He does an excellent job of representing his clients.
- Chambers USA 2020
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. He excels in complicated matters requiring both environmental and land use permitting, including brownfield designations, urban redevelopment, and master-planned communities. 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.
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. Because of this personal experience, Jake routinely assists large agricultural landowners in defense of their greenbelt classifications and in asserting Right-to-Farm Act challenges to government overreach. He also assists them with long-term strategic planning for development entitlements and unlocking alternative income streams, including the use of wetland mitigation banks and conservation easements.
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. This experience allows Jake to advise clients whether permitting, litigation, or lobbying is the best approach for their needs.
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.
- Represents master developer in land use and permitting issues related to the Westshore Marina District, the second largest new development project in Tampa Bay today. This $600 million large-scale project consists of 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 representing clients in pursuing development incentives, including ad valorem tax abatement and brownfields tax credits and jobs tax refunds, including representing the developer of a dual-flag hotel adjacent to City Hall in downtown Tampa in the purchase of the site from the City of Tampa, and partnering with the City to rehabilitate the site prior to redevelopment and obtain a cleanup grant from FDEP for $1 million.
- Represented an affordable housing developer in obtaining a brownfield area designation for an affordable housing project in the City of Tallahassee during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team coordinated an in-person and virtual community meeting that included a team of consultants and members of the public as well as two virtual public hearings to obtain the brownfield area designation. The designation allowed the developer to take advantage of both state environmental clean-up programs and financial incentives.
- 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.
- Secured numerous environmental and land use permits and entitlements before local, state, and federal governmental entities.
- 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 changes to Florida’s impact fee statutes and 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
- Lead counsel in successfully protecting agricultural client’s right to continue operations using the Right to Farm Act and the Florida Agricultural Lands and Practices Act following attempts of both local government and neighbors to force closure.
- Successfully used the Florida Land Use and Dispute Resolution Act to resolve contentious property rights case, including a resolution following a rezoning denial that would have resulted in the closing of one of the country’s largest trapshooting ranges and gun clubs.
- 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 and convenience chain 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
- Florida Brownfields Association, Advisory Board Member, Present
- The Junior League of Tampa, Community Advisory Board, 2019-Present
- Association of Florida Community Developers, 2015-Present
- Tampa Bay Builders Association, 2015-Present
- Florida State University College of Law, “Legislation and Regulation,” Adjunct Professor
- 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 Regional Planning Council, Gubernatorial Appointee
- Tampa Bay Agency on Bay Management, Appointee
- Leadership Tampa Bay Class of 2016
- Tampa Connection, Class of 2015
- Connect Florida, Board of Governors
- 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, Government Affairs Committee
- Forest Landowners Association
- Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club
- Ybor City Museum Society
- Chambers USA, Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, 2018-2020
- Florida Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2013-2020
- Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, “Up and Comer,” 2012-2017
- 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
Sea Level Rise in Tampa: How Do We Collaborate on Land Use Decisions to Plan Ahead?
Café con Tampa Meeting|February 2021
Tampa Bay Local Governments Forge Ahead in Limiting Property Rights with Burdensome Land Development Moratoria
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update |February 2021
Following Hillsborough County, City of Tampa to Consider Development Moratorium on February 4, 2021
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update |February 2021
What's Developing | Winter 2020-2021
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|January 2021
Sea Level Rise in Tampa: A Policy Approach
City of Tampa City Planning Webinar|January 2021
Land Development News Update, Publications:
EPA Approves Florida's Assumption of the Clean Water Act's Section 404 Permitting
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update |December 2020
Florida Land Use and Environmental Law
24th Annual Florida Eminent Domain Conference|November 2020
Land Development News Update, Publications:
City of Tampa Holds Important Workshop on Changes in Land Use and Development Policies
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|November 2020
Stearns Weaver Miller Lawyers Recognized in 2020 Florida Super Lawyers
24 Stearns Weaver Miller Lawyers in 12 Practice Areas Ranked In Chambers USA 2020
Stearns Weaver Miller Lawyers Recognized in Florida Super Lawyers 2019
21 Stearns Weaver Miller Attorneys, 10 Practice Areas Ranked in Chambers USA 2019
Jacob T. Cremer Appointed to Florida Brownfields Association Board of Directors
Stearns Weaver Miller Lawyers Recognized in Florida Super Lawyers 2018
23 Stearns Weaver Miller Lawyers in 10 Practice Areas Ranked In Chambers USA 2018
Stearns Weaver Miller Names Three New Shareholders