John E. Ponder: Lawyer with Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

John E. Ponder


Peer Rating
AV® Preeminent

Client Rating

Featured AV Peer Review Rated Lawyer IconFeatured AV Peer Review Rated Lawyer Icon
Printer Friendly VersionEmail this PageDownload to My Outlook ContactsAdd lawyer to My FavoritesCompare this lawyer to other lawyers in your favorites

Experience & Credentials Ratings & Reviews

Practice Areas

  • Environmental
  • Litigation
  • Construction Litigation
  • Construction and Infrastructure
  • Real Estate, Land Use and Natural Resources
  • Real Estate Acquisitions and Dispositions
  • Real Estate Development
University San Diego State University, B.A., 1976
Law SchoolCalifornia Western School of Law, J.D., 1980
Admitted1980, California


•Member, California Bar Association (Land Use and Real Property sections)

•Member, San Diego County Bar Association (Land Use, Environmental Law and Construction sections)

•Member, the California Building Industry Association (Legal Action Committee)

•Member, Building Industry Association of San Diego County (South County Legislative Committee, Urban Council, and City County Legislative Committee)

•Member, San Diego Chapter of Lambda Alpha International, an honorary land economics society

•Member, American Council of Engineering Companies

•Member, Urban Land Institute

•Member, Move San Diego (Board of Directors)

•Member, San Diego Association of Environmental Professionals


John E. Ponder is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm's San Diego office.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Ponder specializes in the representation of clients involved in real estate development. His practice focuses on advising and representing major residential, industrial, commercial, Native American Indian tribes, and renewable energy developers through all phases of the land use regulatory process and environmental compliance. His land use experience includes real estate due diligence investigations, negotiating and drafting development agreements, processing land use entitlements, advising tribal governments on environmental and natural resources law, and appearing before governmental agencies and commissions.

Real Estate Development

Real estate development has grown increasingly complex and controversial requiring knowledge of applicable federal, state and local laws, as well as the ability to work with a wide range of diverse interests including governmental agency staff, elected officials, landowners, environmental organizations and citizen groups. Mr. Ponder's ability to work with such diverse interests to develop creative, practical and economical solutions is demonstrated by his involvement in the successful approval and permitting of thousands of residential units during the past several years. Most of these residential units were master planned projects in the communities of Sabre Springs, Mira Mesa, Carmel Valley, and Otay Mesa in the City of San Diego. Current projects include redevelopment, infill and mixed use developments in northern, southern, and eastern San Diego County, as well as an additional 3,500+ residential units in the Otay Mesa and Mira Mesa Community Planning Areas in the City of San Diego.

Environmental Compliance

Mr. Ponder has assisted clients in obtaining permits and approvals from various federal agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). He has successfully guided clients through the maze of state and local environmental clearances necessary for development including the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), California Fish and Game (CDF&G) 1602 Streambed Alteration Agreement, Tribal-State Compacts, and the City of San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP). His working knowledge of environmental constraints and the development process proves invaluable when investigating the potential purchase of real estate and the subsequent preparation of acquisition documents.


An experienced litigator, Mr. Ponder has handled actions involving development disputes, condemnation, environmental compliance, real estate transactions, and construction defect. He has managed complex civil litigation for several residential developers and defended challenges to development approvals. Mr. Ponder was lead counsel in the recent CEQA litigation appellate court decision, Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development (CREED) v. City of San Diego regarding a challenge to an addendum to an EIR involving water supply assessments, greenhouse gas emissions, and exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Professional Qualifications and Activities

Mr. Ponder's practice includes strong ties to the local, state and national Building Industry Associations. The Building Industry Association of San Diego County (BIASD) is the largest independent chapter of the California Building Association (CBIA). BIASD works closely with CBIA and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) on issues related to housing, environmental reform, streamlining permit processing, reducing building fees and construction dispute resolution. The existing relationship with these associations provides continued involvement in the latest issues which impact the development industry.

Mr. Ponder has been active in a variety of civic committee meetings regarding natural resources, employment and real estate development. He has participated in the preparation and implementation of local legislation regarding the Multiple Species Conservation Plan, revisions to the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Regulations to allow impacts to wetlands, updates to the City of San Diego Zoning Code and the Equal Employment Opportunity Ordinance. Mr. Ponder worked with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Employment Lands Inventory Committee to examine issues surrounding the supply and demand of land that will be available for development of office, industrial and research and development facilities. He also worked with SANDAG's Quality of Life Stakeholder Working Group, which provides input on Quality of Life Funding Strategy. Mr. Ponder has been appointed by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority to the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan Technical Advisory Group (ATAG). The goal of the ATAG is to enable interested parties to express their concerns regarding the preparation of Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans being prepared for San Diego County airports.

Mr. Ponder is a member of the Finance Committee for San Diego Mayor Elect Kevin Faulconer and Council Member Lorie Zapf.

Mr. Ponder is a registered lobbyist with the City and County of San Diego and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.


•Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory AV rating. This is the highest rating given to a select group of attorneys who have been recognized by their peers for their legal expertise and professional reputations.

•Real Estate and Construction, Legal 500, 2013


Documents by this lawyer on

Subscribe to this feed

Tribe’s Gamble That Casino Land Transfer Approval Not Subject to CEQA Pays Off
Whitney Hodges,John E. Ponder, October 16, 2014
In a recent Third District Court of Appeal published opinion, the court in Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians v. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (3rd. Dist. 2014) strictly interpreted the California Environmental Quality Act’s definition of “public agency,” holding that it only applies...

View Ratings & Reviews
Profile Visibility
#785 in weekly profile views out of 13,433 lawyers in San Diego, California
#107,676 in weekly profile views out of 1,684,342 total lawyers Overall

Office Information

John E. Ponder

501 West Broadway, Nineteenth Floor
San DiegoCA 92101


Professional Networking for Legal Professionals Only

Quickly and easily expand your professional
network - join the premier global network for legal professionals only. It's powered by the
Martindale-Hubbell database - over 1,000,000 lawyers strong.
Join Now