Land Use, Zoning and Governmental Law
Land Use, Zoning and Governmental Law encompasses laws and legal principles which deal with matters before and involving political subdivisions, agencies, regional and metropolitan authorities, and other public entities. We assist clients affected by state and municipal laws, including land use planning, regulatory compliance, code enforcement actions, zoning, permitting, variances and administrative proceedings. We also assist clients in petitioning Value Adjustment Boards challenging property value assessments. Our attorneys also have extensive experience in protecting property development rights for our clients.
The firm has gained experience in this area of the law by also representing governmental entities in various capacities from providing Code Enforcement Magistrates to serving as City Attorney.
The following legal services are included in this practice area:
- Appeals from Land Use Decisions
- Building Permits
- Code Enforcement/Code Compliance
- Construction Industry Licensing
- Development Approvals
- Environmental Resource Permits
- Impact Fees
- Land Use
- Plats & Platting
- Public Contracts & Purchasing
- Right of Way Issues
- Submerged Land Leases
- Sunshine & Public Records Law
- Public Employment
- Zoning and Rezoning
Eminent Domain & Taking of Property by the Government
Eminent Domain is the power of state and federal governments and public utilities to take land needed for public projects. The United States Constitution protects private landowners in that it provides that no property can be taken without just compensation or payment. Under Florida law, private landowners enjoy the additional protection of state law that requires condemning authorities to pay for the landowner's costs and attorney's fees. Typically, this will allow us to negotiate with the condemning authority to obtain full compensation at no cost to you. Under state law, the attorney's fees paid to a landowner in an eminent domain case are in addition to the full compensation obtained from a condemning authority and do not come out of the full compensation negotiated or obtained in a judgment by a Court.
We represent owners or tenants of all types of property, including large and small tracts of vacant land, businesses, industrial complexes, homeowner associations, condominium associations, and single-family homes. The assistance of a skilled eminent domain attorney early in the process can lead to negotiation with the condemning authority to minimize the impact on the client. In addition, there is the possibility of obtaining severance damages from the condemning authority for the reduction in the value of the remaining property caused by the taking of a portion of the property. In some cases, the government will have to pay to reconstruct improvements where the project impacts on a landowner's ability to use their remaining property.
Ad Valorem Tax Appeals
Fox McCluskey represents businesses and individuals in legal challenges against county property appraisers when the property appraiser's assessed value of real and personal property may be incorrect and is greater than the fair market value of the property, causing the client to have to pay higher taxes than required. We also handle challenges based on Florida Statutory exemptions and classifications, such as homestead, agricultural, and pollution control devices. We offer various settlement strategy alternatives and guide clients through the selection of an expert appraiser to support a property tax challenge when warranted. If you do not feel that the property appraiser has fairly valued your property, please allow the attorneys at Fox McCluskey to work with you in presenting an effective appeal to the property appraiser and, if necessary, challenging the valuation in the court system.
School Board & Law Enforcement Representation
We represent law enforcement agencies in many civil matters including civil forfeitures and personnel matters. We also represent law enforcement officers on matters related to the Police Officers Bill of Rights. We also represent school boards providing assistance with contracts, policies, rule revisions, personnel and other board governance matters. Our attorneys frequently sit on various municipal boards as general or board counsel assisting and advising the boards as they carry out their functions and duties.