Howard E. Nelson

Area of Focus: Environmental
“Extremely responsive, comes up with creative problem-solving ideas and has great relationships with the regulatory entities, which is critical in the field we work in.” - Chambers USA
Howard has more than 25 years of experience in environmental law and land development. He represents clients throughout all phases of the development process from site location through permitting and construction, as well as in permit appeals and defense of environmental enforcement matters.

Howard represents several national homebuilders throughout Florida and the eastern United States in pre-acquisition site analysis and post-acquisition remediation. He works closely with a network of environmental professionals, including engineers and planners. He also represents a variety of other types of businesses in contamination assessment and remediation.
Howard has extensive experience representing clients in complex wetland matters, including issues related to protected and sensitive wetlands, preservation efforts and enforcement defense. 
Q & A
What sets Bilzin Sumberg's environmental practice apart from its competitors?

We really understand the science behind many decisions being made — from chemistry and hydrology to contamination and wetland viability. Everyone on our team has some background in engineering, planning, or science.

How does your background help you in practice today?
Prior to entering private practice, I served as a regional planner for both the South Florida Planning Council and the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. I was also a senior planner for a major South Florida engineering firm. That experience is especially beneficial when I am assisting property owners in navigating the maze of local, state, and federal permitting.
Representation of homebuilder in environmental due diligence related to its $150 million purchase of a Florida development site. We handled environmental permitting issues related to the development of the site, a large portion of which was formerly used for agricultural purposes.
Representation of Priderock Capital Partners in the $28 million acquisition of Exhale Boca Living, a failed condominium conversion project in Boca Raton, Florida. Our team assisted Priderock in its acquisition of the four-building, partially-renovated complex. The prior developer sold 25 of the 200+ units and then abandoned all work after the market downturn, leaving the complex in disarray and the 25 unit owners extremely angry. The Florida Attorney General filed suit against the prior developer, who in turn sued the City, and the developer's mortgage lender was preparing to foreclose. We worked with Priderock in (i) documenting a joint venture agreement with a Philadelphia group to acquire the development, (ii) acquiring both the unsold inventory and the 25 previously sold units, (iii) negotiating with the City to reissue the building permits, and (iv) closing on an acquisition and construction loan with a large institutional lender. Our team persuaded the City of Boca Raton to re-entitle the project for its intended purpose after development approvals and permits had lapsed, and advised Priderock on the permitting and reconstruction of the stormwater management system, as well as other water quality issues on site.
  • Nova Southeastern University, J.D., 1991
    University of Florida, M.A., Urban and Regional Planning, 1985
    University of Florida, B.A., 1980
  • Broward County Parks Advisory Board
    Vice Chair
    Broward County Parks Foundation
    Builders Association of South Florida
    Environmental Subcommittee Co-Chair
    Gator Boosters
    Florida Brownfields Association
    1998 - 2005
    Florida Department of Environmental Protection
    Contaminated Media Forum, 2013 - Present
    Law360 Editorial Advisory Board
    Environmental Issues, 2017
    Leadership Florida
    Class XXXI
    National Association for Industrial and Office Parks
  • Florida
  • Band 1, Chambers USA, Environment, 2007 - present

    The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, Litigation - Environmental, 2012 - present

    Daily Business Review, Top Dealmakers of the Year - Office finalist, 2014

    University of Florida Urban and Regional Planning Distinguished Alumni, 2013

    Florida Super Lawyers, 2006 - 2009, 2012 - present

    Florida Trend's Legal Elite, 2013

    Daily Business Review, Finalist, Most Effective Lawyers, Environmental Law - 2006, Real Estate - 2010

    Martindale-Hubbell™, Top Rated Lawyer in Land Use & Zoning, 2013

    AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell

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