Craig Lawson & Co., LLC
Land Use Consultants
3221 Hutchison Ave. #D
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Phone: 310-838-2400
Fax: 310-838-2424

Company Profile


Established in 1999, Craig Lawson & Co., LLC is a land use consulting firm offering a full range of real estate project entitlement and zoning services.  Based in West Los Angeles, Craig Lawson & Co., LLC draws from a professional and cohesive staff of 12 employees committed to providing quality services to the real estate development community, investors, corporate real estate owners, land use attorneys, project managers, public agencies and non-profit organizations.  Over the last fifteen years, Craig Lawson & Co., LLC has achieved a 99% success rate in the approval of entitlement applications for complex high-rise, mixed-use, residential, commercial, retail, industrial, institutional, non-profit, and governmental projects.


Zoning Research and Land Use Analysis/Due Diligence
Research and analysis of current zoning restrictions, land use designations, previous zoning approvals, “Q” Conditions and “D” Limitations, building permits, covenants, and affidavits.

Pre-Development Consulting and Feasibility Analysis
Evaluation of the proposed project and preliminary site plan in relation to the zoning constraints and opportunities, coordination of meetings with key government officials and staff members, and preparation of project timelines, fee estimates, and entitlement strategy.

Land Use Entitlement Applications and Public Hearings
Preparation and filing of applications such as: Site Plan Review, Adjustment, Modification, Zone Variance, Conditional Use Permit, Plan Approval, Zone Change, Specific Plan Exception, Plan Amendment, Density Bonus, Transfer of Floor Area (TFAR), and Tract Map, including the preparation of justifications, findings and exhibits for the requested entitlements and coordination of radius maps and ownership lists, posting of notices, site photos, and PowerPoint presentations.  Craig Lawson & Co., LLC provides leadership through the entire entitlement process, including negotiations with governmental officials, responding to questions from staff members, and representation at public hearings.

Other Land Use and Permitting Services
Craig Lawson & Co., LLC professional services also include:

  • Government and Community Relations (including lobbying)
  • Conditional Use Permits for the on-site and off-site sale and service of alcoholic beverages in restaurants, bars, nightclubs and retail stores
  • Project Appeals, Time Extensions, and Mitigation Monitoring
  • Monitoring of Community Plan Updates and Specific Plan Revisions
  • Responses to governmental enforcement actions (e.g. Orders to Comply)
  • Supplemental Use Districts for Signage and Project Permit Compliance
  • Expert Witness and Litigation Support

Craig Lawson & Co., LLC has excellent working relationships with qualified architects, environmental consultants, land use attorneys, traffic engineers, community outreach specialists, title companies, civil engineers, land surveyors, appraisers, market research analysts, and other professionals who can be recommended as members of a project team.

Craig Lawson founded Craig Lawson & Co., LLC in 1999.  Over the last 16 years, Craig Lawson & Co., LLC has grown to be the largest independent land use consulting firm in Los Angeles. The firm, with 12 employees, has worked on zoning research, land use analysis, and entitlement processing for hundreds of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional projects, including the Metropolis mega-project in downtown Los Angeles, the Emerson College Los Angeles campus in Hollywood, the Vermont/Wilshire high rise project in Koreatown, and Il Villagio Toscano in the San Fernando Valley.  He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, Los Angeles Chapter, and serves as an expert witness and frequent speaker on zoning and land use issues.

         Craig has over 35 years of experience in the public and private sectors including 12 years (1987 to 1999) at C.W. Cook Co., Inc., a well-known Los Angeles land use planning, civil engineering and surveying firm and almost 10 years (1977 to 1987) as urban planning, transportation policy and economic development advisor to former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.  He has a B.A. Degree in Political Science and Business Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and did graduate work in local government and public policy at the USC School of Public Administration.

James D. Ries, Vice President, supervises the firm’s staff in processing a wide range of entitlements for development projects.  Jim has been with Craig Lawson & Co., LLC for over 15 years, prior to which he was an urban planner at the firms of:  C.W. Cook Co., Inc., Malibu Bay Company, Bobrow/Thomas & Assoc., and Stanley Hoffman & Assoc. Jim’s professional achievements include: securing entitlements for major multi-family residential projects (including affordable housing projects) that locate housing near jobs and transit, and obtaining local approval for numerous adaptive-reuse projects (industrial to residential) in the urban core (Arts District).  Jim is an appointed member, and past Chair, of the City of Santa Monica Planning Commission, City of Los Angeles Commercial Reuse Task Force, and has served as Chairperson of the City of Santa Monica’s Sustainable City Task Force.  He is also a member of the Westside Urban Forum.


  • High-rise & mixed-use developments located at Sunset & Gordon (Hollywood), Wilshire & Crescent Heights (Fairfax District), Hollywood & Gower, Burton Way & La Cienega Blvd., Wilshire & Vermont, Maxella & Lincoln, and Sepulveda near Ventura (San Fernando Valley).

  • Numerous groundbreaking projects in downtown Los Angeles, such as the Metropolis Mega-project (1500 condo units plus a 350room hotel in four towers), the new 393-room high rise hotel (Courtyard by Marriott/Residence Inn) across from LA Live, the 11th & Grand block (723 condo units in three towers over retail), a 700-unit residential project with downtown’s first Whole Foods Market at 8th & Grand, and a high rise development (648 units in two towers) at 12th and Figueroa (part of the L.A. Sports & Entertainment District Specific Plan).

  • Various key projects in the Downtown Arts District including the Toy Factory Lofts, Biscuit Company Lofts, Barker Block, and One Santa Fe; and in Central City West including various residential and mixed use projects for Holland Partner Group.

  • Major renovations to the Beverly Connection shopping center and the Figueroa & 7th retail center/food court (including various signage approvals), and improvements at The Grove.

  • Expansion and improvement projects for educational institutions, such as Harvard-Westlake School, New West Charter School, Emerson College (Los Angeles Campus), Southwestern Law School (Master Plan), Archer School for Girls, and Berkeley Hall School; religious institutions, including Temple Beth Am, Temple Israel Hollywood, St. Matthews Parish School, and Corpus Christi Parish; and for hospitals/clinics, including Kaiser Permanente (Baldwin Hills Medical Office Building) and the House Ear Institute.

  • Various affordable housing and senior living projects in the S.F. Valley, East L.A., and South L.A., for non-profit clients: Abode Communities, SRO Housing Corp., Skid Row Housing Trust, PATH Ventures, L.A. Housing Partnership, Community Foundation Land Trust, Menorah Housing Foundation, A Community of Friends, and East L.A. Community Corp.