Sam Poole bio

Samuel E. Poole,III


Fort Lauderdale

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Practice Team

Government and Regulatory

Practice Areas

Environmental Issues, Government Permitting and Licensing, State and Local Government Law, Urban Redevelopment

Samuel E. Poole,III

Sam has particular skills dealing with environmental constraints impacting the use of land and water. He served as Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District from 1994 to 1999, where he directed a staff of 1700 with annual budgets of $500 million to restore the Everglades and protect South Florida’s water supply and flood mitigation system.Sam Poole has extensive experience in planning and zoning in the development and redevelopment of Florida’s cities. He has over 25 years of experience addressing both conventional and new urbanism land development issues in Florida. Working statewide for both private and public sector clients, Sam has prepared comprehensive plans, plan amendments, and land use codes enabling development of conventional as well as mixed use new urbanism projects from towns to neighborhoods to individual buildings.

Representative Experience

  • Land use counsel for Miami Worldcenter, a 25-acre New Urbanism redevelopment project in downtown Miami
  • Counsel to foreign governments on management of water and environmental resources, including Cayman Islands and Parana (Brazil)
  • Land use counsel for Makar Properties, LLC for redevelopment and renovation of historic Ritz Plaza Hotel in Miami Beach
  • Land Use Counsel for South Miami Hometown, Inc., preparing a land development plan and code for New Urbanism redevelopment of downtown South Miami
  • Land use counsel for Oak Tree Landing, an 850-acre second home Fly-in resort near Gainesville, Florida, securing plan and future land use map amendments
  • Land use counsel for Corrections Corporation of America, for site plan approval of a 1500-bed privately owned and operated correctional facility in Southwest Ranches, Florida

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Co-author of Miami-Dade County Traditional Neighborhood Development Ordinance, the first modern New Urbanism land development regulation (1990)
  • Board of directors of Form-Based Codes Institute (2006-present)
  • South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (1997-1999, Chair, 1998)
  • Third Environmental and Land Use Study Committee (ELMS III)
  • Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association (2000-2004, Chair 2003)
  • ULI Committee on Regional Cooperation (2004)
  • 1000 Friends of Florida Future of Florida Round Table 2007

Awards & Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America® (2014-2015)
  • Chambers & Partners USA, America’s Leading Business Lawyers, Environment-Florida (2012-2013)
  • Florida’s Super Lawyers (2007-2009, 2013-2014)
  • Selected “Most Effective Lawyer” by Daily Business Review (2005)
  • South Florida Legal Guide “Top Lawyer” (2007-2009; 2011-2014)
  • University of Florida “Distinguished Alumnus” (2000)
  • AV® Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Articles and Presentations


  • “Miami 21 Gives City Chance to Turn From Unworkable to Walkable,” Daily Business Review, September 2010
  • “Stormwater management: the elephant in Florida’s urban renaissance bathtub,” Florida Specifier, July 2005
  • “Form-based regulations provide viable alternative to zoning.” Florida Real Estate Journal, March 2006
  • “Common language helps New Urbanist, environmentalist meet in the middle,” Florida Real Estate Journal, June 2002
  • “Peace – or Storm? Development in the Florida wetlands after the SWANCC ruling,” (Co-authored with Dan Thompson), Urban Land, July 2001
  • “Focus on flood-control fix, not fixing blame,” Palm Beach Post, May 1998
  • “Architectural Appearance Review Regulations and the First Amendment: The Good, The Bad, and The Consensus Ugly,” The Urban Lawyer, Spring, 1987


  • Co-Speaker, American Institute of Architects, “Walkable Urban Environments and the Associated Legal Issues,” March 20, 2014
  • Speaker, “Emerging Water Management Strategies & Climate Change,” 2014 Florida Water Policy Conference, February 7, 2014
  • Speaker, “Building Smart & Walkable Communities,” The Tower Club Real Estate Luncheon, January 9, 2014
  • Panelist, “What’s Not Illegal v. What’s Ethical?” Palm Beach County Planning Congress Seventh Annual Ethics Seminar, November 1, 2013
  • Speaker, “Adversity, Opportunity and Resilience: Economic Implications of Sea Level Rise,” Sea Level Rise Summit, October 16, 2013
  • “Transportation Planning – Regional Initiatives – Making our Streets Walkable,” Transportation Summit, May 15, 2013
  • Panelist, Sustainable Development – Big Ideas Fort Lauderdale, October 2012
  • “What Every Attorney and Mayor Should Know About Form-Based Codes,” Form-Based Codes Institute, May 2012
  • “The American Renaissance of Form-Based Land Development Regulations,” The Environmental and Land Use Law Section, ELULS Annual Update, August 2011
  • “The ABC’s of FBC’s : An Introduction to Form-Based Coding,” Form Based Coding, May 2010
  • “Legal Aspects of Form Based Codes,” American Planning Association Annual Meeting, April 2010
  • “Adopting Form-Based Codes’ and “Post-Adoption Code Implementation: Discretionary Review by Boards,” Michigan Municipal League, Lansing, 2009
  • “Alternative Land Use Strategies for Repositioning Distressed Properties” Panel at the Distressed Real Estate Symposium, March 2008, Sunny Isles
  • “A Tale of Three Cities: How Public/Private Partnerships Help/Harm Florida’s Cities.” Speech to 2007 annual meeting of Florida Redevelopment Association, Daytona Beach
  • “Dealing With Today’s Regulatory Climate.” Speech to ULI Affordable by Design Conference, May 2006, Boca Raton
  • “Urban Revitalization and Sustainable Development in the United States.” Speech at Florida Atlantic University seminar on Urban Revitalization and Sustainable Development, February 2004, Fort Lauderdale
  • “Tools and strategies for regional sustainability.” Speech to Congress on Promoting Regional Sustainability, Portland, Oregon, 2000

Prior Affiliations

  • Holland & Knight
  • South Florida Water Management District

Admitted to Practice

  • Florida


  • J.D., cum laude, Northwestern University Law School
  • Master of Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania
  • B.S., Forestry, cum laude, University of Florida