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Overview

Jake counsels clients in their interactions with local, state, and federal governments on environmental, land use, and land development issues.  He has been lead counsel on a variety of complex permitting and economic development matters, including ad valorem tax exemptions and brownfield designations. Jake routinely assists large agricultural landowners on long-term strategic planning for their holdings and in defense of their greenbelt classifications.  He has extensive experience protecting environmental and land use permits against challenges, defending against government compliance and enforcement issues, and litigating property rights issues, including before the United States Supreme Court.

Jake began his law practice in Tallahassee, where he gained experience dealing with the legislative and regulatory process of state government. As a Gubernatorial Fellow at the Department of Community Affairs, he participated in executive-branch policymaking and developed relationships with state environmental and growth management regulators. A sixth-generation Floridian, Jake grew up in Palatka working in his family’s timber operations and has significant experience working with agriculture, silviculture, agribusiness, and heavy industry interests.

Representative Experience

Permitting, Entitlements, and Regulatory Matters

  • Lead counsel representing clients including national homebuilders, real estate investment trusts, investors, and other landowners in obtaining development rights and entitlements from local governments, including comprehensive plan amendments, rezonings, variances, special uses, legal nonconforming designation, and other permits.
  • Lead counsel representing clients in pursuing development incentives, including ad valorem tax abatement and brownfields tax credits and jobs tax refunds.
  • Obtained a zoning modification on behalf of Piedmont Companies, a developer of Goodwill Industries projects across the country. The 212,000 square foot facility in Hillsborough County will serve a 10-county area, employing over 100 individuals with disabilities and special needs. It is Goodwill Industries-Suncoast, Inc.’s first "build to suit" distribution center in its central Florida territory and will be used as a model for future facilities.
  • Lead counsel assisting a large silvicultural landowner in investigation of alternative environmental income streams, including wetlands and species mitigation banks and carbon offset credits, and land use entitlements strategies, including the Sector Plan.
  • Lead counsel representing sporting lodge and hospitality operation in obtaining and modifying alcohol, tobacco, and firearms licenses from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco.
  • Lead counsel representing landowner in a Right-to-Farm Act matter, obtaining the first approval in decades from a local government environmental agency for the commercial harvesting of cypress timber.
  • Lead counsel representing clients in professional licensure and permitting disputes and disciplinary procedures, including the successful resolution, with no fine, penalty, or disciplinary action of Florida Board of Professional Engineers allegations of practicing without a license; and development and presentation of licensure strategies to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for private investigation, private security services, and concealed firearms carry.
  • Counseled industrial clients in compliance and reporting obligations under complex federal environmental regulations, including CERCLA, RCRA, EPCRA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
  • Participated in policymaking, including drafting an expedited port permitting bill passed by the Florida Legislature and drafting comments on proposed environmental regulations at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • As a Gubernatorial Fellow at the Department of Community Affairs, developed a model for presentation to the Legislature for converting the agency’s operations to a fee-based services model after studying operations.

