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David M. Smith, who is not a lawyer, serves as an in-house consultant in the Land Use, Environment & Government Affairs Department. Mr. Smith's background is in permitting, planning, development, growth management and governmental regulation. He came to the firm in 1990 from the Hillsborough County Government, where he worked for fourteen and a half years in community development, planning, zoning, and permitting.

He received his undergraduate degree from Furman University and his MBA from the University of South Florida. Mr. Smith's role at the Firm is that of in-house consultant regarding planning, zoning, permitting, and governmental regulation. His involvement spans all practice areas of the Firm ranging from litigation to transaction. Mr. Smith has also been involved extensively in comprehensive planning, rezoning and land use, as well as eminent domain takings and property rights issues ranging from road widening and school sites to height restrictions. His expertise and knowledge of zoning, planning, development, and permitting provide the Firm with an in-house capability to conduct real estate due diligence, address code enforcement, zoning and development issues, expedite permitting and to assess takings and property rights issues. Mr. Smith provides in-house capability to not only identify key issues but to effectively deal with land use and permitting issues directly or as needed, assemble and coordinate a team of experts to address issues and process a case through the system to conclusion.

Representative Experience

  • 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.
  • Negotiated development agreement and zoned 26 acre Housing Authority property for redevelopment into 1,500 units, 180,000 s.f. office, hotel and 85,000 s.f. of retail.
  • Obtained zoning approval for mixed use residential property in Hillsborough County for 2,200 units.
  • Performed due diligence on Florida properties in association with multi-state portfolio purchase.
  • Obtained zoning for the first residential tower on the west coast of Florida exceeding fifty stories.
  • Coordination of due diligence on numerous hotel and residential project acquisitions and dispositions.
  • Appear before local government and regional planning councils as developer applicant representative seeking residential, commercial and mixed use development approvals.
  • Represent developers and investors in acquisition, zoning and development of commercial, hotel, residential and mixed use projects
  • Represent developers and operators in permitting, code compliance and enforcement matters.
  • Represent land owners and developers in annexations and comprehensive plan amendments.
  • Represent developers in the Development of Regional Impact process.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Planning Association, Member
  • Tampa Bay Builder’s Association (TBBA), Member
  • REIC – Real Estate Investment Council Tampa Bay, Member


  • Past Chair, Governmental Affairs Committee TBBA

Publications & Presentations

Publications, Recent News Updates: What's Developing | Spring 2019
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|April 2019

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: Golf Course Redevelopment Team Update: National and Florida Trends and Recent Local Government Regulatory Responses
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|July 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: Hillsborough County Releases Draft Mobility Fee Ordinance Ahead of March 24 Commissioner Workshop
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|March 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

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