Our Team

Vinette D. Godelia

Throughout her career, Vinette's practice has focused on the negotiation and defense of complex approvals under the state’s growth management laws and local government regulations.
She represents clients before governing bodies to secure development entitlements and to defend those entitlements in formal hearings before the Division of Administrative Hearings and circuit and appellate courts. Successful negotiation of complex land use approvals often requires coordination of a team of expert consultants covering a wide range of public facility, natural resource, compatibility and other planning issues. She has lead such team efforts across the state. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked with Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism organization in various capacities including public relations and destination sales. She completed her career with Visit Florida as head of the Mid-Atlantic office in Washington, D.C.
  • Florida State University School of Law, J.D., with honors
  • Florida A&M University School of Journalism and Graphic Arts, B.S., with high honors
  • Miami Dade College, A.A.
Bar & Court Admissions
  • Florida
Professional Affiliations
  • American College of Environmental Lawyers, Fellow
  • Florida Bar Association, Real Property, Probate Trust Law Section, member
  • Florida Bar Association, Environmental and Land Use Law Section, member
  • Florida Bar Association, City, County and Local Government Law Section, Member
  • Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association
Community Involvement
  • Zonta International
  • Foundation for Leon County Schools 2017-2019
  • Children’s Home Society, Pro Bono Counsel 2004-2017
  • Big Bend Habitat for Humanity, Term 2008-2014
  • Florida State University College of Law, J.D. Adviser
Awards & Recognition
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, for Environmental Law, 2018-2021 editions
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, for Administrative Law, 2021 edition
  • Listed in the annual publication of The Florida Super Lawyers, 2020-2021 editions
  • Listed as a “Rising Star” in the annual publication of The Florida Super Lawyers 2010-2012 editions
  • Listed in Florida Trend Magazine’s “Legal Elite,” 2014-2015, 2018-2019 editions
  • Leadership Florida, Class XXIX
Legal Experience
Represents private and public sector clients before local and state agencies, courts and elected bodies regarding land use and real estate development issues.
Experience with comprehensive planning, zoning, and strategic planning to revise existing entitlements in response to new regulations and development trends.
Experience with development of regional impact (DRI) review and other planned development and large scale approval processes including rescission of DRI development orders.
Experienced in developing strategic and targeted revisions to comprehensive plans and land development regulations to facilitate site specific project development and the negotiation of local development order terms.
Familiar with intricacies inherent in development of land uses including residential, commercial, mixed use communities, and industrial approvals including mines and energy facilities.
Experience in protecting and challenging state and local approvals in court and before the Division of Administrative Hearings.
Publications & Presentations
Florida State University College of Law, Co-Instructor: Life Cycle of a Real Estate Deal – Spring 2020, Practicing Environmental Law in Florida – Spring 2019, Florida Real Estate Law Practice – Beyond the Fundamentals – Spring 2018
Growth Management, the Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, Legislative and Case Law Update (2015, 2016, 2017, 2020)
Emerging Trends on the Development Front for Environmental, Land Use and Real Estate Practitioners, The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee, The Environmental & Land Use Law Section, and the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, CLE Program Coordinator (2014).
Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law Challenges to Development Orders, NBI, Inc., Presenter (2013).
What’s Left of Development Permitting – 33rd Annual RPPTL Legislative & Case Law Update Seminar, The Florida Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, The Real Property, Probate and Trust Law PAC & the RPPTL-PAC, Presenter (2013).
Comprehensive Planning & Impact Fees Under the New SB 360 Paradigm, Environmental and Land use Considerations for Real Estate Transactions Seminar by the Florida Bar CLE Committee, the Environmental and Land Use Law Section and the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section (2010).
Environmental Agencies, Florida Administrative Practice, The Florida Bar (2008) (co-author).
Litigating Land Use, Litigating Land Use Conference, CLE International (2008)
What’s Ahead for DRIs?, Growth Management, Energy, Climate Change and the Environmental Short Course, Florida Chamber (2009 and 2010).
Understand the Development and Utilization of the Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Law: Current Issues in Subdivisions, Annexation and Zoning, NBI, Inc. (2009).
The Intersection of Transportation and Florida Law, Planning Law and Ethics Workshop, Florida Section of the Institute of Engineers (FSITE) (2009).
Implementation, Cluster Development, Urban Infill, Reducing VMT, Energy & Climate Change Panel, Environmental Permitting Summer School, Florida Chamber Foundation (2009).
Administrative and Judicial Review of Land Use Decisions, Florida Land Use and Environmental Law, (2006) (co-author with David Powell).