Land Use, Environmental, and Property Rights Litigation Matters

  • Represented BTI, one of Florida’s leading real estate investors, land owners, developers and asset management firms, in land use and environmental issues related to the development of Westshore Marina District (formally New Port Tampa Bay). This is the second largest new development project in Tampa Bay today. Construction crews recently broke ground on this $600 million large-scale project and predict that it will be finished by 2020. It will rest on 55 acres of the Tampa Bay waterfront and will include 200+ marina slips, a hotel, retail shops, boat-up restaurants, a public esplanade connected to a 1.4-mile public park and 1,250 apartments and condos.
  • Lead counsel in resolving an annexation challenge and an administrative challenge to a comprehensive plan amendment for a coalition of developer clients with projects at risk due to a long-running dispute between Alachua County and the City of Gainesville. Successfully negotiated with the County and the City for a global settlement allowing clients to move forward with projects that had been stalled for over six months and which were at risk of being delayed for another year or more.
  • Testified before a Florida Senate Committee on the effects proposed legislation would have on a client’s subsurface property rights.
  • Assisted counsel of record defending oceanfront property rights before the U.S. Supreme Court in Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 130 S.Ct. 2592 (2010), a case of first impression considering the doctrine of judicial takings.
  • Authored amicus brief supporting the successful landowner before the U.S. Supreme Court in Koontz v. St Johns River Water Management District, 133 S.Ct. 420 (2013), a case that limited the government’s ability to exact concessions during the land development process.
  • Represented clients in obtaining nearly $10 million in settlements of private property rights claims against governmental entities, including takings and inverse condemnation claims, constitutional claims, Bert J. Harris, Jr. Private Property Protection Act claims, and Florida Land Use and Environmental Dispute Resolution Act proceedings.
  • Represented national gas-convenience company in obtaining dismissal of a comprehensive plan consistency challenge.
  • Lead counsel representing commercial agricultural operations in defense of agricultural tax classification (greenbelt), including an appellate case that confirmed in a case of first impression that even unusual agricultural uses must be allowed greenbelt classification.
  • Represented commercial timber harvester in successful negotiated reduction of penalties incurred in a code enforcement action.
  • Lead drafter of two successful appellate briefs defending against a challenge to an electrical utility’s rezoning of 2,000+ acres.
  • Represented mining company in defense of local government mining and land use permits.
  • Represented electrical utility in a citizen’s administrative suit seeking to invalidate water quality permits.
  • Successfully appealed a local government's refusal to process a planned development rezoning application because of unreasonable interpretation of its land development code.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Appointed by Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam to the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services’ Silviculture Best Management Practices Technical Advisory Committee
  • Hillsborough County Farm Bureau, Board of Directors, 2015
  • Tampa Bay Agency on Bay Management, Appointee
  • Leadership Tampa Bay Class of 2016
  • Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Gubernatorial Appointee
  • Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club
  • Connect Florida, Board of Governors
  • International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
  • Tampa Connection, Class of 2015
  • Florida Bar Environmental & Land Use Section, Executive Council and Co-Editor of the Reporter
  • Rhodes College Alumni Association Executive Board, 2011-2014
  • J. Clifford Cheatwood American Inn of Court
  • Florida Forestry Association, Communications and Steering Committees, 2012-present
  • Forest Landowners Association
  • American Planning Association
  • Southeastern Wood Producers Association
  • Ybor City Museum Society

Recognition

  • Chambers USA Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, Recognized Practitioner, 2018
  • Florida Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2013-2018
  • Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, “Up and Comer,” 2012-2016; 2017
  • Florida State University Alumni Association, 30 Under 30, 2014
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal, “Up and Comer,” 2013
  • Connect Florida, Class II, Leadership Florida
  • Florida Forestry Association, 40 Under 40 Young Leader, 2011
  • American Planning Association, Florida Chapter, Outstanding Student Urban Planner, 2009
  • Jeb Bush Outstanding Achievement Award, 2009
  • National Merit Scholar

Publications & Presentations

Events: Florida Chamber's Environmental Permitting Summer School
JW Marriott Marco Island|July 2018

Publications, Recent News Updates: What's Developing? | Spring 2018
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|June 2018

Publications, Recent News Updates: Important Land Development and Environmental Issues Following Florida's 2018 Legislative Session
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|April 2018

Events: Competent Substantial Evidence Before Local Government: Heated Discussion
Florida Bar Advanced Hot Topics 2018 Seminar|April 2018

Publications, Recent News Updates: Important Land Development and Environmental Issues Following Florida's 2018 Legislative Session
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|March 2018

Publications, Recent News Updates: What's Developing? | Winter 2018
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|March 2018

Publications, Recent News Updates: Opportunities for Permit Extensions Available - But Claiming Them Not Always Straightforward
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2018

Publications, Recent News Updates: A New, Narrower Take on the "Incidental Take" of Bird Species under the MBTA
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2018

