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  >  Richard S. Geller

Mr. Geller is a partner in Fishback Dominick. An attorney for more than 30 years, Rick Geller is a tireless advocate for his clients’ interests, and often comes to the table with creative solutions to legal challenges.

Board certified by the Florida Bar in City, County, and Local Government Law, Rick serves as City Attorney to the City of Ocoee and Deputy City Attorney to Winter Park, Winter Garden, DeBary, and Belle Isle, Florida. He frequently sits with City Commissions and Councils, Planning and Zoning Boards, Code Enforcement Boards, Boards of Zoning Adjustment, and Election Canvassing Boards. In 2023, the City of Ocoee retained Rick as facilitator for its Charter Review Commission. He also served as special counsel to the City of Groveland in the development of their cutting-edge, form-based zoning code, which aims to revitalize their downtown. For his municipal clients, Rick advises on parliamentary procedure, quasi-judicial procedures and due process, the Florida Sunshine Act and public records laws, comprehensive planning and zoning, and ethics compliance for public officers. He drafts resolutions and ordinances, code enforcement orders, and reviews proposed public contracts for compliance with Florida law.

Rick sits as a Special Magistrate for the City of Cape Canaveral, adjudicating code enforcement proceedings.

Rick has a perspective not shared by many other city attorneys—more than 30 years’ experience as a civil trial attorney in Federal and State courts. In the area of municipal and local government law, Rick has handled court and quasi-judicial proceedings involving construction defects and delays, cell tower denials, code enforcement prosecutions and appeals, competitive bid challenges, public contracts, billboard location denials, and land use and zoning entitlements. For private clients, Rick has litigated and gone to trial on a multitude of challenging issues, including allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, deceptive and unfair trade practices, actions to remove trustees, and civil racketeering.

An Orange County Planning and Zoning Board Commissioner (2008-2012), Rick adjudicated countless comprehensive plan and zoning applications. He helped to amend the County’s Horizon West Code to improve aesthetics and walkability. As counsel to the City of Winter Garden, he helped craft the city’s Downtown Historic Code, contributing to the downtown’s revitalization. From 2011-14, Mr. Geller taught land use law and urban zoning codes as an adjunct professor in Rollins College’s Master of Planning program.

Rick is a recreational cyclist, runner, and swimmer. He is vice-chair of Bike/Walk Central Florida and past-chair of the Florida chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (2018-2023), the country’s most innovative and influential organization dedicated to revitalizing and creating great urban cities, towns, and neighborhoods. A champion of pedestrian and bicyclist safety, Rick has written extensively on the subjects of safe road design and walkable neighborhood schools. His articles have appeared in the Orlando Sentinel, the Florida State University Law School’s Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law, and Public Square, the national publication of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

EDUCATION

Temple University, Juris Doctor, cum laude, 1992

Associate Research Editor, Temple Law Review, 1991-1992

Member, Temple Law Review, 1990-1991

Judicial intern to Judge Stanley Brotman, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1991-1992

Judicial intern to Judge Carl B. Rubin, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, 1991

Miami University, Bachelor of Arts, 1988

 

COURTS OF PRACTICE

Florida State Courts

U.S. District Courts, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

 

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

City Attorney, City of Ocoee, 2023-present

Special Magistrate for code enforcement, City of Cape Canaveral, 2020 – present

Deputy City Attorney, City of Winter Garden, 2008-present

Deputy City Attorney, City of DeBary, 2014-present

Deputy City Attorney, City of Winter Park, 2015-present

Deputy City Attorney, City of Belle Isle, 2017-present

Adjunct Professor teaching Land Use Law, Rollins College, Master of Planning in Civic Urbanism program, Winter Park, Florida, 2011 – 2014

Speaker, “Making Neighborhood Schools Safe to Access and Legal Again,” 27th Congress for the New Urbanism, Louisville, Kentucky, 2019.

Speaker, “A Cycle Track for Winter Park” at the Florida Summit of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Sarasota, Florida, 2014

Speaker, “Walkable Thoroughfares: Incorporating an ITE Recommended Practice in FDOT Standards,” at the Florida Statewide Conference of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, Naples, Florida, 2011

Speaker, “Complete Streets: How do we Convince the Florida Legislature?” at the Florida Statewide Conference of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Seaside, Florida, 2011

Guest participant, “What’s the Verdict?–A Mock Trial” on the topic of record documentation at the National Conference of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association, Hollywood, Florida

Orange County Bar Association

Florida Municipal Attorneys Association

 

RATINGS & CERTIFICATIONS

AV – Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Orlando’s Top Lawyers, 2010-Present

Board Certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in City, County and Local Government Law, August 2019.

   

 

 

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

Chair, Congress for the New Urbanism – Florida Chapter, 2018-2023

District 1 Commissioner, Orange County Planning and Zoning Board, 2009-2012

Winter Park Health Foundation, Healthy Communities Work Group, 2013-2017

Board of Directors, Bike Walk Central Florida, 2013-2023; Vice chair, 2018-2023

Co-chair, Florida Summit of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Orlando and Winter Park, Florida, 2015