- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 250 on June 28, 2023, and it became effective on July 1, 2023.
- The bill was enacted in response to Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole, which caused severe damage to various parts of the state, to better assist state and local governments to recover from current and future natural disasters.
- This Holland & Knight alert summarizes some of the law's key provisions regarding the preparation and response activities of state and local governments when Florida is impacted by natural emergencies.
Florida was hit by Hurricane Ian in September 2022 and Hurricane Nicole in November 2022, both of which caused severe damage to various parts of the state. In response to these disasters, the Florida Legislature enacted Senate Bill 250 to better assist state and local governments to recover, both structurally and financially, from current and future natural disasters.
The new law makes numerous changes throughout the Florida Statutes regarding the preparation and response activities of state and local governments when the state is impacted by natural emergencies. This Holland & Knight alert summarizes some of the key provisions of the law.
Increases the Extension to Certain Building and Other Permits
Section 252.363 of the Florida Statutes provides that upon the declaration of a state of emergency, permits and other authorizations are tolled for the duration of the declaration. In addition, they may be extended automatically upon the exercise of the notice requirements of Section 252.363(1)(a). (See previous Holland & Knight alerts about Section 252.363.) The tolling and extension provisions apply to the expiration of:
- development orders issued by a local government
- building permits
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) or water management district permits issued pursuant to Part IV of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes
- buildout dates for developments of regional impact (DRI), including any extension of a buildout date that was previously granted pursuant to Section 380.06(19)(c), Florida Statutes
The new law amends Section 252.363 to increase the extension available to certain building and other permits following a declaration of a state of emergency from six to 24 months and caps such extensions at 48 months in the event of multiple natural emergencies. These changes apply retroactively to Sept. 28, 2022, and therefore apply to declarations relating to Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
Special Processing Procedures to Expedite Certain Permits
The new law also amends Section 553.7922, Florida Statutes, as it pertains to the expediting of certain permits. Following a state of emergency declared for a natural emergency, local governments impacted by the emergency shall approve special processing procedures to expedite permit issuance for permits that do not require technical review. Such permits include, but are not limited to, roof repairs, reroofing, electrical repairs, service changes or the replacement of one window or one door. Local governments may also waive application and inspection fees for permits expedited under this section.
Moratorium on Construction, Reconstruction or Redevelopment
Additionally, the new law provides that a county or municipality located entirely or partially within 100 miles of where either Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole made landfall shall not propose or adopt any moratorium on construction, reconstruction or redevelopment of any property damaged by Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole. Furthermore, a county or municipality shall not propose or adopt more restrictive or burdensome amendments to its comprehensive plan or land development regulations or propose or adopt more restrictive or burdensome procedures concerning review, approval or issuance of a site plan, development permit or development order before Oct. 1, 2024.
However, any comprehensive plan amendment, land development regulation amendment, site plan, development permit or development order approved or adopted by a county or municipality before or after the effective date of the section may be enforced if:
- the associated application is initiated by a private party other than the county or municipality
- the property that is the subject of the application is owned by the initiating private party
Hurricane Ian made landfall at two points in Florida: Cayo Costa and Pirate Harbor. Hurricane Nicole made landfall in Vero Beach. Using these landfalls as the point of reference, numerous Florida counties fall within the 100-mile radius, including Broward, Palm Beach, Monroe, Collier, Lee, Hendry, Manatee and Hillsborough Counties.
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.