Two recent executive orders present opportunities for development permit holders across Florida to extend the expiration of some permits. On August 6, 2015, Governor Scott declared an emergency due to severe flooding in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Dixie, and Taylor Counties. On August 28, 2015, Governor Scott declared an emergency across the state due to the impending arrival of Tropical Storm Erika.
Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, provides that the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor tolls the expiration of certain permits during the emergency, and it also extends the expiration of those permits for another six months. Any phases of these permits are also extended. Generally, permits that are extended are governed by the laws, administrative rules, and ordinances in effect when the permit was issued. Four types of permits are eligible:
- a development order issued by a local government, which includes a wide variety of local government approvals that permit development activities;
- a building permit;
- a permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district pursuant to part IV of chapter 373;
- and the buildout date of a development of regional impact.
Executive Orders 15-158 and 15-173 both expire 60 days from their effective dates. Subsequently, eligible permit holders may be able to extend their permit expirations for six months. Other statutory procedures can be used in conjunction with these extensions to provide further benefits. Permit holders must also appropriately account for the interaction between these two executive orders in calculating toll periods and extensions. To take advantage of these extensions, the permit holder must appropriately notify the issuing agency in writing within 90 days of the expiration of the emergency declaration.