Heather Nixon Stevenson Counsel

Heather has two primary areas of practice. She counsels clients on environmental permitting and environmental regulatory compliance issues and assists clients with environmental issues in business transactions. She also has substantial experience advising clients about, and preparing governance documents for, large-scale residential, commercial, and mixed-use developments, and both residential and commercial condominium projects.


Heather helps clients review environmental site assessments and advises clients on issues raised through such assessments, whether in the context of acquisition transactions or regulatory compliance. She advises clients on wetland and stormwater permitting issues. She also helps clients comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides in their marketing materials and other documents available to the public.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, Heather was an environmental analyst and environmental planner with the Virginia Department of Transportation. She also was an environmental specialist with the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for more than 10 years.

Developments and Condominiums

Heather’s practice also involves working with clients to create governance structures for newly created or retrofitted communities. These structures range from the simple to the complex and can include master associations for mixed-use projects, residential and/or commercial associations, and condominium associations. Heather advises interested clients on ways to incorporate green building and other sustainability practices into their communities.



Environmental diligence and permit advice regarding multiple solar development projects and solar project financing transactions.

Preparation of and advice concerning permit-by-rule applications for wind and solar projects in Virginia.

Representation of the owner of a chain of convenience stores in the acquisition of more than 200 additional gas stations and convenience stores. Provided advice on environmental and remediation issues as a part of the transaction and post-acquisition.

Representation of a Fortune 500 transportation company in stormwater and floodplain permit negotiations and for a unique type of project not previously addressed by the permitting agencies involved. After negotiations, the final permit conditions reflected the needs of the projects and the company’s industry rather than standard permit conditions, resulting in substantial time and cost savings for the company.

Representation of a Fortune 500 chemical company in negotiations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for remediation and closure of a Superfund site.

Representation of a Fortune 500 energy company in zoning and tort cases relating to the operations of a wood-fired power plant.

Developments and Condominiums

Representation of a large national bank as the post-foreclosure developer in the completion of construction and sale of a waterfront condominium project.

Preparation of several commercial condominium declarations for a company providing corporate data storage facilities in Northern Virginia.

Preparation of master and parcel-specific restrictive covenants and property owner’s association documents for a 4,000+ acre mixed-use project involving residential, commercial, recreational, and university uses.

Representation, during the past decade, of developers of more than 30 mixed-use, New Urban, and/or adaptive reuse projects around the country, many of which included sustainable or green development and operational practices.

  • University of Richmond School of Law, JD, cum laude, Allen Chair Symposium Issue Editor, University of Richmond Law Review, 2000
  • Duke University, Master of Environmental Management, 1983
  • The College of William & Mary, BS, 1981

Legislation Committee, U.S. Masters Swimming, 2014-2017

Past Chair, Board of Governors, Environmental Law Section, Virginia State Bar

Past Chair, Environmental Law Section, Richmond Bar Association

Board of Visitors, 2009-2011; President, Alumni Council, 2007-2009; Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University

Board of Directors, 2012-2017; Chair, 2014-2016, Seven Hills School, Richmond, Virginia

  • Speaker, The 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule and Implications for Virginia, July 23, 2020
  • Moderator, "Putting the Pieces Together: How Can Virginia’s Renewable Energy Industry Partner with Localities to Increase Wind and Solar Adoption?," Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance 2018 LEAD Conference #1, April 2018
  • Speaker, Water and Wetlands Update – Winter 2013, McGuireWoods LLP and Williamsburg Environmental Group, December 3, 2013
  • Co-presenter, "ABCs of HOAs," Lorman Webinar, March 2011
  • Panelist, "ABCs of Pending Stormwater Regulations," The Chesapeake Bay TMDL and Stormwater in Virginia, January 2011
  • Co-presenter, "Green Building - Challenges and Opportunities," Cities Alive 2010 Conference, December 2010
  • Speaker, "Private Sewer Laterals - Legal Issues," WEFTEC Collection Systems Technical Education Workshop, October 2010
  • Speaker, "New Stormwater Management Requirements: How the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Will Impact Virginia Localities and Businesses," Lorman Program, October 2010
  • Speaker, "Legal Update - The Latest in Wetlands Law," Virginia Association of Wetlands Professionals, 2009 Annual Fall Meeting & Workshop, September 2009
  • Speaker, "Environmental Regulations for Design Professionals," Architecture Exchange East 2007, November 2007
  • Speaker, "Virginia Environmental Regulations for Design Professionals," Half Moon LLC, April 2007
  • Florida
  • Virginia

Selected for inclusion in “Legal 500 United States,” Environment: Regulatory, 2022, 2023

Named to "Virginia Rising Stars," Environmental, Real Estate, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2008, 2010

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