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Land Use Navigators is run and owned by Mike Durkee and Ryan Durkee as a free, online resource center for land use law information.

Michael Durkee owns and operates the Law Offices of Michael Patrick Durkee, where he practices land use, elections, and local government law in both administrative and judicial proceedings. Mike represents developers, builders, property owners, cities, counties, special districts, and interest groups in all aspects of California local government, elections, and land use entitlement, review, and approval processes. He has transactional and litigation expertise in the laws and processes regarding the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), local governance, general plans, specific plans, planning, zoning and development, vested rights (common law, development agreements, vesting maps), exactions (fees/dedications), the Subdivision Map Act, Williamson Act, and local elections (initiative, referendum, recall). Mike also serves as an expert on these topics in litigation.


Mike has been instrumental in the creation, coordination, and implementation of overall entitlement strategy (including defense tactics) for some of California’s most controversial development projects, including the San Jose Giants Ballpark Proposal, the Buck Center for Aging and Research, Black Point, Buck Mountain Ranch, and the North Livermore Initiative. He is widely recognized for his expertise in effective negotiation and resolution. Mike has extensive expertise regarding “value-enhancing” entitlements and is considered one of the state’s top creative land-use minds. He regularly handles the coordination with city/county staff regarding the planning of the project, the negotiation and drafting of all agency documents for legal compliance and tactical advantage, the coordination of all environmental, planning, and engineering consultants and their reports, and the transition into litigation when necessary.


Mike’s Land Use litigation practice includes representing landowners, developers, builders, landowners, businesses and governmental agencies in state and federal courts.


Mike is a frequent participant in land use seminars conducted for builders’ groups, cities and counties, the University of California Extension, and the State Bar of California. He is a co-author of Ballot Box Navigator(Solano Press 2003), and Land-Use Initiatives and Referenda in California (Solano Press 1990, 1991), and the principal author of Map Act Navigator (1999-2023). Mike wrote the “Ask the Map Act Expert” column for the trade journal California Surveyor. He is a former member of the Advisory Board of The California Land Use Law and Policy Reporter, and the State Assembly Local Government Committee’s “Subdivision Map Act Advisory Group.” He is consistently recognized as a Northern California “Super Lawyer” by the California Super Lawyers magazine,  a “Best Lawyers in America,” and is the recipient of the “Outstanding Instructor” award from the U.C. Davis Extension Land Use Program.

Ryan Michael Durkee is the creative force behind this website, increasing class attendance, and
bringing the information and classes taught onto both virtual and in-person platforms to better
suit the needs of users in the 21st century. Ryan created the look and feel of our website
(implemented by our webmaster “guru” Christy Porter) and regularly suggests changes to keep
the site fresh and inviting. Ryan regularly attends the classes and assesses class engagement
on different topics with an eye toward editing/revising the class materials and our overall
presentation approach. Ryan is the chief editor and “updater” of the Map Act Navigator book
and related class outline, adding new sections and discussions as the law evolves. Ryan is also
in charge of expanding the list of potential class attendees from the public sector (city, county,
other government agencies addressing planning, engineering, surveying, legal, etc.), the private
sector (planning, law, surveying firms, etc.), and individuals (property owners, interest groups,
etc.).  Ryan is busy expanding the scope of the classes to make the information provided more
accessible and useable (e.g., securing feedback from both new professionals and seasoned
practitioners), is working on revamping content to make it less “lawyerly” and more
accessible to new users, and is actively adding new classes to the list of classes offered (e.g.,
California Planning and Zoning, CEQA, etc.). Ryan is the creator of the “virtual classes” and
helped bring them to fruition during the pandemic.

Ryan is likewise an administrator and researcher in the Law Offices of Michael Patrick
Durkee, and plays a key role in editing transactional land use documents (letters, agreements,
initiatives, etc.) and putting together public presentations to Planning Commissions, City
Councils, and Boards of Supervisors. 

Ryan graduated from the University of Southern California (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)
and attended U.C. Davis Law School for a time before turning his attention to the “business”
side of law.

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