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Gary K. Hunter, Jr.

Gary maintains a broad governmental law practice with emphasis on state government affairs, land use entitlements, property rights advocacy and environmental issues.
In nearly three decades of practice in Florida, Gary has represented Florida’s largest landowners in complex land use strategic development, litigation and large area planning. He is equally motivated and privileged to represent everyday landowners in protecting property rights from regulatory intrusion or securing needed entitlements. Gary’s experience includes counseling clients through the maze of the federal Superfund and hazardous waste programs with litigation of both cost recovery actions as well as private landowner suits resulting from the migration of pollutants beyond property boundaries. In addition to his land use and property rights expertise, Gary spends considerable hours with Florida’s policy makers, both in the Capitol and throughout the State advocating for legislative policy on behalf of large land interests, community developers, Florida’s timeshare industry, the world’s largest energy company, Florida agriculture, an international leader in the pharmaceutical industry, and others. Gary devotes his personal time to his college sweetheart, Meredith, and their two adult children, managing a timber farm, and serving on a variety of community boards. He has taken an active leadership role with the Florida Bar where he served from 1996-2009 on the Environmental & Land Use Law Section Executive Council, the last year as Chair of that organization, on the 2nd Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission from 2006-10, serving as chair in his final year, and presently on the 1st District Court of Appeal Nominating Commission.
Education
  • The University of Georgia College of Law, J.D., cum laude
  • The University of Georgia, Bachelor of Business Administration
Bar & Court Admissions
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Colorado (inactive)
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals (Eleventh Circuit)
  • U.S. District Courts (Northern District of Florida, Middle District of Florida, Southern District of Florida, Northern District of Georgia, Middle District of Georgia)
Professional Affiliations
  • The Florida Bar (Environmental & Land Use Law, Past Chair 2009, Real Property and Probate Law, Trial Lawyers)
  • The State Bar of Georgia
  • The Tallahassee Bar Association
  • The Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Wade Hopping Institute Round Table of Advisors, 2012-present
  • Second Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, 2006-2010, Chair 2009-2010
  • The Maclay School, Board of Directors 2007-2014, Chair 2012-2014
  • Urban Land Institute, North Florida District Council Advisory Board, Member 2013-Present
  • First District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission, September 10, 2013-Present
Community Involvement
  • The Maclay School Board of Trustees
  • The Goodwood Gardens Board of Trustees
  • The Tallahassee Exchange Club
  • Gary spent a decade as the head middle school/JV football coach at Maclay School where he led his teams to remarkable success
Awards & Recognition
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, for Litigation-Land Use & Zoning Law, and Environmental Law, 2010-2021 editions
  • Listed in Best Lawyers, “Lawyer of the Year” in Tallahassee for Litigation-Land Use & Zoning, 2012, 2019
  • Listed in the annual publication of The Florida Super Lawyers, 2007, 2012-2020 editions
  • Listed in Chambers USA, 2009-2020 editions
  • Listed in Florida Trend Magazine’s “Legal Elite,” 2009-2010, 2014-2019 editions
  • Achieved Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards
Legal Experience
Represents clients before local government boards on land use permitting/entitlements, including comprehensive plan amendments, rezonings, variances and other related aspects of securing development authorizations.
Counsels and advocates on behalf of clients before various Florida executive branch agencies, including primarily the Department of Economic Opportunity, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Advocates before the Florida Legislature for legislative policy development in the areas of land development, property rights, timeshare interests, energy production, and automobile manufacturers. Recent efforts include the overhaul of Florida’s Comprehensive Planning Act, improvements to the Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Act, and an update of the timeshare statutes.
Litigates Bert J. Harris property rights claims against local and state government on behalf of private land owners.
Represents clients in federal and state tribunals addressing property contamination issues relating to the migration of contaminants as well as the associated issues of securing compliance with federal, state and local regulatory programs.
Advises numerous commercial construction firms on regulatory compliance and litigation of construction and commercial disputes.
Litigates silviculture and aquaculture cases for agricultural interests.
Counsels clients on siting cellular communication towers including appearing before and litigating against local governments in securing approvals of such facilities.
