Land Use and Zoning Group (Private)

Land Use sits at the intersection of the public and private sector. Local government is part of our firm DNA, and we bring this insider-perspective to our representation to private clients who need to obtain land use and zoning approvals.

The seasoned attorneys in our Private Land Use and Zoning Practice Group, led by Gil Pastoriza, represent owners, developers, investors and lenders in land use and zoning matters throughout various South Florida jurisdictions at the municipal, county and State level, including Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, South Miami, Doral, Sunny Isles Beach, Florida City and unincorporated Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties. Our clients include numerous commercial, market rate and affordable housing residential developers, outdoor media companies, churches and telecommunications tower builders. We specialize in entitlement issues facing innovative and uncommon types of facilities such as publicly-controlled, privately-operated professional entertainment and sporting facilities, and quasi-institutional community serving facilities such as cemeteries and adult congregate housing.  Our experience also extends to inter-related practice areas to land use, such as environmental, code enforcement, historic and unsafe structures.

Entitlements and Approvals

The Group takes a comprehensive 360º approach to the entitlement process, emphasizing analysis of alternative strategies to obtain the desired result in the most efficient manner possible. Often times, the quickest route to approval may involve changing the law itself - due to our focus on local government, we have considerable expertise in drafting regulations and understand the nuances involved. Where the current laws on the books provide a viable solution, we draw from our knowledge of applicable codes and, with the addition of our creativity and ingenuity, devise unique solutions tailor-made for our clients.  But we bring something else to the table-established, cultivated personal relationships with local government staff and elected and appointed officials, in some cases going back to our founding more than 20 years ago. We are thus uniquely-qualified to handle each stage of the process from pre-acquisition due diligence and counsel to occupancy permitting, including all steps in between, such as liaising with staff, entitlement application, public hearing representation, construction permitting, and entitlement summary and opinion in connection with lender financing.

Hearings and Appeals

Both with the assistance of our administrative/regulatory attorneys and litigators and on our own, attorneys in the Group have vast public hearing experience before all land use and zoning bodies, including county and municipal commissions/councils, and all manner of subsidiary planning and zoning boards, including those devoted to unsafe structures, architectural review, and community enhancement.  We also have ample experience with specialized boards and entities such as DEP, FDOT, DERM, Environmental Quality Control Board, and South Florida Water Management District.

In addition to obtaining entitlements, our Group’s lawyers provide substantive advice and assistance on a vast array of land use-related litigation, draft specialized use and property development agreements and restrictions, and provide support on land use appellate matters. 

We hold advanced degrees in urban planning and are Board Certified in City and County Planning. We have also been recognized by several leading publications as "top" in their field, and include Miami-Dade County’s first LEED AP-certified attorney. We are also committed to the local community, providing uncompensated services to several non-profit organizations in various capacities and serving on several boards and committees with the goal of giving back to and contributing to our community.