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 and Lake Park, and provides legal counsel to the Firm’s municipal clients, which include the Towns of Gulf Stream, Jupiter Island, and Palm Beach. He serves as the General Counsel to the Westgate/Belvedere Homes Community Redevelopment Agency and the Jupiter and Lake Park Community Redevelopment Agencies, and he 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, and the Village of Golf. He served as Special Magistrate for the Village of North Palm Beach and has served as a Special Master/Mediator in property rights cases.
Tom was an adjunct professor of planning at Florida Institute of Technology and an adjunct professor of land use law at Florida Atlantic University teaching 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 Development of Regional Impacts.