M. Ann Neil Cosby Counsel

Ann Neil represents businesses and individuals on land use, zoning, and subdivision environmental and regulatory issues at the local, state and federal levels. She assists clients in obtaining necessary land use approvals, including rezonings, conditional and/or special use, variances, and other similar approvals.

Ann Neil also represents clients facing zoning and/or environmental compliance and enforcement actions. She has litigated these and other cases throughout Virginia, and has successfully argued before the Virginia Supreme Court.

Ann Neil has broad experience working with clients, localities and other stakeholders in developing and amending land use, environmental and other ordinances, guidelines and plans. She has served on a number of state regulatory advisory panels, including those convened to consider amendments to the Stormwater General Construction Permit, the Stormwater Management Act, the Erosion and Sediment Control Act, and the state’s regulations on hydraulic fracturing. She also served on the VSMP Stormwater Ordinance Advisory Panel.

Throughout her career, Ann Neil has been asked to teach courses in land use, zoning and environmental law for statewide groups, including Plan Virginia (formerly the Citizens Planning Education Association of Virginia), the Virginia Association of Zoning Officials (VAZO), and the Rural Planning Caucus. In 2012, she was selected as one of the year’s Influential Women of Virginia by Virginia Lawyers Weekly. Ann Neil has been named a “Virginia Rising Star,” by Super Lawyers, published by Richmond Magazine, in Land Use and Zoning (2007-2009), and was honored for her administrative regulatory law practice by Virginia Business Magazine’s Legal Elite. She also was listed in Virginia Business Magazine's Legal Elite for Administrative and Regulatory Law in 2010, 2012 and 2013 and for Land Use in 2014.


Representation of European grocery store chain with zoning and development issues for newest U.S. site locations.

Defended commercial and industrial entities in federal and state environmental enforcement proceedings.

Representation of sand and gravel operation seeking zoning approval for expanded use.

Successfully defended locality’s approval of special exception permit in litigation ultimately decided by the Virginia Supreme Court

Guided process for establishing necessary zoning to relocate the State Fair of Virginia to current location.

Represented a Virginia locality in its consideration and approval of a rezoning request for a project encompassing 1,509.3 acres, and proposed for development as a mixed-use, transit-oriented development that incorporated form-based and new urbanist zoning principles.

Represented more than 20 local governments located throughout Virginia in drafting local stormwater management ordinances to meet then-existing state law requirements.

Worked for over 15 years with local governments, planning commission and zoning staff throughout Virginia on land use and zoning matters.

  • William & Mary Law School, JD, articles editor, Journal of Women and the Law, 1998
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, BA, English, cum laude, 1991

Member, Greater Richmond Association of Commercial Real Estate

Member, Virginia State Bar

  • Speaker, Virginia’s New Laws Impacting Solar Development: Legislative Updates, Opportunities and Potential Risks, May 28, 2020
  • Speaker, "Getting Projects Approved in the Age of Social Media," Land Use in the 21st Century, November 17, 2016
  • Presenter, "Staying Afloat in the Stormwater Surge," Joyce Engineering and Maroon Consulting, Webinar Series, Co-sponsored by VACO, VML, PlanVirginia, October 19, 2011 and November 30, 2011
  • Presenter, "Overlay Districts from A to Z," PlanVirginia Commonwealth Land Use and Zoning Conference, October 9-11, 2011
  • Presenter, "New Stormwater Management Requirements: How the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Will Impact Virginia Localities and Businesses," Lorman Educational Services, October 5, 2011
  • Presenter, "Understanding and Applying TMDL Standards Locally," PlanVirginia Legal Seminar, July 18, 2011
  • Presenter, "The Legal Foundations of Planning and Zoning," PlanVirginia, March 7, 2011
  • Presenter, "Developing a Governance Model," VACO Chairperson's Institute, February 4, 2011
  • Presenter, "Using Zoning, the Building Code & the General Laws to Address Property Maintenance Issues," PlanVirginia's 2010 Commonwealth Land Use and Zoning Conference, October 10-12, 2010
  • Presenter, "Addressing Legal Pitfalls of Green Building," Webinar, September 22, 2010
  • Presenter, "Developing a Governance Model: Conflicts and Ethics," VACO Chairperson's Institute, February 12, 2010
  • Virginia

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, Woodward/White, Inc., 2018-2022

Name to “Legal Elite,” Legislative/Regulatory/Administrative, 2012-2013; Environmental Law, 2017-2018, Real Estate/Land Use, 2015, 2020; Virginia Business

Selected for inclusion in “Influential Women of Virginia,” Virginia News Weekly, 2012

Named to “Virginia Rising Stars,” Land Use/Zoning, Environmental, State, Local & Municipal, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2007-2009

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