Florida Opioid Epidemic Leads to Land Development Permit Extensions

On May 3, 2017, Governor Scott issued Executive Order No. 17-146 declaring a State of Emergency for the entire State of Florida due to the opioid epidemic. The emergency declaration is for 60 days.

Florida Statute 252.363 allows for the extension of the termination dates of certain land development approvals for the duration of any State of Emergency Declaration, plus an additional 6 months. In the case of the recent State of Emergency Declaration due to the opioid epidemic, this would allow for qualifying land development approvals anywhere in Florida to be extended by 8 months.

How Does Florida Statute 252.363 Affect My Land Permit?

Florida Statute 252.363 applies to (a) the expiration of a development order issued by a local government, (b) the expiration of a building permit, (c) the expiration of a permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district pursuant to part IV of F.S. Chapter 373, or (d) the buildout date of a development of regional impact, including the extension of a buildout date that was previously granted pursuant to F.S. 380.06(19)(c). The right to extend does not apply to (a) a permit or authorization under any programmatic or regional general permit issued by The Army Corps of Engineers, (b) the holder of a permit, which is in significant non-compliance with the permit conditions as set forth in a warning letter, notice of violation or enforcement action, or (c) a permit or authorization that is subject to a court order specifying an expiration or buildout date that would be in conflict with the extensions allowed by the statute.

How to Extend Land Approvals after State of Emergency Declaration

The right to extend applicable development approvals must be exercised within 90 days of the termination of the emergency declaration. In order to exercise the right to extend the development approval, the holder of the permit or approval must notify the issuing authority of its intent to exercise the extension in writing and identify the specific permit or authorization qualifying for the extension. Therefore, assuming that the state of emergency declaration expires on July 2 and is not further extended by the Governor, the permit holder must exercise its right to extend by delivering a letter to the permitting authority no later than September 30, 2017. It may also be possible to combine this extension with an extension based upon Executive Order 17-120, which declared a 60-day state-wide state of emergency due to brush fires on April 11, 2017.

About the Author:
Lee Dobbins is a shareholder in the Fort Pierce office of Dean Mead. He practices in the areas of zoning, land use and commercial real estate transactions and is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Development team. He represents property owners in the acquisition and development of land, including negotiating complex purchase contracts, due diligence, financing, title issues, closings and obtaining zoning and land use and site plan approvals from the local municipalities. If you need assistance in exercising your right to extend the termination date of a permit or approval, or have questions about the extension right, please contact Lee Dobbins at LDobbins@DeanMead.com.