Skip to main content
Nossaman LLP

John P. Erskine


T 949.833.7800
F 949.833.7878
18101 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 1800
Irvine, CA 92612

John Erskine counsels landowners, developers, lenders, receiverships, and public agencies on planning and land use matters, including the preparation and processing of CEQA documentation, General/Specific Plan Amendments, Conditional Use Permits, Subdivision Maps, Development Agreements, Owner Participation Agreements (OPAs), Disposition and Development Agreements (DDAs), Conditional Use Permits (CUPs), and Coastal Development Permits (CDPs).

Mr. Erskine regularly represents clients before local agencies, City Councils, Boards of Supervisors, and the California Coastal Commission, as well as LAFCO's, Water Districts, and other regulatory entities throughout Southern California.

Prior to joining Nossaman in 1989, Mr. Erskine served as Executive Director of the BIA/Orange County Region (1983-1989). He also served as a Councilman and Mayor of the City of Huntington Beach (1986-1990), and concurrently as a Director of the Orange County Transit District. Mr. Erskine previously served on the South Coast Regional Coastal Commission.

Representative Work

Bolsa Chica Project (Orange County).  Represented Signal Landmark, Koll and Hearthside Homes for over a decade in preparing, negotiating and processing approvals from the Orange County Board of Supervisors, State and Federal Resource Agencies, and the Coastal Commission, for a 3,300 home community on 1700 acres of wetland/upland property in an unincorporated coastal area of Huntington Beach. Successfully defended project entitlement and CEQA approvals from an environmental group challenge.   

Back Bay Landing (Newport Beach).  Nossaman is lead land use and Coastal Commission counsel on handling a highly complex land use entitlement assignment for a primarily undeveloped/underutilized 31 acre bay front site in Newport Beach, California.  Nossaman is handling all legal  and Coastal Commission consulting work associated with a General Plan Amendment, Coastal Land Use Plan Amendment (before the City and Coastal Commission), Zone Change to a Planned Community District, Section 10 Permits from US Army Corps of Engineers for a new seawall/bulkhead, and other land use approvals from the City, County, State Lands, Caltrans (new project access ramp from Coast Highway), US ACOE, RWQCB, as well as a full EIR and other environmental clearances for future project construction.

Makar Properties, LLC. (Pacific City/Huntington Beach).  Nossaman was lead counsel with respect to the Specific Plan, Conceptual Master Plan, CUP, Coastal Development Permit, Coastal Appeal and Tentative Map approvals as well as EIR certification and defense of same, on one of the largest mixed-use projects on the California coast.  Makar's "Pacific City" project includes a 165-room luxury boutique hotel, 195,000 square feet of office, retail, restaurant, entertainment and dining uses, and 516 residential condominium units on the interior portion of the property above subterranean parking, along with extensive new public facilities, plazas and open space.  Nossaman represented Makar and prevailed in a dispute resolution hearing before the Coastal Commission which determined that the project was not appealable, and successfully defended the City and Makar in litigation brought by project opponents.

Boca del Canon. Represents multiple lot owners in preparation, processing, and approval of Coastal Development Permit ("CDP") applications for private, gated development in San Clemente. Negotiated and drafted MOU, Deed Restrictions, OTD's, and Subordination Agreements to accomplish Coastal Commission required alternative beach access. With partner John Flynn, prevailed on demurrer to and dismissal of homeowner-initiated litigation alleging CEQA violations in OC Superior Court.

Dana Point Shipyard. Represents long-term lessee of Dana Point Shipyard with respect to County/City Local Coastal Plan Amendment for revised Dana Point Harbor Plan advising client on applicability of Coastal Act sections and Tidelands Trust Grant restrictions. Coastal Commission hearing scheduled for April 2009.

Conexant – Newport Beach General Plan Update. Represented large technology facility in 2004-2006 City of Newport Beach General Plan Update, with respect to residential land use designation on site.

Scholle Family Trust. Advised client on CEQA clearance and negotiated/facilitated settlement with Mayor, City Attorney and staff of Newport Beach to avoid CEQA challenge to office/fitness/restaurant complex on MacArthur and Jamboree. Project was built and occupied in late 2007.

Poseidon Resources. Lead land use counsel for Poseidon Resources in the development of large-scale desalination project in Huntington Beach, California. Advised on regulatory permitting and environmental issues, long-term lease agreements, arrangement with host power plant owners and municipal financing/Owner Participation Agreement; successfully secured City approval of EIR, CUP, and Coastal Development Permit for project (Coastal Commission pending).

Excel Pointe Anaheim LLC ("Anaheim GardenWalk"). Served as lead land use attorney in connection with the entitlement (General Plan Amendment, Specific Plan Amendment, Conditional Use Permit, Development Agreement and Disposition and Development Agreement) of Anaheim GardenWalk in the Disneyland Resort Area. Lifestyle‑Entertainment/retail project entitled for over 500,000 square feet of entertainment/retail and over 1,500 hotel rooms, and is the largest project in Anaheim entitled in the Disneyland Resort Area outside of the Disneyland expansion. Mr. Erskine drafted, negotiated, and obtained approval of a complex Development Agreement with the City Attorney and City Council.

Catellus Residential Group, a division of Catellus Development Corporation. Represented client with respect to land use entitlement, CEQA clearance, Specific Plan approval, Development Agreement negotiations, arterial extensions, park and infrastructure exactions, and school mitigation matters for a 320-unit development in Huntington Beach, California.

Whispering Hills. Land use counsel for 314-acre, 155-lot San Juan Capistrano residential project previously the subject of a moratorium and referendum. Prepared record and served as co-counsel for 1999 CEB Top Ten Real Estate Case – BILD v. City of San Juan Capistrano, 4th Appellate District Court of Appeal decision establishing developer's processing rights during moratorium. Project approved in 2004.

St. Cloud at Ocean Ranch. Lead land use counsel in obtaining General Plan Amendment, Zone Change and CEQA clearance for former business park site in Oceanside, CA.

Sharp Electronics Corporation. Served as land use counsel in obtaining environmental clearance/conditional use permits, and entitlement plan amendments for client's 600,000 square foot regional headquarters building in Huntington Beach and also assisted in the negotiation of a purchase and sale agreement for 24 acres from the McDonnell Douglas Corporation in Huntington Beach for the project.

John P. Erskine
John P. Erskine



J.D., Pepperdine University School of Law, 1978

B.A., California State University, Fullerton, 1974



U.S. District Court, Central District of California

Professional Affiliations

California Bar Association

Orange County Business Council, Board of Directors

Building Industry Association, Orange County Region, Director (1990 – 2001)

Orange County Charter Revision Committee, Chairman and Legal Drafting Committee (1994-1995)

Huntington Beach City Council, Councilman and Mayor (1986-1990)

Huntington Youth Shelter, Vice President (1993) and Director (1991-1994)

  • Professionals
  • Practices
  • Success Stories
  • News
  • Events
  • Resources
  • Firm Pages