Stearns Weaver Miller Expands Statewide Land Development, Zoning & Environmental Practice with Five New Additions

TALLAHASSEE, FL – September 1, 2021 – Stearns Weaver Miller announced that the Firm is expanding its statewide Land Development, Zoning & Environmental practice. Shareholder Vinette D. Godelia has joined the Firm’s Tampa office and Shareholders Amelia A. Savage and Susan L. Stephens and Associates Felicia L. Kitzmiller and Erin J. Tilton have joined the Firm’s Tallahassee Office. All five additions come from Hopping Green & Sams.

“Since we formed our statewide Land Development, Zoning & Environmental group seven years ago, we have strategically hired attorneys and professionals that would elevate the range and quality of services that we are able to provide throughout Florida,” said Reggie Bouthillier, Shareholder and Chair of the group. “Our 37-person collaborative group is already recognized as a top provider in the industry. The addition of such a preeminent, well-known and respected team further solidifies the firm as the premier, go-to group for all land development, zoning and environmental issues in the state. Their knowledge and deep experience will be a valuable resource as we continue to partner with clients on transformative projects from Florida’s panhandle to the keys and beyond.”

Vinette D. Godelia represents private and public sector clients before local, regional and state agencies, courts and elected bodies regarding land use and real estate development issues. She focuses her practice on the defense and negotiation of complex approvals under Florida’s growth management laws and local government regulations. Vinette counsels clients in a wide range of matters involving entitlements, permitting, compliance, licensing, rezonings, special districts, Development of Regional Impact (DRIs) review and rescission, comprehensive planning, zoning and strategic planning as well as development agreements. She is also experienced in challenging, securing and defending development entitlements in formal hearings before the Division of Administrative Hearings and circuit and appellate courts.

Amelia A. Savage focuses primarily on Environmental & Natural Resources law, ranging from mining operations to single-family docks, to energy facilities, to wetland mitigation banks, to large scale developments, to water supply, matters and beyond. Amelia helps clients obtain regulatory environmental permits from federal, state and local agencies, including consulting with supporting agencies on wildlife issues. She assists clients and agencies on issues related to threatened and endangered species as well as participates in rulemaking regarding imperiled species and other environmental rules. Amelia also represents clients in obtaining proprietary authorizations to use lands owned by the state of Florida, both with regards to upland and submerged land parcels. She is highly skilled in defending environmental permits from challenges before federal and state courts as well as the Division of Administrative Hearings.

Susan L. Stephens is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in State & Federal Government & Administrative Practice. She has over 25 years of experience practicing environmental & natural resource and administrative law, including rulemaking practice and procedure and administrative litigation. Susan represents clients before various federal, state, regional, and local environmental agencies in connection with the obtainment, interpretation, compliance and enforcement of environmental permits for regulated industrial, commercial, and development activities. This representation includes matters related to resource extraction, wetlands and mitigation banks, agritourism, wastewater, submerged lands, and state and federal listed wildlife. Susan has extensive experience assisting in the development of Florida’s major environmental policy and regulatory initiatives and is skilled in defending state and federal environmental permits against both administrative and judicial challenges.

Felicia Kitzmiller focuses on all aspects of environmental law, including mitigation banking, permitting, easements, imperiled species compliance and more. She also has particular experience in title analysis and assists clients in resolving multi-faceted issues through the administrative process, litigation or legislation.

Erin Tilton represents private and public sector clients before local, regional and state agencies, courts and elected bodies on environmental, real estate development and land use matters. She has experience advising clients on a wide range of complex land use permitting and entitlement issues, including comprehensive plans and amendments, rezonings, variances, concurrency and development agreements, Development of Regional Impact (DRIs) review and rescission and other related aspects of securing development authorization. She is skilled in developing and implementing litigation strategy as it relates to obtaining, challenging and defending development approvals.

Stearns Weaver Miller’s Land Development, Zoning & Environmental consists of 30 attorneys, three planners, two real estate analysts, a geographic information system (GIS) analyst and Government Affairs capabilities. More information on the team, including about their robust suite of unique in-house consultants and resources, their high-level experience with major local governments and regional and state agencies, and their leadership roles with various key professional industry organizations, can be found here.