Virtual Hearings: Statewide Best Practices for Local Government Land Use Hearings | 1 Law CM

On Demand Event #9200088 |  1 Law CM  |  Expires May 13, 2021


Statewide stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have forced local governments to move to virtual and remote meetings, including quasi-judicial land use and zoning hearings.  This new way of operating raises many challenges as well as opportunities.  This program brings together (virtually) land use practitioners and local government attorneys from across Florida to discuss the best practices and potential pitfalls of virtual local government meetings and quasi-judicial land use hearings. 

This session addresses the AICP Core Competencies of Planning Law and Public Participation. Through this session, participants will learn: 

  1. When quasi judicial hearings are required and required elements of these proceedings;
  2. How recent changes via Executive Order 20-69 have impacted these proceedings; 
  3. Florida's Sunshine Law issues; and
  4. Best practices for conducting virtual quasi judicial hearings. 

Janette Smith

Janette Smith has been practicing law in the public sector since 2007. Prior to pursuing her legal career, Janette spent over a decade working in information technology at prominent companies such as United Parcel Service and Nova Southeastern University. Janette earned a Bachelor of Science, Master’s in Business Administration and Juris Doctorate from NSU and she is the proud recipient of the Shepard Broad Law School Technology Scholarship for her work in strategic planning, technology implementation and governance. She is passionate about utilizing technology to work smarter through creating efficiencies. For over a decade, Janette has served the public through various government positions at the city, county, and state level where she provided legal counsel while also improving technology services to enhance the inter-connectivity of government. Janette has held senior level positions such as City Clerk, Chief Information Officer, Assistant State Attorney, Assistant County Attorney and Assistant General School Board Counsel. In 2018, she began practicing as a solo law firm providing consulting services to local government, non-profit entities and assisting law firms in streamlining technology. She currently serves as the City Attorney for the City of Margate, Florida. Janette also understands the importance of volunteering and giving back to the legal profession and the community. She currently serves on multiple state and local boards, including City, County and Local Government Section Executive Council and Legislative Chair, Florida Bar Commission on Technology, Government and Public Policy Advocacy and several committees with the Broward County Bar Association.

Robert K. Lincoln

Robert K. Lincoln concentrates his practice in the areas of land use law and local government litigation. He is one of 291 attorneys (in 2020) certified by the Florida Bar in City, County and Local Government Law. Prior to opening the Firm, Mr. Lincoln spent almost a decade leading the land use litigation practice in one of the area's largest law firms. He provides trial and appellate court representation and consultation services to public and private clients in state, federal and administrative litigation matters. Mr. Lincoln’s litigation experience, academic scholarship, and planning background distinctively serve to comprehensively protect the long-range interests of the clients he represents in obtaining zoning, planning and development regulatory approvals involving the most complex land use and local government matters. Mr. Lincoln earned his law degree with High Honors (Order of the Coif) and his Master of Science in Planning from Florida State University, where he received numerous academic awards and honors. He is a former Assistant Professor of Planning at Michigan State University and the author of Florida’s first land use blog, numerous published articles, and a frequent lecturer on land use and development issues, policy and related litigation. Mr. Lincoln is active in the Sarasota community as an award winning pro bono attorney and avid supporter of higher education. He previously served as the Treasurer and Finance Chair of the New College Foundation Board of Directors, and served on the boards of the New College Alumni Association and then the New College Foundation between 1997 and 2019. Mr. Lincoln is the Co-Chair of CLE International's annual Florida Land Use Law Conference, a past Chair of the Sarasota County Bar Association Local Government Law Section, and a frequent author and speaker on land use issues. He is a graduate of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program Class of 2012 and the firm has a strong commitment to public service for JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research.

