Florida Real Estate Development Environmental Considerations

Much of Florida’s distinctive beauty lies in the splendor of its natural features, particularly its coastlines. This natural beauty has traditionally been one of Florida’s major appeals for both tourists and residents. To protect these unique natural attributes for future generations, the government has enacted laws to regulate activities which may potentially pollute or destroy environmentally sensitive lands, waters, wetlands and wildlife.

Environmental and Wetland Permitting

Florida’s proximity to the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico is one of its many wonderful qualities, but developing real estate in a wetland area requires specific knowledge.

The complex nature of Florida real estate development eliminates the option of simplicity in permitting. Instead, developers must be aware of the specific details of each aspect of land use. Florida real estate developments may require coastal construction permits, marina permits or wetland permits. Related legal barricades can include the use of state-owned submerged lands, dredging and filling, construction and riparian rights issues, the permitting of industrial discharges, and the defense of unauthorized mangrove trimming.

The goal of these permit requirements is to ensure that the natural beauty of our Florida coastline is preserved and protected – something close to the hearts of many Floridians, including the real estate attorneys at Icard Merrill.

Regulatory Compliance and Due Diligence

When a Florida land developer obtains one of the above-listed permits, the developer is then bound by that permit to operate within all specified regulations.

A wetland resource permit, for example, carries with is stringent requirements regarding the protection of the public interest through:

  • Ensuring the preservation of water quality

  • Protecting area wildlife

  • Retaining historical landmarks or areas of value to archeological study

  • Preserving the existing recreational aspects of the development area

These are just a few examples. The development of waterfront, wetlands and inland property in Florida carries with it an intricate set of stipulations, unique to each Florida real estate development.

Florida Real Estate Litigation

In an ideal world, a Florida real estate attorney’s job would be as simple as assisting developers in obtaining the appropriate permits. However, the unforeseen can and does occur during the process of developing land in this uniquely beautiful state. In these cases, developers may find themselves having to mount a legal defense.

Litigation in Florida real estate cases is far from a simple matter. In most cases, only an attorney with extensive knowledge of every facet of Florida’s land use laws can operate effectively in these matters.

Icard Merrill’s environmental law group is staffed by attorneys with the particular training and the extensive experience to handle the wide range of environmental issues arising from Florida’s regulations. We provide representation throughout the state of Florida to a wide and varied range of clients, including businesses, developers, governmental entities and individuals, addressing all legal issues related to environmental permitting, regulatory compliance, due diligence and litigation.

Our real estate and land use attorneys regularly represent clients before state and federal regulatory agencies, local governments and state and federal courts. They routinely appear before the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, the Department of Community Affairs, Regional Planning Councils, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and most local governments along the southwest coast of Florida.

Whether you are in the planning stages of your real estate development or building a defense for a regulatory compliance case, an Icard Merrill real estate and land use attorney can provide skilled, qualified representation.