Lobeck & Hanson frequently assists our clients in affecting proposed land uses in their neighborhoods, by involvement in rezonings, special exceptions, site and development plans and proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments.
The firm has been very active in Manatee and Sarasota Counties, as well as several of their municipalities, representing various neighborhood groups and an environmental organization in land use challenges.
Cases have included preventing developers from turning open space into commercial development, or doing the same to create a suburban subdivision next to rural estate-sized homes, blocking the use of property in a development of regional impact for apartments instead of the boutique shopping promised to residents.
We have had substantial successes in most of these representations, which is becoming an increasing portion of our law practice. In response, we have brought into the firm an attorney with many years of experience in land use planning and regulation in Hillsborough County, Kimlyn Walker, to join with Managing Partner Dan Lobeck and our other attorneys to help protect our clients’ land use interests.
Under Florida court decisions, rezonings and special exceptions are subject to what is called a "quasi-judicial" 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.