40 North Central, 20th Floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85004
Fax: 602.256.4475
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Stephen W. Anderson



  • J.D., University of Chicago, 1989
  • B.A., with Honors, Haverford College, 1986
  • London School of Economics, 1984-1985
  • Profile
  • Experience
  • Professional + Civic

As a veteran zoning and land use attorney, Stephen Anderson serves as an influential leader on a series of landmark planned unit development (PUD) and entitlement decisions, particularly within the City of Phoenix. He served as lead representative for the entitlement process for the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, which was the state’s largest hotel at the time. Also, he represented Sunbelt Holdings in the annexation and entitlement of Vistancia, a 7,000-acre residential project that is the largest in the history of the City of Peoria.

His experience extends to due diligence and acquisitions related to utilities, transportation, and retail and residential projects. Stephen has been involved with NeighborWorks America for years, which conveniently dovetails with his zoning and land use expertise. His portfolio of successes includes entitlements for master-planned communities that measure into the thousands of acres, residential subdivisions, retail centers, landfills and transfer stations, cell phone towers and churches. Stephen is well-versed in the land use legalities of solid waste facilities and Arizona’s burgeoning alternative energy industry, which has involved interaction with aviation and military officials at both the local and federal levels.

Stephen’s legal career has earned him recognition from Chambers USA, Best Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell and Super Lawyers.

Court Admissions

  • State Bar of Arizona
  • State Bar of California

Speaking Engagements

  • “Zoning and Housing Affordability… Again” (March 2024), Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute
  • “Gun Fight at the OK Corral: Statewide Preemption of Local Zoning” (September 2023), Arizona Planning Association
  • “How To Use A Lawyer” (January 2020), Local First Arizona Good Business Summit


  • Legislative and Case Law Update 2009, State Bar of Arizona Land Use Update (with Carolyn Williams and Rob Lane) (2009)
  • I’ll See You in Court! Maybe Not: Ripeness As A Bar to Judicial Relief in Takings Claims, State Bar of Arizona Land Use Update (2005)
  • Open Space Offers Opportunity, Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent (2002)
  • The Estoppel Bogeyman, Administrative Law Newsletter of Arizona State Bar Administrative Law Section (2001)

Significant Representations

Over the last few years, Stephen marked the following highlights:

Secured approval for the location of a new waste transfer facility in a suburban location over significant community opposition, quarterbacking a large, multi-disciplinary team that included political consultants, a PR team, and a fire safety consultant.

Secured approval for an overhaul of a 600 acre-plus master planned community in the City of Phoenix that will create more than 1.5 million square feet of commercial and employment space and 1,500 new housing units, coordinating the efforts of four separate development companies.

Secured approval for a large scale industrial-flex project with more than 2 million square feet, including an annexation.

Secured approval for a homeless shelter in the City of Phoenix that will provide 100 critically needed, new shelter beds in a suburban location 11 miles outside downtown.

Assisting a $2 billion new alternative energy project with zoning entitlements in Maricopa County and lease processing with the Arizona State Land Department for multiple transmission options.

Secured approval for a 368 unit, four story, multi-building affordable housing community in the City of Glendale with substantial parking reductions.

Stephen has continued to work across a broad array of jurisdictions, including sites in unincorporated Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Mohave, and Coconino Counties, as well as in the Cities of Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Glendale, Tempe, Avondale, Peoria, Buckeye, Flagstaff, Sedona, Coolidge, and Eloy, and the Towns of Carefree and Cave Creek.

In addition, Stephen was honored to be elected to the Arizona Family Health Partnership Board, returning to service in the area of family planning, a field where he has spent decades volunteering.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Arizona Forward, Board of Directors, 2019 – Present
  • Affirm Arizona, Board of Directors, 2022 – Present
  • American Planning Association, Member
  • Arizona Planning Association, Legislative Affairs Committee