Mark received his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in political science and Master of Arts with honors in political science, emphasizing public administration, both from the University of Florida in 1980 and 1982, respectively.
During graduate school, Mark worked as an intern in the Alachua County Planning Department, where he assisted in the implementation of the County’s Comprehensive Plan. Mark went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law, where he served as Associate Editor of the Law Review, graduating cum laude in 1987.
Before engaging in the practice of law, and ultimately focusing on eminent domain law and land use law, Mark served in the U.S. Marine Corps, worked as a Planner for Hillsborough County, and was Planning Director for the City of Oldsmar, Florida. In 1989, Mark achieved membership in the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He is one of the few lawyers in the state of Florida who has achieved this prestigious designation.
Mark is board certified by The Florida Bar as an expert in city, county, and local government law. Board certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar, and recognizes an attorney’s special knowledge, skills, and proficiency, along with professionalism and ethics in practice. It is a critical component in Mark’s qualifications as an eminent domain lawyer and land use lawyer.
Mark’s expertise includes eminent domain litigation, land use, zoning, mediation, noise regulation, billboard regulation, and governmental and administrative law. Mark has represented numerous private property owners against various condemning authorities around Tampa Bay and Florida, as well as various governmental entities in eminent domain and land use matters.
He serves on The Florida Bar’s Eminent Domain Committee, and is one of the co-authors of the chapter “Authority To Exercise Power” in the Florida Bar’s Florida Eminent Domain Practice and Procedures Manual, Sixth Edition.
Mark received the highest peer review rating of AV published by the Martindale-Hubbell attorney directory. He was chosen as a Florida Super Lawyer from 2008-2016. Super Lawyers are nominated by their peers in recognition of their professional accomplishments. Also, Mark has been selected by Best Lawyers® in 2011 - 2016 and was recognized in both their national and regional Best Lawyers© publications.
Mark was recognized for his achievements in eminent domain and land use law by Florida Trend Magazine and was chosen as a 2015 Legal Elite. Locally, Mark has been recognized as one of Tampa Bay's Best Lawyers from 2010- 2016 by Tampa Bay Magazine as well as included in 2015 Tampa's Top Rated Lawyers, an achievement that exclusively recognizes "AV" rated attorneys.
Mark Bentley, P.A., has been selected as one of the Best Law Firms in the U.S. for 2014 - 2016 by U.S. News and World Report. In addition to his eminent domain and land use expertise, Mark has been generally recognized as one of the leading national authorities in the area of noise regulations, where he represents both the regulated community, as well as local and state governments.
Along with his representation of clients concerning property rights, eminent domain and land use matters, Mark is an adjunct professor teaching land use law for the University of South Florida’s Urban and Regional Planning Master’s Degree Program. He also serves as a special master involving disputed land use cases under Florida’s Land Use and Environmental Dispute Resolution Act. He is a frequent speaker at various seminars and events in Tampa, throughout Florida as well as nationally, focusing on eminent domain and land use law in addition to other legal areas.
Mark is very active within the community. He was chairman of the Ybor City Development Corporation Board of Directors from 2001 to 2002, which is a non-profit organization established by the City of Tampa to coordinate redevelopment in Ybor City’s Historic District, and is still very active in that organization.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of Central Park Village Youth Services, Inc., a non-profit corporation assisting in providing educational opportunities for disadvantaged children. He represents the Italian Club of Tampa, a non-profit corporation which owns and operates one of the oldest social clubs in the city, whose mission is to preserve and recognize the traditions and culture of Tampa's Italian community.
Mark is involved in the Sun Coast Section, Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association, and has been recognized for his service with two significant awards – the 2009 Planner of the Year Award and the 2006 Distinguished Service Award. These awards are given to individuals who have had an outstanding career in planning and have made significant contributions to the planning profession.
Mark considers his greatest achievement to be his successful children - daughter Erin (who is a promotions manager for major films in Hollywood, California) and son Adam (an accomplished musician, producer, graduate student at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, and now recording engineer in Nashville).