Publications & Presentations
Standing to Appeal an Administrative Order: Cautions from Martin County Conservation Alliance v. Martin County, The Florida Bar Journal, Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 3 (March, 2014) (Co-Author).
Florida Case Law Update, Florida Environmental and Land Use Section Reporter (2005-present).
Environmental and Land Use Law Webcast Series, Annual Legislative Wrap Up (2009-present).
Frequent Lecturer on Growth Management topics at Florida Chamber Short Course.
ABCs of Local Land Use and Zoning Decisions, The Florida Bar Journal, Vol. LXXXIV, No. 1 (January, 2010) (co-author).
Conquering the Maze of Certiorari Review of Local Government Quasi-Judicial Land Use Decisions, The Florida Bar Journal, Vol. LXXVIII, No. 9 , (October, 2004) (co-author).
Statutory Strict Liability for Environmental Contamination: A Private Cause of Action to Remedy Pollution or Mere Legislative Jargon? The Florida Bar Journal, Vol. LXXII, No. 1 (January, 1998).
Representative Published Decisions
TowerCom V, LLC v. City of College Park, Ga. 2013 WL 4714203 (N.D. Ga. Aug. 21, 2013)
St. Johns River Water Management Dist. v. Koontz, 77 So.3d 1220, 2011 WL 5218306, 36 Fla. L. Weekly S623, Fla., November 3, 2011 (NO. SC09-713)
Bay County v. Harrison, 13 So.3d 115, 2009 WL 1492652, 34 Fla. L. Weekly D1099, Fla.App. 1 Dist., May 29, 2009 (NO. 1D08-1203)
Royal World Metropolitan, Inc. v. City of Miami Beach, 863 So.2d 320, 2003 WL 21658283, 28 Fla. L. Weekly D1620, Fla.App. 3 Dist., July 16, 2003 (NO. 3D02-3161)
McGill v. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Com’n, 842 So.2d 190, 2003 WL 2004467, Fla. App. 5 Dist., March 18, 2003 (NO. 5D02-1440, 5D02-1424)
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Com’n v. McGill, 823 So.2d 236, 2002 WL 1790896, 27 Fla. L. Weekly D1800, Fla. App. 1 Dist., August 6, 2002 (NO. 1D02-1589)
Kirk v. U.S. Sugar Corp., 726 So.2d 822, 1999 WL 44336, 24 Fla. Law Weekly D342, Fla. App. 4 Dist., February 3, 1999
Patricia D. Curry, Alexandria Larson, Sharon Waite, and Patrick Wilson, v. Palm Beach County, Florida and Department of Community Affairs and Coconut Northlake, LLC, Northlake Group, LLC, and RIC, 2009 WL 3412909, (Fla. Div. Admin. Hrgs.), October 21, 2009
Florida Chamber of Commerce, Inc.; Florida Land Council, Inc.; and Florida Farm Bureau Federation v. Department of Community Affairs, 2009 WL 2959772, (Fla. Div. Admin. Hrgs.), September 14, 2009
In the News
Aug 20, 2020
Hopping Green & Sams attorneys recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021
Gary Hunter mentioned
Aug 17, 2020
2020 Florida Super Lawyers Recognizes Eleven HGS Attorneys
Gary Hunter mentioned
Aug 17, 2020
HGS recognized in Chambers USA 2020
Gary Hunter mentioned
Aug 17, 2020
Gary Hunter Reappointed to Judicial Nominating Commission
Gary Hunter mentioned
Aug 14, 2020
Gary Hunter Authors Response on Northeast Gateway Project
Gary Hunter mentioned
Aug 15, 2019
HGS attorneys recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020
Gary Hunter mentioned
Jul 15, 2019
Twelve HGS Attorneys among Environmental Permitting Summer School Faculty
Gary Hunter mentioned
Jun 14, 2019
2019 Florida Super Lawyers Recognizes Eight HGS Attorneys
Gary Hunter mentioned
Feb 26, 2019
HGS Attorneys Facilitate Establishment of the Water Street Tampa Improvement District
Gary Hunter mentioned
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