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UF Law students, alumni win award from Florida planning group

Marineland, Fla.

A view of the beach in Marineland, Fla. (Photo courtesy of State of Florida Archives)

By Alyssa Cameron
Law Student Writer/3L

Six UF Law students and recent graduates won the Student Planning Award from the Florida chapter of the American Planning Association (FAPA) for their Unified Land Development Code for the town of Marineland, Fla.

Law students J.B. Bricklemyer, Allison Fischman, Andrew Hand, Kathryn Hurd, Kalanit Oded and Patrick Wheeler worked on the project for nearly two years under the guidance of Tom Ankersen, UF Conservation Clinic director, and Gail Easley, planner and adjunct faculty member at UF's College of Design, Construction and Planning. The merit-based award was given to the proposal that demonstrated the highest level of innovation, transferability, quality and comprehensiveness.

The project's goal was to create a land-development code for the town of Marineland that focused on sustainable development and was consistent with the town's ambiguous comprehensive plan. Through the duration of the project, the group repeatedly met with the Town Council and interested stakeholders in public meetings and workshops to ensure the code reflected community priorities. "It was a steady process of drafting, meeting and revising," said Kathryn Hurd, a graduate of UF's joint Law and Urban and Regional Planning degree program.

The town adopted the plan in June, which included stringent storm water management requirements and landscaping provisions focused on water conservation. It is the group's hope that the plan will serve as a model for other communities looking to make their own codes more "green."

The FAPA also invited Hurd to present her thesis — which focused on the role of litigation by environmental advocates in local government growth management in Florida – in the student works session at FAPA. Her thesis, written for her master's in Urban and Regional Planning, analyzed the role of litigation by environmental advocates in local government growth management in Florida.

"This was a challenging project and an enriching experience," said Hurd, currently in the U.S. Department of Transportation Honors Attorney program. "It was an honor for our team to receive the award, and I felt privileged to participate in representing UF Law and the Conservation Clinic as part of this team."