court actions, he has achieved an impressive track record of success.


On "defense," he has assisted cities, redevelopment agencies, special districts and private developers in the preparation of legally defensible CEQA/NEPA/PZL/SMA documents and findings, advising them on effective pre-litigation strategies and defending them in court.  To date, all of the documents and findings he prepared for public agencies have survived judicial challenge.


On the private sector side, since 2000, Mr. McClendon has represented private clients in negotiating and structuring numerous disposition and development agreements and owner participation agreements between his clients and California cities and redevelopment agencies for development projects valued in excess of $300 Million.  He also represents private clients in court defending their projects from judicial challenge.


On the public side, he has been responsible for overseeing the successful approval of numerous redevelopment plan adoptions, plan amendments, and project area mergers, including a record seven in a single year.  Some of his more notable redevelopment projects include: Anaheim Plaza, Century 25 Theaters in Orange, Ontario Mills, the Ontario Auto Center and Ontario Convention Center, Jurupa Valley Spectrum, and the El Paseo Shopping Center in South Gate.


With the Legislature's recent abolishment of all California redevelopment agencies, he continues to serve as general counsel to six of California's seven Designated Local Authorities (i.e., these are successor redevelopment agencies that were abandoned by their cities).  His focus on public law has also led to him accept short-term and often high-profile assignments as either interim or special counsel to public agencies. Examples include:


  • Serving as special CEQA counsel to the City of Sierra Madre on the most controversial development project in that city’s history.

  •  Serving as special counsel to the City of Rolling Hills Estates on a federal law "RLUIPA" matter.

  •  Serving as Interim District Counsel of the Los Osos Community Services District following a 2005 voter recall of the majority of its board.

  •  Serving as special CEQA counsel to Eastern Municipal Water District in an action brought by the U.S.A. in federal court.

    In 2006, he agreed to serve as the U.S. Attorney’s expert witness on California redevelopment law in a criminal action involving political corruption in the City of South Gate.


    Practice areas


    1. State & Local Law: 25%
      27 years, 400 cases
    2. Appeals: 25%
      27 years, 45 cases
    3. Land Use & Zoning: 25%
      27 years, 100 cases
    4. Environmental: 25%
      27 years, 100 cases


    Payment types:

    Cash, Check

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    Contact info

    Leibold McClendon & Mann, P.C.

    23422 Mill Creek Drive
    Suite 105
    Laguna Hills, CA, 92653


    We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
    Avvo contributions
    Legal answers
    Work experience
    TitleCompany nameDuration
    General Counselthe Designated Local Authorities for the former Los Banos, Mendota, Merced, Pismo Beach, Riverbank, and Santa Paula Redevelopment Agencies2012 - Present
    General CounselBanning Heights Mutual Water Company1999 - Present
    Assistant City AttorneyCity of Lake Elsinore1997 - Present
    PrincipalLeibold McClendon & Mann, P.C.1994 - Present
    Interim District CounselLos Osos Community Services District2005 - 2006
    Special CEQA CounselCity of Sierra Madre2002 - 2003
    Special CEQA CounselEastern Municipal Water District2002 - 2011
    General CounselOntario Convention Center Corp.1998 - 1999
    Agency CounselOntario Redevelopment Agency1995 - 1999
    AssociateStradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth1990 - 1994
    Summer AssociateBest Best & Krieger1988 - 1988
    Association namePosition nameDuration
    State Bar of California, Environmental Law SectionN/A1990 - Present
    State Bar of California, Public Law SectionN/A1990 - Present
    Legal cases
    Case nameOutcome
    Coalition for a Sustainable Future in Yucaipa v. City of Yucaipa (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 939Reversed trial court's Judgment on appeal because moot
    United States of America, et al. v. Eastern Municipal Water District, et al.EMWD prevailed in district court, plaintiffs appealed and then dismissed action
    Pasadena Coalition for Responsible Development v. City of PasadenaAppellate court affirmed Judgment ordering City to set aside project approvals and California Supreme Court denied review
    See all legal cases 
    Publication nameTitleDate
    Western CityDon't Let Tigard Scare You! Cities Can Shoulder the Burden Placed Upon Them by This New U.S. Supreme Court Decision1994
    California Water Law and Policy ReporterStay Tuned for the Next Exciting Episode of “We ‘Gotch’-Ya” or, “Don't Make Us LAF(CO)”1994
    School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
    University of Southern California Law SchoolLawJD - Juris Doctor1989
    University of California - IrvineRussianBA - Bachelor of Arts1986
    Westmont CollegePhilosophyBA - Bachelor of Arts1976
    Fuller Theological SeminaryM.Div. programN/AN/A
    Speaking engagements
    Conference nameTitleDate
    CEQA and Land Use Boot CampIntroduction to CEQA and Land Use2015
    Government LawSuing & Defending under CEQA2014
    10th Annual Advanced Seminar on CEQARecent Non-CEQA Cases Every CEQA Attorney Needs to Know2014
    Monthly MCLE MeetingEthics and the Environment: The California Environmental Quality Act2005
    The California Redevelopment Association's Redevelopment InstituteThe Powers of Redevelopment2000
    Seminar for staff and officials of the City of Long BeachIntroduction to Redevelopment1998