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As an advisor to cities, special districts and joint powers agencies across California, Alexandra M. Barnhill is familiar with a broad range of municipal, environmental, land use and public revenue matters.
Alexandra currently acts as General Counsel for the Livermore-Amador Valley Water Management Agency and the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District. She previously was designated as the Assistant City Attorney in Rohnert Park and Carpinteria. Alexandra also acts as Special Counsel for a number of municipalities.
Alexandra holds a Certificate of Specialization in Environmental Law and has built upon that foundation a detailed knowledge of land use, planning and environmental compliance (CEQA). Using this background, she guides her clients through the permitting and development entitlement process. She has extensive experience reviewing applications for discretionary land use permits and assisting her clients in making appropriate findings and complying with public hearing requirements. She routinely advises public agencies on the appropriate level of associated environmental documentation for these approvals. She has reviewed a broad array of environmental impact reports (EIRs), mitigated negative declarations (MNDs), negative declarations (NDs) and exemptions to ensure legal adequacy.
Local government clients regularly engage Alexandra to provide advice regarding the generation of municipal revenue in a manner that is consistent with applicable regulations including the Mitigation Fee Act and Propositions 13, 218, and 26. For example, she has assisted local agencies with the establishment and increase of rates for water, sewer and solid waste (trash) services and the negotiation of franchise fee agreements. She has also counseled clients about the process of imposing a general or special tax including the applicable restrictions on ballot measure advocacy.
Alexandra’s expertise also extends to more traditional public law issues, such as the Public Records Act and the Ralph M. Brown Act. She is considered an expert on conflicts of interest and related laws, such as the Political Reform Act. She regularly advises and lectures on achieving compliance with governmental ethics laws.
Alexandra is an active public speaker and writer.
- “Getting to Yes! Strategies to Protect or Generate Local Funding”
- “A.B. 1234 Ethics Training: Keeping your Hands Clean and Your Decisions Transparent”
- “Ethics Essentials for Public Agencies: AB 1234 Training”
- “Governance Foundations: The Building Blocks for Effective Board, Staff and Public Relations”
- “Everything You Wanted to Know about the Brown Act (But Were Afraid to Ask)”
- “The Brown Act: Are You Doing it Right?”
- “Advanced Training in the California Public Records Act”
- “Legal Limbo: When Initiatives and CEQA Collide”
- “Best Practices for Making Informed Land Use Decisions”
- “Special District Fees, Assessments and Taxes in a Prop. 218 World”
- “LAFCOs and Levies: What Staff Should Know about Props 218 and 26”
- “California Public Records Act Compliance Manual for Special Districts,” contributing author, California Special District Association (CSDA) 2015.
- “Ask the Expert Column,” CSDA Magazine, June 2013.
- “Legislative Year in Review for Land Use Planners,” The Northern News, 2012 and 2013.
- “When CEQA and Initiatives Collide, Planners Need to be Prepared,” NorCalAPA, June 2013.
- “The Legal Framework for Land Use Decisions,” NorCalAPA, April 2012.
- “R.I.P. RDAs,” The Northern News, March 2012.
- “The New Universe of Land Use Initiatives: Project Permitting through the Ballot Box,” League of California Cities, City Attorney’s Spring Conference, May 2011.
- “California’s Prop 26: Levies, Taxes and Fees, Oh My!” The Open Space, January 2011.
- “Entrenching the Status Quo: Ninth Circuit Interprets Preemption Doctrines to Allow Local Regulation of Environmental Problems If It Meets the Lowest Common Denominator,” 2004 Ecology L. Q., Vol 31, Issue 3
Alexandra received her law degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2005.