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Get to Know Land Use & Governmental Attorney Thomas J. Baird

Thomas J. Baird, Land Use & Governmental Practice Group Co-Chair, is a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in City, County, and Local Government Law, and is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners as a land use planner.

We sat down with Tom to get a little more information about his background and his practice here at Jones Foster.  

How do you describe your practice to non-attorneys? 

A large part of my practice involves the representation of municipalities and other governmental entities.  I currently serve as the Town Attorney for Jupiter and Lake Park and as General Counsel to their Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA) and Palm Beach County’s Westgate/Belvedere Homes CRA, and I am the Special Magistrate for the municipalities of North Palm Beach and Stuart. 
 
As a result, I routinely work with the staff of these municipalities and agencies, advising them on a variety of legal issues, including employment law issues and the enforcement of laws by police and code enforcement officers. Much of my work for my municipalities is assisting their planning and zoning departments in managing new development, or the redevelopment of areas. I am responsible for creating the laws that elected officials deem appropriate, and for defending my municipal clients when lawsuits are filed against them. 

My practice also involves the representation of private clients, typically individuals or corporate property owners and developers who seek to develop or redevelop properties. I assist them with permitting or code enforcement legal issues with cities or counties, which may involve processing various applications such as site plans, and/or permits to secure development approvals. In addition, I regularly represent clients who have violated zoning or other development codes, and in those cases, I am responsible for appealing to, and negotiating with, government officials to minimize the fines that my clients may be facing.
 
Finally, typical litigation matters that I handle involve comprehensive planning cases, zoning appeals or disputes, eminent domain, property rights disputes, and constitutional takings.

Click here for the full Q&A: 
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About Jones Foster
Jones Foster is a commercial and private client law firm headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida. Established in 1924, the Firm has served as an integral part of South Florida’s growth and prosperity for nearly a century. Through a relentless pursuit of excellence, Jones Foster delivers original legal solutions that help clients, colleagues, and the community to move forward. The Firm’s attorneys focus their practice in Real Estate, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Private Client Services, Corporate & Tax, and Land Use & Governmental. For more information, please visit www.jonesfoster.com.

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