Publications, Recent News Updates: What's Developing | Fall 2017
Stearns Weaver Miller Update|December 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: Florida Appellate Court Reverses Developer's $16.5 Million Award and Rules in Favor of County
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|December 2017

Events: Classic Takings and 2017 Cases
Eminent Domain Institute|October 2017

Events: Brownfields
Florida Association of Environmental Professionals|October 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: DOAH Recommended Order Clarifies ERP Public Interest Criteria
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update |October 2017

Events: 2017-2018 Brownfield Legislative & Technical Issues & Opportunities
Florida Brownfield Association |October 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: How Are Your Permits Affected by Hurricane Irma?
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|September 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: What's Developing | Summer 2017
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|September 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: Should You Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment?
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update |August 2017

Events: Property Rights 101
Florida Chamber's 31st Annual Environmental Permitting Summer |July 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: Landowners with Contiguous Parcels Should Heed Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update |July 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: Important Land Development and Environmental Issues Following Florida's 2017 Legislative Session
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|July 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: What's Developing | Spring 2017
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|May 2017

Events: Boundaries and Easements
HalfMoon Education, Inc.|April 2017

Events: History of Inverse Condemnation, Regulator Takings, and Exactions
Association of Eminent Domain Professionals|March 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: Florida Appellate Court Confirms that Even Unusual Agricultural Uses Must be Greenbelted
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|February 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: Opportunities to Reduce Mobility Fees and Monetize Impact Fee Credits as Hillsborough County's Mobility Fee Takes Effect
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2017

Publications, Recent News Updates: What's Developing | Winter 2017
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2017

Publications: A Tough Eight Years
Forest Landowners|October 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Florida's New Emergency Rule Requiring Public Notification of Pollution: What You Need to Know
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|October 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Executive Orders Present Opportunities to Extend the Duration of Qualified Development Permits Across Florida
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|October 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Amendment 4 Could Spur Solar Energy Investment and Development in the Sunshine State
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|August 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Golf Course Redevelopment Team Update: National and Florida Trends and Recent Local Government Regulatory Responses
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|July 2016

Events: Property Rights 101
Florida Chamber's 30th Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School|July 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Executive Orders Present Opportunities to Extend Development Permits in 36 Florida Counties
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|July 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: U.S. Supreme Court Gives Landowners the Right to Challenge Army Corps' Jurisdictional Determinations in Court
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|June 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Legal Issues Raised by Climate Change, Sea Level Rise, and Coastal Resilience
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|May 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Hillsborough County's Mobility Fee Ordinance Likely To Affect Existing, Ongoing, And Future Projects
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|April 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Important Recent Developments in the Federal Regulation of Wetlands
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|April 2016

Publications: The Uncertain Fundamentals of Federal Regulation of Wetlands
The Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the Florida Bar Reporter|March 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Hillsborough County Releases Draft Mobility Fee Ordinance Ahead of March 24 Commissioner Workshop
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|March 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Challenges in South Florida Coastal Permitting Projects Mount, with Statewide Implications
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|February 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Updates to Joint Coastal Permit Rules Provide Expedited Review And Longer Permit Duration
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2016

Publications, Recent News Updates: Hillsborough County's Mobility Fee Proposal to Affect Ongoing Projects and Development Agreements
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|December 2015

Publications, Recent News Updates: New Mobility Fees on the Horizon in Hillsborough County
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|November 2015

Publications: How Does WOTUS Affect Your Clients’ Wetlands?
Hillsborough County Lawyer Magazine |November 2015

Publications: What Does WOTUS Mean for the Timber Industry?
Southeastern Wood Producer’s Association Quarterly Magazine|November 2015

Publications, Recent News Updates: Governor's Executive Orders Present Opportunities To Extend Expiration Of Development Permits
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|September 2015

Events: The Planner as a Social Entrepreneur
Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association|September 2015

