PRACTICE AREAS

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Neighborhood Protection
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CASES WON

They include the following:

A unit owner was required to remove a gas fireplace and copper tubing installed without the prior written approval of the Board, as required by the Declaration, despite an after-the-fact request and without examining whether denial of the request would be reasonable.

A lanai enclosure and slab extension were required to be cut back to the limits the Association had actually approved.

A county commission may not settle a zoning lawsuit with a developer without first considering resident comments at a public hearing.

A condominium association may assign exclusive use of common element parking spaces to unit owners and allow them to construct carports.

Under an appropriate Declaration provision, the use of a unit owned by a corporation may be limited to a designated single family or individual.

Absent agreement between an Association and a unit owner, the Association may not validly levy a commission, surcharge or other fee for unit rentals, other than a screening fee as allowed by state law.

Neighborhood testimony may form a sufficient basis to defeat a rezoning on grounds which include traffic impacts and compatibility.

The court entered a permanent injunction prohibiting a gate, gatepost or obstruction of any kind across a driveway easement for plaintiffs' residence.


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Neighborhood Protection:

Lobeck & Hanson frequently assists our clients in affecting proposed land uses in their neighborhoods, by involvement in rezoning's, special exceptions, site and development plans and proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments. Dan Lobeck is the principal author of the neighborhood compatibility policy of the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan and has been active in assisting clients to use that policy to help them protect their interests from incompatible nearby development.

The firm has also been very active in Manatee County, representing various neighborhood groups and an environmental organization in land use challenges as well as seeking to protect property owners on the barrier islands.

We have had several recent land use cases in the City of Venice, including a landmark victory which established increased due process rights for affected residents, including a right to rebuttal as well as cross-examination of witnesses in a local government land use hearing. We also represented a good developer in successfully obtaining a rezoning and special exceptions for a hotel redevelopment in the City of Sarasota.

Under recent court decisions, rezonings and special exceptions are subject to what is called a "quasijudicial" standard, requiring those seeking to influence a land use decision to approach the public hearings in a similar manner to a trial in court. We work with our clients in succeeding with such an approach, by presenting fact-based testimony and evidence as well as citations to applicable law and other techniques to obtain a sustainable favorable result to protect the valid interests of the existing residents. We are also experienced in assisting our clients, where needed, in judicial appeals of land use decisions and have established important appellate case law in this area.

 
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