Lona Laymon is a partner with the firm, experienced in the representation of cities, joint powers associations, redevelopment agencies and other public agencies. She previously served as Town Attorney for Yucca Valley and Assistant City Attorney for Banning. Her practice has emphasized land use, economic development, mining (SMARA), jurisdictional tax sharing agreements, solid waste agreements, affordable and market rate housing developments, and mixed-use and commercial projects. Her transactional experience includes assisting public agencies with general plans, zoning codes, public parks, subdivisions, telecommunications projects, and complex real property acquisitions and conveyances. She regularly assists her municipal clients with the Political Reform Act (conflicts of interest), Brown Act (public meeting laws), Public Records Act, elections laws, solid waste management, revenue measures and Proposition 218.
Lona has substantial litigation experience. Her litigation, administrative hearing and appellate practices span the areas of CEQA, eminent domain, land use, zoning law, First Amendment jurisprudence, elections laws, commercial development disputes, breach of contract, quiet title, and redevelopment dissolution issues.
Lona has assisted several local agencies with the complex issues and procedures surrounding the State’s dissolution of redevelopment agencies, including successful litigation against the State Department of Finance. Lona has specialized legal experience with solid waste negotiations and transactions on behalf of cities. She serves as the firm’s specialist for complex issues of local zoning and federal/state preemption in the context of wireless telecommunications facilities.
Lona’s experience spans years of both general and special counsel work for public entities across California including the cities of Irvine, Duarte, Arroyo Grande, Laguna Beach, Twentynine Palms, San Clemente, the Orange County Water District and the Coastal Animal Services Authority, amongst others.
Lona received her J.D. in 2001 from the University of Southern California School of Law. While in law school, she was on the Editorial Board of the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal and was a published author in that journal. She received a dual Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, summa cum laude, and English, magna cum laude, from the University of California Irvine in 1998. As an undergraduate, Lona was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.
Recent Representative Matters:
- Elections and Revenue Measures. Successfully drafted and navigated multiple special and general local revenue measures through the ballot process.
- Wireless Telecommunications Special Practice. Complex zoning matters relating to the specialty practice of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities, federal preemption and local zoning, including advising municipalities on many specific wireless applications, as well as ordinance drafting and general legislative guidance.
- Senior and Affordable Housing. City representation and negotiation of several affordable housing projects, including senior-restricted projects, tax credit financing, local grant funds, private lending and equity.
- Economic Development; Tax Sharing. Represented multiple public agencies in the negotiation and approval of multi-million dollar, long-term tax sharing arrangements, including agreements between different public jurisdictions and governmental arrangements with private corporations.
- Economic Development; Commercial Projects. Represented several cities in negotiation and approval of large commercial, retail and auto dealership projects.
- Solid Waste Special Practice. Represented several cities in solid waste matters, including negotiating and drafting contracts for waste hauling franchises, development and planning of solid waste facilities and guidance upon waste hauler bidding and RFP processes.
- Tax Credit Financing Developments. Represented a redevelopment agency in connection with the substantial rehabilitation of a large affordable rental housing project involving tax credit financing.
- Housing Rehabilitation. Represented a housing authority in connection with a senior citizen affordable apartment project that involved both unit rehabilitation and new construction.
- Development Litigation. Represented city and redevelopment agency in “disgruntled developer” litigation involving a breach of an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement.
- Title-Related Litigation. Successfully represented city in breach of contract litigation involving an attempted fraudulent conveyance of title to the city.
- Specialized Revenue Measures. Developed a local “mining tax” with the potential to generate upwards of $1 million per year for municipality. This included guiding the new tax through the election process and ultimately prevailing in multiple litigation challenges to the validity of the tax.
- RDA Dissolution Practice. Successfully represented city against the State Department of Finance in the course of redevelopment dissolution, resulting in the former redevelopment agency’s $29 million bond issuance being upheld as an “enforceable obligation.”