Representative Published Decisions
Seminole Tribe v. Hendry County, 2013 WL 238231, So. 3d 19, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D 175
2D12-1657 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. June 12, 2013)
Seminole Tribe v. Hendry County, 2013 WL 2494708, 114 So. 3d 1073, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D 1290 2D12-2307 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. July 1, 2013)
Town of Yankeetown v. Levy County, 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 2305, 79 So. 3d 26, 2012 WL 521004 1D11-4770 (Court of Appeal, First District 2012)
W.A.R., Inc. v. Levy County, 2012 WL 3239930, 93 So. 3d 1244, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D 1923, 2012 WL 3239930 1D12-0189 (Court of Appeal, First District 2012)
Schutzer v. Palm Beach County, 186 So. 3d 1027 1D15-3659 (Court of Appeal, First District 2016)
Alerts OF PBC, Inc., Patricia D. Curry, Robert Schutzer, and Karen Schutzer v. Palm Beach County and Minto PBLH, LLC, Final Order No. DEO-15-087,14-5657GM (Fla Div. Admin. Hrgs.)
Diane Brown and Panhandle Citizens Coalition v. Department of Community Affairs and St. Joe Company and Clara Avenue, LLC, 2007 ER FALR 90 06-0881GM (Fla Div. Admin. Hrgs.)
Diane Brown v. Bay County and Cedar Creek Ranch, Inc.11-0584GM (Fla Div. Admin. Hrgs.)
In Re: Florida Power & Light Company Turkey Point Units 6 & 7 Power Plant Siting Application No. PA 03-45A3, 2014 ER FALR 58, OGC CASE NO. 09-3107
09-3575EPP (Fla Div. Admin. Hrgs.)
In re: Joint petition for approval of natural gas transportation service agreement between Florida City Gas and Miami-Dade County, through Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department, Florida Public Service Commission Docket No. 130089-GU; ORDER NO. PSC-13-0297-CFO-GU, 13 FPSC 6:109
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 Richard J. Sluggett and Panatton Development Company, LLC, 2010 ER FALR 26 09-1204GM (Fla Div. Admin. Hrgs.)
Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Hendry County, Florida, a political subdivision of the State of Florida; Florida Power & Light Co.; and McDaniel Reserve Realty Holdings, LLC, a Florida limited liability company, 2013 ER FALR 23, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D175a 2D12-1657 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. January 23, 2013)
W.A.R., INC. v. Levy County and Tarmac America, LLC, 2012 ER FALR 92, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D1923b ID12-0189 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. August 10, 2012)
Significant Transactions
Mine establishment and extensions are a routine part of our firm’s efforts. Much of our work in this context involves permitting for our client Mosaic’s phosphate mine operations including work on over 50,000 acres in Manatee, DeSoto, and Hardee Counties. Our efforts included large area approvals, DRI rescissions, creation of comprehensive plan mining overlays, special exceptions, master plans and other development orders and resource impact approvals.
Work on the New Wales and Bartow Chemical Plant and Green Bay Facility involved developing the regulatory and public involvement strategy for DRI exemptions and local government review of gypsum stack expansions in Polk County. The entitlements were supported by negotiations with the Department of Economic Opportunity and Department of Environmental Protection on mitigation of impacts involving significant monitoring requirements.
Our firm guided the development process for a new Combined Cycle Power Plant for Duke Energy. The matter involved procuring land use entitlements including comprehensive plan amendments and rezoning approvals for a 1,640-megawatt combined cycle natural gas plant in Citrus County.
Our firm assisted Duke Energy with seeking to amend the Hamilton County Comprehensive Plan and the Hamilton County Land Development Code to allow the establishment of solar generating facilities in rural areas. The proposed amendments add solar electrical generating facilities as a permitted activity, governed by special permit. The companion land development code amendment add definitional components and performance standards for purposes of providing objective criteria for evaluating and siting a request for a special permit to locate such facilities.
Our firm guided the development process for a new Combined Cycle Power Plant for Seminole Electric. The matter involved procuring land use entitlements including comprehensive plan amendments and rezoning approvals for a 1,130-megawatt plant in Putnam County.
Our firm routinely negotiates with local governments on approvals for oil and gas exploration and production in Calhoun County, Santa Rosa County, and Gulf County Florida. Our Firm is the lead in development and negotiation of the referenced approvals with local, regional and state agencies.
Our firm reworked historic entitlements for a mixed use project located off Florida Interstate 4 in Polk County Florida. The matter required the negotiation of significant changes to the regulatory scheme applicable to the project include the removal of development of regional impact restrictions through novel interpretations of state and local law, approval of new comprehensive plan and code amendments, negotiation of infrastructure related development agreements and related issues.
Our firm conducted due diligence review and represented a developer before the City of Tallahassee and community groups to allow the purchase and development of student focused multi-family housing development in a historic African- American community. The project was met with significant public opposition and required negotiation of terms the neighborhood could find acceptable to incorporate design elements and uses supportive of the history of the area and the neighborhood.
In the News
Aug 2, 2021
2021 Florida Planning Conference
Vinette Godelia mentioned
Jul 16, 2021
Florida Super Lawyers 2021
Vinette Godelia mentioned
Jul 15, 2021
2021 RPPTL Legislative Update
Vinette Godelia mentioned
Aug 17, 2020
2020 Florida Super Lawyers Recognizes Eleven HGS Attorneys
Vinette Godelia mentioned
Contact Vinette D. Godelia