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21300 Heathcote Road
Freeland, Maryland  21053

CEDS logo

CEDS Triples Citizen Success in Protecting Homes, Neighborhoods & the Environment

Since 1987, Community & Environmental Defense Services (CEDS) has been helping individuals, home owner associations and nonprofit groups with threats to neighborhoods and the environment, including:

We can triple your success in protecting your home or environment thanks to our unique Politically Oriented Advocacy, Equitable Solutions and Smart Legal Strategies approaches.  These approaches maximize citizen success with issues big and small.  In fact, 90% of our clients win their campaigns which is far better than the 5% - 10% success rate of traditional approaches.  And most of these victories come at a fraction of the usual cost. 

To see the many places throughout the nation where we've helped homeowners, citizen groups and others protect their neighborhood and environment click: CEDS Map.  So whether you're looking for a quick, easy solution to a simple problem or seeking the best legal defense possible for a major threat, CEDS is the place to start.  Just give us a call at 410-654-3021 or drop us a line at

Who We Are

CEDS is a nationwide network of more than 135 attorneys and many other professionals including planners, environmental scientists, traffic engineers, political strategists, and fundraisers, to name but a few.

We specialize in helping individuals and non-profits.  In fact, CEDS serves as a bridge between nonprofits and for-profits.  In other words, we provide a place to refer those who need more help then a nonprofit can provide. 

We help our clients determine the quickest, least expensive strategy for resolving their concerns (see Free Assistance below).  When appropriate we then link our clients with an attorney and other professionals who have a good reputation for winning land use and environmental cases.  Our unique Equitable Solutions approach not only maximizes success but strengthens public support for responsible growth management and sound environmental policies.

Free Assistance To Citizens

If you are concerned about a threat to your home, neighborhood, or the environment then we would be delighted to provide you with the following assistance at no cost:

About half the folks we help take our free assistance and manage their own campaign.  A small portion of the remainder decide that there's either too much at risk, the case is too complicated, or they lack the time to pursue the case on their own, so they hire CEDS to manage the campaign for them.  This is how we stay in business and why we're able to offer so much free help to citizens.

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When Our Free Advice Isn't Enough

How do you stop sprawl or other bad development projects? A CEDS Initial Strategy Analysis is usually the quickest way to get an answer.

As part of the analysis we will look at technical, legal, and political options for resolving your concerns. We can usually complete the analysis in one- or two-weeks regardless of where you are located.  For further detail visit our Initial Strategy Analysis webpage.  These analyses are a key factor allowing 90% of our clients to win their cases.

A principle component of the Initial Strategy Analysis is identification of all permits and approvals that must be issued before the project can proceed.  We then focus in on the permit-approval which offers the best opportunity to win your case.  With our nationwide network of  135 attorneys we can quickly mobilize a legal team to block issuance of this key permit-approval until your concerns are resolved.  We can also help you with easy, yet highly-effective fundraising methods.

But the most important service we can provide is to employ our unique Equitable Solutions approach in support of your goals.  When combined with a good legal strategy, Equitable Solutions triples the likelihood of success.  This approach also greatly reduces the costs of winning a campaign to protect a neighborhood or the environment. 

To learn how CEDS can swiftly set your campaign on the path to victory, give us a call at 410-654-3021 or e-mail us at:

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There are a more then a million attorneys practicing across the nation.  A small fraction have experience with land use, zoning, or environmental cases.  However, most of these attorneys only represent applicants - those hoping to build the projects threatening a neighborhood or the environment. 

Fortunately, there's a handful of attorneys who have become very good at winning these cases on behalf of citizen groups and individual property owners.  Engaging an attorney who lacks a record of success on behalf of citizen clients, can be an extremely expensive mistake.  Following are some of the ways CEDS can help you avoid this mistake.

