Cate Wells is a shareholder in the Real Estate Lending and Transactions Group. A seasoned lawyer, she has three decades of experience representing clients in a variety of administrative, regulatory and land use matters before local, regional and state government entities in Florida. She focuses her practice in areas of land use, re-zonings, comprehensive plan changes, alcohol beverage regulations, code enforcement and government advocacy.
Cate’s zoning and land use practice ranges from obtaining land use, zoning and permit approvals for developments as large as utility-scale power generation facilities, mixed-use developments, and residential subdivisions to simpler matters requiring a variance, a certificate of authority for rehabilitation of an historic structure, or resolution of a code enforcement issue.
Cate’s alcohol beverage licensing practice includes handling legal issues associated with local zoning approvals, state licensure and regulatory compliance.
Cate’s administrative practice includes representing professional licensees and regulated entities in licensing and disciplinary hearings before state agencies including the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Department of Health, Agency for Health Care Administration, Department of Children and Families and the Division of Administrative Hearings.
Cate’s started her career in the public sector representing the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation before various professional licensing boards under the agency’s umbrella, including Construction, Electrical Contracting, Landscape Architects and Land Surveyors. During the 10 years that she was Lead Prosecuting Attorney for the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board, Cate directed and supervised the statewide prosecution of licensed contractors and in 2000, served as the Board’s Executive Director. In 2001, Cate joined the City of Tampa where she served as legal advisor to various departments and administrative boards responsible for implementing the City’s historic preservation, land development, comprehensive planning and zoning regulations. She represented the Variance Review Board, Historic Preservation Commission, Architectural Review Commission, Barrio Latino Commission and City Council.
Land Use, Zoning and Government Advocacy
- State-wide representation of private developers and utilities in the development of utility-scale solar power generation facilities.
- Privately initiated a text amendment to a city's land development code establishing land development regulations allowing and regulating solar power generation facilities.
- Successfully obtained entitlements for a mixed-use development in Madeira Beach allowing for the development of hotels, condominiums, restaurants and a marina.
- Successfully obtained entitlements for a mixed-used development in Hyde Park Village.
- Amendment of a comprehensive plan future land use (FLU) designation to allow the redevelopment of an industrial site in the City of Tampa.
- Successfully advocated against the adoption of a comprehensive plan amendment which would have prevented residential development within the Rattlesnake Point Waterfront Area in the City of Tampa.
- Representation of a window manufacturing establishment on various land use, zoning and code enforcement matters before the City of Venice.
- Successful representation of a condominium community involving a multi-year community-wide code enforcement matter in Hillsborough County.
- Successfully obtained entitlements for the redevelopment of a residential community in Pasco County as an adult community.
- Representation of the City of Temple Terrace between 2006 – 2017.
- Successfully obtained a parking variance for an existing private gym.
- Representation of licensed contractors before the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board resulting in the issuance of licenses, resolution of disciplinary matters, guidance while serving probation, and closure of complaints without a finding of probable cause.
- Representation of a licensed veterinarian before the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine resulting in the closure of various complaints without a finding of probable cause.
- Representation of licensed health care entities before the Agency for Health Care Administration resulting in the resolution of disciplinary matters.
- Representation before the AHCA and Board of Physical Therapists on various applications for exemption from disqualification.
- Representation of licensed practitioners before the Board of Pharmacy, Board of Nursing and Board of Medicine on various disciplinary matters.
- Representation of a durable medical equipment facility before the Department of Business and Professional Regulation resulting in initial licensure and resolution of disciplinary matter.
- Representation of child care facilities before the Department of Children and Families resulting in resolution of disciplinary matters without loss of licensure.
Alcohol Beverage Licensing
- Alcohol licensing approvals for various downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg restaurants and bar establishments.
- Temporary alcohol beverage permits for fund raising events sponsored by non-profit organizations.
- Representation of a national hotel chain in the acquisition of a Tampa hotel and transfer of all state and local licenses.
- Representation of a purchaser of a hotel in Punta Gorda and transfer of all state and local licenses.
- Alcohol licensing approval for a golf course in Ocala.
Honors and Distinctions
- AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- The Florida Bar
- Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Tampa Bay
- Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FLASEIA)
- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
- National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Chapter #36, Board of Directors, 2008-2010
- Tampa Bay Builders Association (TaBBA)
- Urban Land Institute (ULI), Tampa Bay Region
- City of Tampa’s Barrio Latino Commission
- Chair, 2017 – 2018
- Member 2013-2017
- Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts
- Committee Member 2006 – 2009
- Co-Chair 2010
- Board of Directors 2011-2018
- Greater Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce
- Policy Council
- Complaint and Disciplinary Process before the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board, 2018/2012
- Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Conference, 2014
- Florida Association of Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Convention and Trade Show, 2012
- 90th Annual Convention of Florida Association of Plumbing Heating & Cooling Contractors, 2011
- Air Conditioning Contractors Association of Central Florida, 2011
- Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Annual Conference, 2011