Stephanie Smith

Top rated Land Use & Zoning attorney in Del Mar, California

Grid Legal, LLP
Stephanie Smith
Grid Legal, LLP

Practice Areas: Land Use & Zoning, Environmental, Eminent Domain; view more

Licensed in California since: 2010

Education: Pepperdine University School of Law

Selected to Rising Stars: 2020 - 2021
Virtual Appointments

Grid Legal, LLP

1330 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014 Visit website


Stephanie Smith is a partner with Grid Legal, LLP in Del Mar, California. A top-ranked lawyer and emerging leader in her field, Ms. Smith provides unmatched counsel and support to a diverse range of clients throughout San Diego County and across the state to developers, businesses, and homeowners on the following:

·       Land use, environmental review, and government relations

·       Boundary disputes, easements, and title claims

·       Real estate and business transactions

As an attorney, Ms. Smith regularly advises her clients on real property issues, including sales and leases, developments, land use and zoning, and land use opinion letters. She has extensive experience handling complex boundary disputes and easement issues, and she has gained a reputation for her in-depth legal knowledge as well as her unwavering commitment to helping her clients achieve their goals and the favorable outcomes they seek as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

Her client base has ranged from private homeowners to developers and real estate investors to business and commercial clients, and she has received numerous testimonials and referrals from those she has served. She has also received designation as being among the top 2.5% of lawyers in her region, and she has gained invaluable experience with how local governments and municipalities handle complex land use projects.

A 2005 graduate of the University of Washington, where she was a dean's scholar, Ms. Smith attended Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctor, cum laude in 2010. While there, she served as editor for the Pepperdine Law Review as well as a faculty research assistant. 

She is an active member Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and serves as a mayoral appointment on the Mission Bay Park Committee. She also holds her license as a real estate broker in California.

Practice areas

Land Use/Zoning, Environmental, Eminent Domain, Government Contracts, Real Estate: Business, Real Estate: Consumer

Focus areas

Condominiums & Cooperatives, Environmental Law, Short Sale

  • 40% Land Use/Zoning
  • 20% Environmental
  • 10% Eminent Domain
  • 10% Government Contracts
  • 10% Real Estate: Business
  • 10% Real Estate: Consumer

First Admitted: 2010, California

Professional Webpage:

Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • Selected by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to represent SANDAG in environmental matters for a five year term. 
  • Appointed to the Mission Bay Park Committee by the Mayor of San Diego, 2019
Educational Background:
  • Pepperdine School of Law, Editor Pepperdine Law Review, cum laude, 2010
  • Bachelor's Degree in International Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle as a Dean's Scholar, 2005
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Serve on the Mission Bay Park Committee as a representative member at large, 2020
  • Obtained Special Immigration Juvenile Status for a girl in Santa Maria, CA.
  • Volunteer at Francis Parker, 2020
  • Obtained 501(c)3 status for Abina which is a non-profit doing work in Costa Rica
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Panelist at the County Counsel Association Fall Conference on October 20, 2021., Co-Panelist, CEQA and Real Estate Transactions, Best Practices and Lessons Learned, California County Counsel Association Fall Conference, Public Agencies; Real Estate; General Services, 2021
  • Author, “A Tree Falls in a Park. Does it Make a Sound? The Adjacent Property Owner Probably Does.” October 20, 2017, Client Alert.
  • Author, “Calif. Real Property Transactions May Need CEQA Review.” Law360, October 6, 2017.
  • Private parties who plan to jump into a real property transaction with a public agency should be aware that their deal could be impacted or held up by the California Environmental Quality Act.If not fully informed of the recent legal developments pertaining to CEQA compliance and real property, parties may find themselves unable to close the deal on time or caught up in lengthy and costly litigation., Author, Calif. Real Property Transactions May Need CEQA Review, Law 360, Real Estate, 2017
  • Speaker, CEQA and Land Use Panel, San Diego County Bar Association, June 27, 2018
  • Author, “Considerations When Using CEQA To Fight Land Use Projects.” Law360, April 11, 2019.
  • Visiting Adjunct Professor, USD School of Law, Land Use Regulation, Sept. 12, 2019
  • Speaker, CREW San Diego, San Diego Development and Planning Update, Oct 29, 2019.
  • As everyone is adjusting to comply with California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent order to stay in place, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions on how the coronavirus and the resulting slowdown of the world as we know it will affect real estate transactions, development projects and standard operating procedure for ongoing businesses., Co-Author, What COVID-19 Means For Calif. Real Estate And Use Permits, Law 360, Land Use, Developers, Landlords, Infill Developers, 2020
  • Panel discussing CEQA requirements related to cannabis development, Panelist, Don’t Let Regulations Cannibalize Your Cannabis Client, San Diego County Bar Association, Real Estate, Developers, Brokers, Realtors, Public Agencies, Attorneys, 2018
  • Article discussing the use of CEQA to fight land use projects, Author, Considerations When Using CEQA to Fight Land Use Projects, Law 360, Real Estate, Developers, Public Agencies, 2019
  • Guest lecturer to law students regarding general plan compliance, Guest lecturer at USD Law School Land Use class on General Plan compliance, Lecturer, Law Students, 2019
  • Discussion on land use development regulations, housing updates, and the Californian Environmental Quality Act impacting development in the San Diego Region, Panelist, San Diego Planning and Development Updates, California Real Estate Women (CREW), Banking, Real Estate, Developers, Public Agencies, 2019
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • California Broker's License from the Bureau of Real Estate. , 2021
  • Represent Seller in the sale of vacant property to a local developer., 2021
  • Represent lessee in a commercial lease in San Diego for first aid training. , 2021
  • Represent Buyer in the purchase of a large Church and subsequent NNN lease. , 2021
  • Represent seller in a 11.5M transaction, 2020
  • Represent seller in the sale of several residential properties., 2020
Representative Clients:
  • Representation of Life Time Fitness ( in entitlement of new fitness facility in Poway. , 2023
  • Represented Ground Floor Club ( in various lease negotiations through California. , 2023
  • Represent the San Diego Unified Port in matters pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) including the Seaport Redevelopment Project. , 2023
  • Representing plaintiff in an inverse condemnation case against SDG&E. , 2021
  • Represented lender in providing land use counsel on an proximately $96 Million dollar mixed use development downtown San Diego., 2021
  • Represented SANDAG in the negotiation of the potential transfer and long term conservation of a large open-space property known on Rancho Lilac for conservation and trail use., 2020
  • Represented developer to provide a Land Use opinion for a commercial project in Barrio Logan. , 2021
  • Selected by SANDAG for on-call, environmental legal services for a five year term, 2020
  • Represent residential homeowner in matter dealing with drainage and possible inverse condemnation claims, 2020
  • Represented developer proposing a subdivision in San Diego County including issues dealing with road access agreements, the endangered species act, and the California Environmental Quality Act, 2019
  • Represented clients doing a subdivision in Tustin, including issues related to hazardous materials under the property as well as proposed clean up by the federal government, 2020
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Selected as a Full Member in CREW San Diego (Commercial Real Estate Women) where I serve on the Sponsorship Committee. , 2023
  • Urban Land Institute, Member of the San Diego Small Scale Infill Development Committee (SSID), 2021
  • San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Transportation & Land Development Committee, 2021
  • Mission Bay Park Committee, Appointed by San Diego Mayor, 2021
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Member of the Environmental Law, Land Use Law, and Real Property Law Sections, 2020
Industry Groups:
  • Businesses
  • Commercial And Residential Developers
  • Corporations
  • Homeowners
  • Homeowners
  • Individuals.
  • Infill Developers
  • Public Agencies
  • Renewable Energy

Office location for Stephanie Smith

1330 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014

Phone: 619-363-1471


2 Years Rising Stars
  • Rising Stars: 2020 - 2021

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