Over the years, CEDS has compiled a long list of attorneys who are good at winning cases on behalf of citizens.  There are several of these attorneys practicing in most states.  So give our Citizens Hotline (410-654-3021) a call and we'll see if one of these attorneys is right for you and is willing to take your case.  If not, then we're very good at helping our clients search elsewhere to find the best attorney for their case. 

When compared to CEDS, there are few organizations which have helped as many citizens win land use, zoning, and environmental cases.  This unusual record of success gives CEDS a unique understanding of how to win citizen cases.  This knowledge allows CEDS to quickly find several attorneys who have the right expertise and motivation to win your case. 

Once we find these professionals many of our clients ask CEDS to review the case with each attorney.  From these reviews CEDS develops an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each attorney.  We also get an assessment of the likelihood of winning your case along with anticipated costs.  This information and our recommendation is frequently the difference between an affordable victory and a very expensive loss.

So, to take advantage of our services contact CEDS at 410-654-3021 or  Additional legal assistance from CEDS is described on our Attorneys webpage. 

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Attorney Support

CEDS provides a unique set of services for attorneys representing clients with concerns about a development project or any other issue threatening a neighborhood or the environment.  We have combined practices learned from some of the best attorneys in the nation into an approach we named Smart Legal Action.  We'd be delighted to speak with you about how this approach can be applied to your cases.  Just give us a call at 410-654-3021 or e-mail us at:

Expert Witnesses
CEDS has assembled a nationwide network of experts with qualities most other professionals lack:

Following are some of the many expertise within the CEDS network: traffic engineer, land planner, wetland ecologist, stormwater engineer, real estate appraiser, hydrogeologist, wastewater engineer, and on the list could go.   So whether you need a PhD or a practitioner we can usually find you the right expert for the least cost.  Just give us a call at 410-654-3021 or e-mail us at:

Issue Analysis
With most land use or environmental cases there can be a dozen or more possible technical issues which could form the legal basis for denying or conditioning a permit or approval.  CEDS has become very efficient at identifying potential issues then singling out the strongest.  For what you might  normally pay to analyze just one potential issue, we can sift through many then line-up a strong expert witness for your consideration. 

But we also provide an extremely important added service.  After determining the decision-making criteria for the permit-approval at issue we'll research past decisions.  This research frequently reveals ways of structuring testimony and legal arguments which substantially increases the likelihood of a favorable decision.  To get a better feel for what our issue analysis might produce for your clients visit our Initial Strategy Analysis webpage. 

Funds are usually the factor which most limits the strength of citizen cases.  Raising money is something else CEDS does very well.  In fact, our signature fund-raiser:

For further detail visit our Fundraising webpage or contact us at 410-654-3021 or

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Saving Thousands of Dollars By Stopping Bad Development Before A Developer Arrives

CEDS believes that vacant lands within or adjoining a neighborhood should be used in ways that preserve and enhance quality of life for you and your neighbors. Proactive Neighborhood Planning (PNP) allows you to influence how these lands will be used long before a development company arrives on the scene. Compared to the traditional approach of waiting until a development proposal has been made, PNP can save neighborhood residents thousands of dollars while making a successful outcome far more likely.  For further detail visit our Proactive Neighborhood Planning webpage.

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We Help With Projects Big & Small

Whether you are concerned about a single structure proposed for a one-acre lot, a thousand-unit housing project, a shopping mall, a highway, or growth throughout a town or county, we can help anywhere in the nation.  Just give us a call at 410-654-3021 or e-mail us at:

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Opportunities To Improve Growth Management in Your City, County or Town

We can assist you in changing the way growth is managed in your area so residents get more benefits while experiencing fewer growing pains.  This assistance begins with a survey of area residents and an analysis of past development decisions as well as existing laws, policies and plans.  We will then produce a strategy document showing how the most harmful growth impacts can be prevented in the future and how citizen advocacy groups can gain the political clout required to bring growth management into the 21st century.  To see some examples of what we can help you produce visit the CEDS webpage for our home county: Baltimore County, MD.

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