United States: Dark Clouds Have Silver Lining For Permit Holders

If there's any good news in a hurricane or tropical storm, this is it: an officially declared state of emergency that allows permit-holders to extend their permits, as well as certain other government authorizations. Not only are permits and other authorizations extended for the length of the emergency but for an additional six months thereafter. The extension may apply to the expiration date of development orders (which are broadly defined and include subdivision plans, PD zoning approvals in many jurisdictions, capacity reservation determinations and many other local government approvals) , building permits, permits issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) or the water management districts, and the buildout date of a development of regional impact - including any extension of a previously granted buildout date.
Governor Scott issued Executive Order 16-136  on June 6, 2016, declaring a state of emergency due to Tropical Storm Colin.  The state of emergency was effective in many counties and expired on August 5, 2016. Governor Scott also issued Executive Order 16-205 on August 31, 2016, declaring a state of emergency due to Tropical Depression #9 (Tropical Storm Hermine).  This state of emergency is effective in many counties and will expire on October 30, 2016, unless otherwise extended.*

Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, provides, in part, that permits and other authorizations are extended for the length of the state of emergency and for an additional six months thereafter. The extension applies to the expiration date of a development order, building permits, permits issued by the FDEP or the water management district pursuant to Part IV, Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, and the buildout date of a development of regional impact, including any extension of a buildout date that was previously granted pursuant to Section 380.06(19)(c), Chapter 380, Florida Statutes.

In order to request a permit extension, a permit holder or its authorized agent must provide written notice to the permitting agency of its intent to extend the permit or development order within 90 days following the expiration of the state of emergency. Therefore, permit holders can give notice of a 6 month, 60 day extension for eligible permits on or before November 3, 2016, under Executive Order 16-136 and on or before January 28, 2017, under 16-205. The extension notice must identify the specific permit or other authorization qualifying for the extension.

Should you have a permit or other approval that qualifies for the extension and would like assistance in submitting a Notice of Extension, please contact any member of the firm's Government Approvals & Land Use Group.

*As many of you may recall in 2011, when we previously extended permit build-out dates as the result of an Executive Order, the state of emergency was subsequently extended several times. Each extension of the emergency created the opportunity for a further time extension of eligible permits and other authorizations. The firm's Government Approvals & Land Use Group will continue to monitor activity from the Governor's Office to assure that any permit extensions we are asked to submit on behalf of our clients provide for the maximum extension allowed under the Executive Orders noted above, as well as any additional extension provided for under subsequent Executive Orders as may be issued throughout the remainder of the 2016 hurricane season.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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