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Permit Extensions Available. Act Quickly.

Published: September 15th, 2015

By: Anna H. Long

Recently, Governor Scott issued two Executive Orders declaring a state of emergency in the state.  The first, Executive Order 15-158, was issued on August 6, 2015 for the following counties: Dixie, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Taylor due to severe weather systems that brought substantial rain and flooding. This state of emergency is in effect until October 5, 2015. A second state of emergency was issued state-wide (all counties) under Executive Order 15-173 due to the threat of Tropical Storm Erika. This state of emergency is in effect until October 27, 2015.

Florida Statute 252.363 provides for the extension of certain permit or other authorization expiration dates for the period of the emergency declaration, plus an additional six months. Therefore, the effect of the Executive Orders described above,  extends permit and other approval dates in Dixie, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Taylor counties for 82 days (starting from the first state of emergency declaration and ending with the second), plus six months – for a total extension period of 8 months and 22 days. For all other counties in the state, permits and other approval dates can be extended for 60 days while the declaration was in effect, plus six months, for a total extension period of 8 months.

Generally, the extension of time applies to development orders issued by a local government, building permits, permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district pursuant to part IV of chapter 373, Florida Statutes, the build-out date of a development of regional impact, including any extension of a build-out date that was previously granted pursuant to s. 380.06(19)(c), Florida Statutes and the commencement and completion dates for any required mitigation (so that mitigation activities occur within the same timeframe relative to the phase as originally permitted).

The extension of time does not apply to permits or other authorizations for a building, improvement, or development located outside the geographic area for which the declaration of a state of emergency applies, permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, any permittee not in compliance with the conditions of a permit or authorization as set forth in a warning letter or other notice of violation from the authorizing agency, and permits or other authorizations subject to a court order specifying an expiration date or build-out date that would be in conflict with the extensions granted by the statute.

In order to obtain an extension as provided for above, the permittee has the obligation to notify the authorizing agency no later than 90 days following the expiration of the emergency declaration. So if the extension applies in Dixie, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and/or Taylor counties, and the permit holder desires to extend the permit for both state of emergency declarations, the authorizing agency must be notified in writing of the intent to use the extension no later than January 2, 2016 for Executive Order 15-158 and no later than January 25, 2016 for Executive Order 15-173.  If the permit or other approval was issued for a project located in counties affected only by Executive Order 15-173, then the authorization holder must notify the authorizing agency in writing of the intent to use the extension no later than January 25, 2016.

If you need assistance obtaining a permit/approval extension, please contact Anna H. Long, attorney in Dean Mead’s Orlando office, at along@deanmead.com.

About the Author:
Anna H. Long is a member of Dean Mead’s Agribusiness and Real Estate Development Industry teams. She has been practicing law for over 30 years in the areas of environmental law, land use, zoning and administrative law. Before moving to private practice, Ms. Long held numerous environmental managerial positions throughout Florida and the Northwest. She may be reached at Along@deanmead.com.