Victoria Mendez

Ms. Méndez is the City Attorney for the City of Miami, FL. She is Board Certified in City, County and Local Government Law by The Florida Bar. She joined the Office of the City Attorney in 2004 as the municipal prosecutor. She rose up the ranks as a Supervisor and then Deputy City Attorney. She primarily focused her practice in the areas of land use, zoning, platting, building, code enforcement, eminent domain, utilities, elections, and related litigation. Ms. Méndez was also the Recruitment & Internship Coordinator for the Office for several years. Prior to joining the Office, Ms. Méndez was a Prosecutor with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office for over three years. She prosecuted misdemeanors to life felonies. Ms. Méndez is an American Bar Foundation and Florida Bar Foundation Fellow. She is a Trustee for the Miami-Dade County Law Library. Ms. Méndez is a member of The Florida Bar City, County and Local Government Section's Executive Council and serves on the Miami-Dade County League of Cities Attorneys' Council. She is the Government Relations Co-Chair for the Dade County Bar Association and a founding committee member of The Florida Bar Leadership Academy. Ms. Méndez is a Past President of the Cuban American Bar Foundation and a Past President of the Cuban American Bar Association, the largest minority voluntary bar association in Florida. She is also a former Board Member of the League of Prosecutors and the CABA ProBono Project. Ms. Méndez is also a past CABA Delegate to The Florida Bar in 2011 and to the American Bar Association in 2013. She has been named a Top Government Attorney in Florida Trend's Legal Elite every year since 2008 and in South Florida Legal Guide 2010 through 2012. She has been named one of the Daily Business Review's Top 20 South Florida Women for Legal Achievement, recognized by the University of Miami as a Distinguished Alumni, named an Achiever and listed in the Book of Leader's by Miami Today, and named to Leadership Florida Class XXXV. Ms. Méndez graduated from the University of Miami School of Law and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Miami. She also graduated from the University of Miami as an English and Political Science Double Major with General Honors. Ms. Méndez enjoys municipal law and being a public servant. She has published in the areas of utilities and procurement law and speaks regularly on municipal law.

Patrick Krechowski

Patrick W. Krechowski, with Balch & Bingham LLP, has over 20 years of experience in real estate, land use, environmental, governmental, administrative litigation, appeals and title insurance law. Patrick is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in City, County and Local Government Law. His practice focuses on all aspects of zoning and land use law, real estate due diligence, environmental permitting (including sovereign submerged lands and riparian rights), environmental remediation, water use permitting and planning, beach nourishment projects, coastal construction and due diligence before local governments and federal/state agencies, including associated administrative and civil litigation. Patrick has represented various state agency boards and local governments, including serving as the City Attorney for Neptune Beach, Florida. This experience not only allows him to assist local governments with virtually any aspect of their operations, it also gives Patrick a unique insight into how best to navigate challenges that his private clients often encounter in seeking local and state approvals for their real estate projects. Patrick has extensive public speaking and teaching experience and is a published contributing author to a book focused on international climate change.

Erin Tilton

Erin Tilton is an attorney at Hopping, Green & Sams, where she represents clients before courts, state agencies, and elected bodies on land use and real estate development issues. Her practice focuses on a wide array of permitting and entitlement issues, including comprehensive plan amendments, rezonings, variances, and other related aspects of securing development authorization. She also represents clients in a variety of litigation matters, including private property rights, complex real estate, and contract disputes. Since 2017, she has been listed in the annual Florida Super Lawyers publication as a “Rising Star” in environmental litigation and land use/zoning. She is an active member of the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section’s Development and Land Use Committee and has served as a guest lecturer at Florida State University in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

Nikki Day

Nikki C. Day is a shareholder and practice group leader at Bryant Miller Olive P.A., where her primary practice includes representing city, county, and state governmental entities in all manner of legal matters, including complex litigation. Ms. Day serves as City Attorney for the City of Safety Harbor, Assistant City Attorney for the City of Largo, and as special counsel to local governments across the state. She is board certified by The Florida Bar in City, County & Local Government Law, and has been named among the “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend Magazine, the “Super Lawyers” by Thompson Reuters, and the “Top 40 Under 40” by the Florida Business Observer. Prior to joining BMO, Ms. Day worked in finance for Global Spectrum, an event facility management company, and as an accountant for a C.P.A. firm in St. Petersburg. A Florida native, Ms. Day earned her law degree from Stetson University School of Law in 2009, cum laude. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, cum laude, from the University of Central Florida in 2006.

Robert Volpe

Robert Volpe is an attorney at the law firm of Hopping, Green & Sams, where he represents property owners and developers on land use and real estate development issues. His practice focuses on disputes involving private property rights, infrastructure siting, complex real estate transactions, comprehensive planning, zoning, and planned and large-scale developments. Robert also serves as chair of the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission and Local Planning Agency.