Publications, Recent News Updates: EPA and Army Corps Release New Clean Water Act Rule Interpreting and Expanding Jurisdiction
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|August 2015

Publications: Florida’s Land Use Protections for Agricultural Operations
In the Field Magazine|January 2015

Publications: The Peculiarities of Agricultural Law in Florida
Hillsborough County Lawyer Magazine|November 2013

Events: Koontz v. SJRWMD: Implications for Florida Environmental, Land Use, and Real Property Lawyers & Their Clients
Hillsborough County Bar Association, Environmental & Land Use Section|October 2013

Events: Where Do Property Rights Fit into Sustainability?
Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association|September 2013

Events: Florida Bar Environmental & Land Use Section Annual Update
Florida Bar Environmental & Land Use Section Annual Update|August 2013

Events: Ethics for Environmental & Sustainability Reporting
Florida Bar Environmental & Land Use Section Annual Update|August 2013

Events: 2013 Environmental & Land Use Update
Hillsborough County Bar Environmental & Land Use Section|April 2013

Events: The Forest Roads Litigation
Alabama Forestry Association|March 2013

Publications: Property Rights Legal Update
Southeastern Wood Producer’s Association Quarterly Magazine|February 2013

Publications: Florida Once Again on the Forefront of Takings Law
Hillsborough County Lawyer Magazine|January 2013

Publications: Attorney’s Fees
Florida Environmental & Land Use Law Treatise|January 2013

Events: Land Use, Development, & Economic Growth
Leadership Florida Class XXXI, |November 2012

Events: Agricultural Law & Policy in Florida
Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association|September 2012

Publications: Will the Silvicultural Exemption Survive?
ABA Forest Resources Committee Newsletter|June 2012

Events: Forest Lands Legal Update
National Conference of Private Forest Landowners, Forest Landowners Association|May 2012

Events: Landowner, Forestry, & Logging Legislative Update
Southeastern Wood Producer’s Association|April 2012

Publications: Applying Old Methods to New Values: Considerations for Green Leases
American Bar Association Smart Growth & Green Buildings Committee Newsletter|January 2012

Publications: Administrative and Judicial Review of Land Use Decisions
Florida Environmental & Land Use Law Treatise|January 2012

Publications: Smart Growth Developments
ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ Year in Review|January 2012

Events: Environmental and Land Use Considerations for Real Estate Transactions
Florida Bar CLE Co-Chair|January 2012

Events: Growth Management in Florida: Past, Present, & Future
FSU College of Law Environmental Seminar|February 2011

Events: Introduction to Legal Process
Tallahassee Community College Paralegal Course, Guest Lecturer|February 2011

Events: Green Leases in Florida
FSU College of Law Real Estate Law Society|February 2011

Publications: Florida Case Law Update
Florida Bar Environmental and Land Use Section Reporter|January 2011

Publications: Groundwater Quality Protection: An Overview
Florida Environmental & Land Use Law Treatise|January 2011

Publications: EPCRA: Federal Environmental Reporting 101
ABA Young Lawyers’ Division, 101 Practice Series|January 2011

Publications: Fighting the Lure of the Infinite: Lease Conservation Easements at the Urban Fringe
Environmental Law Reporter|December 2010

Publications: The Florida Land Environment
Blog reviewing recent legal developments of interest to Florida landowners|June 2010

Publications: Integrating Growth Management & Ecosystem Services to Conserve Agriculture
Environmental Law Reporter|February 2009

Publications: The Reprise of Biofuels: Breaking Down the Barriers
Florida State University Business Review|February 2009

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Newsroom

Firm Announcements: Stearns Weaver Miller Names Three New Shareholders
September 2017

In the Media: States Ask Federal Appeals Court to Reconsider Endangered Species Act Ruling
Forest Landowners Association Newsletter|August 2016

In the Media: Hillsborough OKs developers' fees for transportation improvements
The Tampa Tribune|April 2016

Firm Announcements: New Faces at our Tampa Office
August 2015

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