Rillstone P.A., Douglas

Douglas Rillstone is the Co-Chair of the Firm’s Land Use and Environmental Law department.

Rillstone represents client in all aspects of the redevelopment of blighted, under-utilized and often contaminated property for mixed use, or student housing, including issues with due diligence, development of contaminated property involving petroleum, solvents, metals and relic landfills, real estate contract negotiations, title, construction and permanent financing, Community Redevelopment Agency incentives, commercial condominiums, property exchanges, demolition and construction, and local permitting, variances and land use approvals.

Rillstone, on behalf of industry, participates as a stakeholder with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to develop Florida’s unique science-based process to designate and regulate protected species, and developing policy and management recommendations for species which affect land development, agriculture and silviculture, major transportation such as roads and airports, mining and linear facilities.

He has represented industry in several state and federal decisions concerning the regulation of protected wildlife and their habitat within Florida. Rillstone has worked closely with landowners and agencies to develop solutions where conflicts arise between human activities and listed species such as manatee, panther, sand skink, indigo snake, wood stork, bald eagle, scrub jay, cara cara, beach mice and others.

Rillstone serves as counsel to a large national developer in the assemblage, acquisition, entitlement, construction, financing, retail and residential leasing and disposition of multiple student housing projects.

He has served as environmental and land use counsel to several student housing developers to address environmental issues associated with the redevelopment of under-utilized and urban properties.

Rillstone represents primarily corporate and real estate interests in all aspects of land use and environmental law to develop and implement strategies to achieve the client’s objectives in an expanding array of local, state and federal regulatory constrictions.

His areas of practice include land use decisions and appeals; various aspects of the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) process; school and transportation concurrency; Rural Lands Stewardship; vested rights determinations; water use; wetlands; wildlife and plant regulation; marina development; contaminated property and redevelopment; sovereign lands; coastal construction; surface water; civil and criminal enforcement; NPDES permitting; and administrative rulemaking and litigation.

Rillstone has been involved in the regulation of wetlands for close to two decades, having participated in the development of rulemaking at the state and federal levels. He has represented clients in developing and implementing strategies to obtain state and federal approvals for projects throughout Florida.

Rillstone successfully guided a landowner through the Binding Letter process at the Department of Community Affairs to avoid DRI review for a major marina re-development and expansion project in Southwest Florida.

Rillstone is involved with several multi-use Developments of Regional Impacts and represents landowners in negotiating and obtaining local developer agreements.

He has and continues to represent landowners in addressing contamination issues associated with arsenic, dieldrin, solvents, heavy metals, and petroleum products.

Rillstone testified as a designated expert witness in the regulation of wildlife in two separate zoning matters in Lee County: Zoning Hearing Case # DCI2006-00091 – Z-07-031 – Kersey Smoot RPD and a Zoning Hearing Case # DCI2006-00018 – Z-08-011 – Chapel Creek.

Rillstone represents landowners in the development, permitting, and operation of wetland mitigation banks and conservation (wildlife) banks. He also represents landowners in resolving wildlife issues under federal law, including incidental take permits, agency coordination, critical habitat designation, species listing proposals, and enforcement and long range planning.

Rillstone’s experience has earned him the recognition by his peers as one of the leading environmental law attorneys in the State of Florida by Chambers USA: A Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers for the past eleven years. He has been recognized every year since 2006 as a “Florida Super Lawyer” and recognized as a “Best Lawyer” from 2005-2018.

Rillstone is an AV Preeminent®-rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, achieving the agency’s highest marks for both competency and ethics.

Bar Membership



Hamline University
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1985
J.D., Juris Doctor, cum laude

Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne, Florida, 1983
M.S., Master of Science

Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida, 1979
B.S., Bachelor of Science


Florida State University Real Estate Foundation
Member, Board of Directors

Florida State University Real Estate Center
Executive Board Member

The Florida Bar
Past Member, Executive Council, Environmental/Land Use Law Section; Administrative & Governmental Law Section

Florida Chamber of Commerce Natural Resources and Growth Management Committee
Past Chair, Subcommittee on Endangered/Threatened Species and Upland Habitat Regulation

Association of Florida Community Developers, Inc.
Past Member

Florida Home Builders Association, Inc.
Past Member

Pacific Legal Foundation
Past Member

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating with Martindale-Hubbell

“The Best Lawyers in America®” for Environmental law, 2006 – 2009, 2011 – 2018

Chambers USA: A Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers – Land Use and Environmental Law attorney, 2006 – 2018

“Florida Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazine, 2006 – 2017

“Airport Responsibility for Wildlife Management”

“Silverculture’s Next Challenge”