In our view, Florida’s programs for regulating land use and real estate development are important issues in real estate transactions and usually pose the central challenge in developing land. We assist clients in buying land and securing entitlements and other approvals for projects throughout the state.
Our work includes preparing development programs to comply with local comprehensive plans or strategies for plan amendments to authorize new or different projects. For large projects classified by law as a development of regional impact (DRI), we counsel clients on legal ways to avoid DRI review and represent them when DRI approval must be obtained. We regularly appear before local governing bodies throughout Florida as well as state agencies that review projects. And we represent clients in formal administrative hearings and in civil litigation when a governmental entity or a dedicated opponent attempts to block a project.
Our land use lawyers also assist clients in:
- Strategy development and implementation for sector plans and other types of large-area plans on major landholdings;
- Performing “due diligence” on real property before acquisition;
- Negotiating development order conditions with local governments and review agencies;
- Complying with Florida’s “concurrency” requirement for adequate public facilities;
- Negotiating development agreements to provide infrastructure and vest entitlements;
- Establishing and representing special districts to finance, construct, operate and maintain infrastructure;
- Negotiating water, sewer and other types of agreements for utility service;
- Designing and executing annexation strategies;
- Representing a client in court when regulatory decisions impose an undue burden on real property or result in a “taking;” and
- Seeking changes to legislative policy on growth management to address clients’ long-term visions and goals.
We believe that our most important work in assisting a client who wants to develop land occurs before the client ever files an application. By drawing on our experience, our goal is to help the client prepare a strategy that anticipates challenges from regulators or other potential opponents and gives the client the best chance for success.