- University of Kansas School of Law, J.D.
- University of Kansas, Master Urban Planning
- University of Kansas, B.S. Business Administration
Melissa focuses her practice on land use, entitlements and zoning for clients including individuals, businesses, renewable energy developers and political subdivisions. She counsels clients on a wide variety of planning, zoning and regulatory issues including entitlements, economic incentives, permitting, real estate development, environmental issues, administrative hearings and regulatory compliance. Melissa has broad experience in state and local renewable energy permitting and regulation and permitting of controversial uses.
Melissa draws on a decade of business experience and a Master of Urban Planning degree to help clients navigate government channels to reach resolution of the issues they face. Prior to joining the firm in 2017, she practiced land use, real estate and environmental law in the highly regulated San Francisco Bay Area for over five years counseling individuals, businesses and political subdivisions on the area’s complex land use and environmental regulations.
Areas of Practice
- Real Estate
- Zoning, Land Use and Incentives
- Environmental & Natural Resources
- Energy Law
Activities and Membership
- Johnson County Housing for All Task Force, Member, 2021
- City of Overland Park, Environmental Advisory Council, 2019-present
- Leawood Economic Development Council, Executive Committee Member, 2018-present
- Harvester’s Food From the Bar, Steering Committee Member, 2018-present
- Leadership Overland Park, Class of 2018
- City of Overland Park Sign Committee, Member, 2018-2020
- Housing Action Coalition, Regulatory Committee Member, 2013-2017
- Selected for Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2019, 2020
- Copy Editor, Kansas Law Review
- Honors Society of Phi Kappa Phi
- CALI Award Winner (top grade); Lawyering (legal research and writing); Local Government Law; Environmental Law Seminar
- Represented clients in front of local governing bodies including city, county and town council, planning commission and board of appeals in obtaining conditional use permits, variances and defeating discretionary review requests for client residential, commercial and renewable energy projects
- Provided research, analysis and strategic advice regarding city, county and state laws, ordinances and regulations applicable to renewable energy projects across the U.S., including drafting appropriate amendments and promoting to responsible governmental bodies.
- Advised and participated in the development, filing and prosecution of successful conditional/special use permits, tax abatements and subdivisions for numerous wind energy and solar energy projects.
- Assisted in creation of airspace condominium and drafting of complex declarations and other governing documents to govern multi-use commercial building
- Advised large hospital system on removal of encumbrances on all parcels for a full city block being demolished and redeveloped for a medical complex
- Represented neighbors in opposition to proposed four story addition to an office tower adjacent to their residential condominium buildings – obtained a continuance of hearings for entitlements and negotiated a settlement agreement
- Represented medical marijuana industry clients in obtaining permits, coordinating with community associations, amending legislation and fulfilling regulatory requirements related to medicinal cannabis dispensaries and cultivation facilities
- Defended Clean Water Act citizen’s suit case under state implementation plan of storm water management through settlement and compliance with Consent Decree
- Coordinated with client, environmental professionals and neighboring land owners on remediation of contaminated site including negotiation of access agreements, agency approval to close wells, reporting to state and regional authorities
- Advised trucking clients on response to EPA enforcement audits of compliance with the California Air Resource Board’s Truck and Bus Regulation under the Clean Air Act
Publications and Presentations
- “Environmental and Land Use Law Update”, Presenter, American Planning Association, Bi-State Conference, 2018
- “EPA Enforcement Actions Reflect Shifting Priorities,” co-author, Law.com, February 2016
- “The ABCs of ADUs,” co-author, SF Apartment Magazine, November 2016