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Howard E. Nelson

Partner, Head of Environmental Practice
Area of Focus: Environmental
“Howard Nelson is the best environmental lawyer in Florida. He is a real pro.” - Chambers USA source
Howard E. Nelson
Partner, Head of Environmental Practice
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.
Represent a subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries with respect to the redevelopment of a 550-acre former construction and demolition debris landfill in North Miami-Dade County for use as an office and industrial park. Counsel to client on obtaining an environmental variance for the creation of...
Representation of a national homebuilder in an appeal of jurisdictional determination issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with respect to property located in South Florida. Advised on the creation and preservation of a jurisdictional record prior to development of the property and for the pro...
Representation of real estate developer with regard to the environmental investigation and remediation of the Boca Raton Municipal Golf Course, one of the largest remaining municipally owned golf courses in Florida, as part of its redevelopment. Advice on the scope of the assessment, review of all d...
Real estate and environmental counsel to Florida East Coast Industries, a commercial real estate, transportation, and infrastructure holding company, in connection with the conveyance of an abandoned railroad corridor to Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami for the development of a six-mile linea...
Representation of homebuilder in redevelopment of the former Calusa golf course in Kendall, a suburban area of Miami. The firmsuccessfully secured the release of a restrictive covenant imposed by the County several decades ago which limited the 168-acre property to golf course use for a period of 99...
Representation of client in site assessment, remediation plans and permitting to allow for development within the contaminant plume of a landfill located in Pompano Beach, FL. The project involves the development of a gas compressor station and 3,100 feet of associated pipeline for delivery of press...
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+...
  • 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
    Florida Brownfields Association
    1998 - 2005
    Florida Department of Environmental Protection
    Contaminated Media Forum, 2013 - Present
    Gator Boosters
    Law360 Editorial Advisory Board
    Environmental Issues, 2017
    Leadership Florida
    Class XXXI
    National Association for Industrial and Office Parks
    University of Florida Bergstrom Real Estate Center

    Advisory Board Member, 2017 - 2018

    University of Florida Department of Urban and Regional Planning
    Advisory Council Chair
  • Florida
  • Band 1, Chambers USA, Environmental, 2007 - present

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

    Florida Super Lawyers, 2006 - 2009, 2012 - present

    Daily Business Review, Florida Trailblazers, 2019

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

     Florida Trend's Legal Elite, 2013

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

    University of Florida Urban and Regional Planning Distinguished Alumni, 2013

    Daily Business Review, Finalist, Most Effective Lawyers, Environmental Law - 2006, Real Estate - 2010, Government/Regulatory - 2019

    AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell