St. Augustine, Beach and Ponte Vedra Development and Land Use Attorney/Lawyer

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No other law firm in the St. Augustine area has more experience or knowledge representing clients with land use and zoning matters.

St. Johns Law Group’s land use attorneys have extensive experience with land development and obtaining entitlements, permits and approvals.  Led by Douglas Burnett and James Whitehouse, our attorneys regularly help clients with due diligence investigation, contract evaluation, permitting, zoning, planned unit development (PUD), planned rural development (PRD), zoning variance, non-zoning variance, special use, conditional use, architectural review, construction plan approval, development review and often continue that representation through project completion.  We understand the local government process and work daily with clients on matters before the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, City Commission of the City of St. Augustine and many other governing bodies in the Northeast Florida area.  Whether the Planning and Zoning Agency/Board, Historical Architectural Review Board, Architectural Review Committee, Ponte Vedra/Palm Valley Overlay Districts, Ponte Vedra Zoning & Adjustment Board, Mid-Anastasia Design Review Board, South Anastasia Design Review Board, North Coastal Corridor Overlay District Design Review Board or any other extension of local government, we have the knowledge and experience to guide clients through the process.

Whitehouse_websiteWhen necessary, our attorneys can also litigate (appeals or petitions for certiorari) local government denials of land use applications.  We have also assisted clients in invoking the alternative dispute resolution process provided for under Florida law, including the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act.

Doug Burnett was an Assistant County Attorney in St. Augustine and served as the City Attorney for the City of St. Augustine Beach for seven years after forming St. Johns Law Group.  Mr. Burnett serves as General Counsel for the St. Augustine – St. Johns County Airport Authority, which position he has held for more than 10 years.  Complimenting his experience, James Whitehouse was Deputy County Attorney and spent several years as Assistant City Attorney for Historic St. Augustine.  Mr. Whitehouse is also Board Certified in City, County, and Local Government Law.  As a result, Mr. Burnett and Mr. Whitehouse are intimately familiar with the inner-workings of local St. Johns County government and they stay up-to-date on the latest trends and case law.

Due to the inherently political nature of land use work, the firm has expanded its representation of clients on sensitive development projects to also include representation of clients on government contracts and requests for proposals.


  • Developments of Regional Impact (DRI)
  • Planned Unit Developments (PUD)
  • Planned Rural Developments (PRD)
  • Zoning and Rezonings
  • Special Use Permits
  • Conditional Use Permits
  • Comprehensive Plan Amendments
  • Transportation Concurrency
  • School Concurrency
  • Development Agreements
  • Proportionate Fair Share Agreements
  • Utility Agreements
  • Impact Fee Credit Agreements
  • Appeals of Land Use Denials

St. Johns Law Group’s attorneys have been instrumental in obtaining approval for many of the Concurrency Agreements and Development Agreements approved in St. Johns County, including agreements that creatively overcame challenges and set new precedent. We understand traffic and school concurrency issues and have extensive experience drafting and negotiating proportionate fair share agreements.