Tom Baird, the Firm’s Land Use & Governmental Co-Practice Group Leader, is a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in City, County and Local Government and is certified as a Professional Planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners.
As a lawyer and a planner, Tom brings a unique depth and scope of knowledge to his practice. His 30 years of legal experience in complex land use, planning, zoning, and municipal law benefit his clients who range from municipalities and public entities to corporate businesses, real estate developers, and individual property owners. Tom handles all aspects of permitting; zoning and code enforcement matters; comprehensive plans, including drafting land use policy; property rights; and constitutional takings. He defends his governmental clients’ interests in state and federal courts in matters involving zoning appeals and disputes, property rights, constitutional takings claims, eminent domain and inverse condemnation actions.
Tom is highly respected by municipal government leaders, working closely with the planning and zoning departments of numerous local governments since the 1990s to manage large-scale development of regional impact projects (DRIs), smaller-scale development and Planned Unit Development projects, and community redevelopment projects. He also counsels municipal elected officials, their staff, and other governmental agencies on a variety of legal issues, including employment law issues and the enforcement of laws by police and code enforcement officers.
Tom currently serves as the Town Attorney for the Towns of Jupiter, Jupiter Island (Martin County), and Lake Park, and also provides legal counsel to the Firm’s other municipal client, the Town of Palm Beach. He has previously served as town attorney for the Town of Sewall’s Point in Martin County and in Palm Beach County the City of Palm Beach Gardens and the Village of Palm Springs.
Tom serves as general counsel to three community redevelopment agencies: the Westgate/Belvedere Homes Community Redevelopment Agency and the Jupiter and Lake Park community redevelopment agencies.
Tom has been retained as special land use counsel for numerous municipalities throughout Palm Beach County, including, the City of Boynton Beach, the Town of Juno Beach, the Village of North Palm Beach, the City of Riviera Beach, the Town of Manalapan, and the Village of Golf.
Tom has served as a Code Enforcement Special Magistrate for Palm Beach County and the municipalities of Boca Raton, Pahokee, Palm Springs, and the Village of North Palm Beach in Palm Beach County, and the City of Stuart in Martin County. He has served as a Special Master/Mediator in Bert Harris Act property rights cases.
Tom's professional experience in land planning also included employment as an adjunct professor at the Florida Institute of Technology and Florida Atlantic University teaching land planning and legal courses in land use, zoning, and administrative law.
Prior to his legal career, Tom was employed by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council as a Regional Planner, responsible for reviewing comprehensive plans and large-scale development projects known as Development of Regional Impacts, including the expansion of PBIA, PGA National, The Gardens Mall, and multiple large scale residential and mixed-use Planned Unit Developments in Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties.