Kathleen Oppenheimer Berkey – Associate
Kathleen Oppenheimer Berkey is an attorney and certified land planner (AICP) in the Pavese Law Firm’s land use, zoning and local government law; real estate law; environmental and water law; and condominium and homeowners’ association law practice areas. Her practice focuses primarily on planning, zoning, real estate, and environmental issues related to the development of land. This includes: permitting, drafting comprehensive plan amendments, and representing clients in local government administrative matters before city and county commissions, councils, and boards. As a certified land planner (AICP), Ms. Berkey can also testify as an expert witness on land use and zoning issues.
Ms. Berkey’s experience includes having prepared variance, conditional use, special exception, and permit applications for wireless telecommunications facilities across dozens of jurisdictions in the Baltimore/Washington area; presenting proposed sites to local land use officials and the public at community input meetings and public hearings; performing zoning ordinance reviews; reviewing zoning drawings prior to submittal for compliance with public agencies and client requirements; and monitoring legislation. She gained extensive experience in building the relationships with landowners, adjacent neighbors, community residents, planners and other governmental officials, land use and telecommunications lawyers, and citizen groups necessary to support proposed sites throughout the zoning and permitting process.
After her time in wireless site development, Ms. Berkey earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of City and Regional Planning (M.C.R.P.) degrees under a dual-degree program sponsored by the University of North Carolina School of Law and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of City and Regional Planning. Her studies focused primarily on land use and environmental law/planning.
In her spare time, Ms. Berkey serves as Co-Chair of the Urban Land Institute Southwest Florida’s Young Leaders Group and Women’s Leadership Initiative, Director on the Keep Lee County Beautiful, Inc. Board, and Director on the Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Association Board. Ms. Berkey is also the Founding President of the Young Professionals for Animal Protection, Inc. (YAP).
Bar and Professional Association Memberships
- American Planning Association (APA)
- American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)
- Planning and Law Division
- Connect Florida (by Leadership Florida)
- Statewide Leadership Institute, Class III (2012-2013)
- Board of Governors (2013-2015)
- Southwest Regional Chair (2013-2015)
- The Florida Bar
- City, County, and Local Government Law Section
- Environmental and Land Use Law Section
- Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section
- Florida Guardian ad Litem Program, 20th Judicial Circuit (2011-2014)
- Florida Planning and Zoning Association
- Florida Wireless Association
- Lee County Bar Association
- Co-Chair, Pro Bono Committee (2012-2015)
- Land Use and Government Law Section
- Real Estate Investment Society (REIS)
- Urban Land Institute (ULI) Southwest Florida
- Member, Executive Committee, Southwest Florida District Council (2011-Present)
- Co-Chair, Young Leaders Group (2012-Present)
- Co-Chair, Women’s Leadership Initiative (2013-Present)
Selected Publications and Presentations
- Kathleen Oppenheimer Berkey, AICP & Todd K. BenDor, A Comprehensive Solution to the Marine Biofouling Problem for the Endangered Florida Manatee and Other Species, 42:2 Envtl. Law 415, 415-67 (2012).
Please click here for a list of additional publications.
- “The Role of Land Use Lawyers and Planners Throughout the Various Phases of Land Development,” guest lecturer, Real Estate Fundamentals, Florida Gulf Coast University (Mar. 29, 2016; Oct. 27, 2015; Feb. 12, 2015; Oct. 7, 2014; Sep. 12, 2013).
- “The Planner as Social Entrepreneur,” co-presenter, APA Florida Annual Conference (Hollywood, Fla., Sep. 10, 2015).
- “Career Opportunities and Paths in Real Estate, Land Use, and Environmental Law,” co-presenter and panelist, Florida Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers, Fla., Nov. 13, 2014).
- “Legal Practice Area Exploration: Real Estate, Land Use, and Environmental Law,” presenter, Florida Gulf Coast University Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity Chapter (Fort Myers, Fla., Oct. 13, 2014).
- “Building Healthy Places: Integrating Health into Planning, Designing, Developing, and Managing our Communities,” co-presenter, APA Florida Annual Conference (Jacksonville, Fla., Sep. 12, 2014).
- “Follow and Promote @Yourself Online: Defrag and Optimize Your #OnlineBrand,” presenter, Franklin & Marshall College Webinar Series (May 22, 2014).
- “The Role of Land Use Lawyers and Planners Throughout the Various Phases of Land Development,” guest lecturer, Real Estate Fundamentals, Florida Gulf Coast University (Sep. 12, 2013).
- “What the Scuttlebutt is All About: Opportunities and Incentives for Renewable Energy in Florida,” co-presenter, APA Florida Annual Conference (Naples, Fla., Sep. 14, 2012).
- Land Use, Zoning and Local Government
- Environmental and Water
- Condominium and Homeowners’ Association
- Real Estate
Admitted to Practice
- Florida Bar (2011)
- University of North Carolina School of Law (J.D., with pro bono distinction, 2011)
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (M.C.R.P., 2011)
- Franklin and Marshall College (A.B., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 2005)
- Sea Education Association (C-197, Study Abroad, 2005)
- American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), 2012
Awards & Recognitions
- Lee County Bar Association Pro Bono Award (2016)
- Selected as “Top-Idea Maven”, The Woman’s Advantage® (2016, 2014)
- Top 40 Under 40, Gulfshore Business (2014)
- Q4 Fellowship Award, WWLF (2011) 
- Best Social Media Interaction Award, Florida Chapter of the APA (2011)
- Phi Beta Kappa (2005)
- Fred and Nancy Sener Prize in American Studies (2005)
- Dean’s Award, Sea Education Association (2004)