Melinda Lucka Kelley

North Charleston, South Carolina

Of Counsel, since 2010

Melinda A Lucka

Main Number: 843-577-5460

Direct Line: 843-214-8266

Fax: 843-405-1319

For the past 24 years, Ms. Kelley has practiced primarily in the areas of administrative and regulatory land use cases, environmental and coastal issues, land disputes, wills and probate, zoning hearings and appeals, contract disputes, serves as an expert witness in zoning cases, and handles complex personal injury insurance claims. She represents individuals and business property owners, homeowners’ associations (HOAs), and government agencies in regulatory and administrative hearings before various boards, commissions, and councils, and in the South Carolina Administrative Law Courts, Circuit Courts, and Appellate Courts.Ms. Kelley was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1992. She is a Tampa, Florida native and has lived in South Carolina since 1974. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1979 and worked in the public and private sectors in the area of land use planning prior to going to law school in 1987 (Cumberland School of Law and the University of South Carolina School of Law). During law school, Ms. Kelley served as an expert witness on cases that involved planning and zoning issues. She also had a one year judicial externship with Alabama State Supreme Court Justice Richard “Red” Jones.

Ms. Kelley has served as the municipal attorney for the Town of Lincolnville, South Carolina since 2003, and previously was the planning director and staff attorney for Town James Island from 1993 to 1996. From 1997-2016, she handled the prosecution of criminal cases in the City of Charleston Municipal Court. Ms. Kelley co-authored “Local Governments and Home Rule” in 2011 (Strom Thurmond Institute), and has assisted in drafting local government zoning ordinances and comprehensive plans. Ms. Kelley has been a member of the adjunct faculty in the Urban Studies Department at the College of Charleston, teaching Land Use Law and Water Use law since 1994. She has also been on the continuing education faculty for the South Carolina Bar, Lorman Educational Services, the National Business Institute, and the South Carolina Municipal Attorneys Association. Before joining Finkel Law Firm in 2010, Ms. Kelley worked in private practice and was of Counsel with Austin & Rogers, P.A.

Practice Areas:

  • Local Government Law
  • Land Use Issues
  • Land subdivision and development issues
  • Qualified as expert witness in zoning and land use cases
  • Zoning variances, special exceptions, zoning changes
  • Appeals and pre-litigation mediation for zoning board decisions
  • Homeowner Association disputes
  • Planned development representation
  • Easement and right-of-way disputes
  • Coastal and wetlands matters
  • Preservation and environmental protection of land; conservation easements
  • Boundary disputes
  • Complex personal injury claims
  • Condemnations and inverse condemnations/takings
  • Construction litigation
  • Wills, estates, and probate
  • Canon and Ecclesiastical law

Bar Admissions:

  • South Carolina, 1992


  • J.D., Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, 1990 (last year coursework at the University of South Carolina School of Law)
  • B.A., University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA, 1979: Urban Studies/Geography and Comparative Religion/Philosophy

Courses Taught:

  • Land Use Law, Water Use Law, College of Charleston Adjunct Faculty/Urban Studies, 1994 - Present
  • Land Use Law Update, S.C. Municipal Attorneys CLE, 1996
  • Planning and Zoning Law Update and Advanced Planning and Zoning, Lorman Educational Services, 2001 - 2007
  • Health care issues in South Carolina, S.C. Patient Advocates Association, 2002
  • Issues in SC Planning and Zoning, NBI 2011
  • Cases and Statutory Updates in Planning and Zoning in SC: SCBar CLE 2012

Professional Affiliations:

  • South Carolina Bar
  • Charleston County Bar Association
  • South Carolina Municipal Attorneys Association
  • Ecclesiastical Law Society
  • South Carolina-American Planning Association (SCAPA)-past member
  • South Carolina Bar Continuing Legal Education Seminar Committee-past member
  • Past Chair of the Harmony Project Board of Directors, a non-profit focused on revitalization and sustainability of communities.
  • Charleston Promise Neighborhood Working Group Committee-past member
  • American Planning Association/Land Use Law division-past member

Ancillary Website:

**Any results the law firm may have achieved in past cases does not imply or indicate that similar results may be had in your case. Outcome of litigation is dependent on many factual and legal circumstances that may differ in your particular case.

Serving the people and businesses of South Carolina for over fifty years.