Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, provides a right to extend the duration of certain state and local permits when the Governor has declared a state of emergency. On June 29 and June 30, 2016, the Governor declared a state of emergency in Martin, St. Lucie, Lee, and Palm Beach Counties, pursuant to Executive Orders 16-155 and 16-156. The state of emergency was declared due to toxic algae blooms and related effects resulting from discharges from Lake Okeechobee to certain waterways. There have been two extensions of that state of emergency, pursuant to Executive Order 16-204 (August 29, 2016) and Executive Order 16-235 (October 28, 2016).

With some exceptions, the extensions granted under Section 252.363, F.S. apply to local-government-issued development orders (such as rezonings and proportionate share agreements with phasing or expiration dates), building permits, Development of Regional Impact development orders, and Environmental Resource Permits issued by the Florida Department of Protection or water management districts pursuant to Part IV of Ch. 373, Florida Statutes. They do not apply to federal permits..

The emergency declaration tolls the period remaining to exercise the rights under a permit or other authorization for the duration of the emergency declaration and extends the deadline for the permit or authorization for an additional 6 months beyond the tolled period. Unless further extended, the total tolled period for the toxic algae bloom emergency declaration is 182 days, providing a total extension of 181 days and 6 months.

This is one of several emergency declarations issued by the Governor over the past several months for various storms and other events. Multiple extensions may be applicable to some projects due to these emergency declarations, however, overlapping tolling periods cannot be double-counted. Care must therefore be taken in calculating the total amount of time available under the various extensions. Additional information on other extensions can be found here.

Under Section 252.363, within 90 days of the end of the state of emergency, the holder of the permit or authorization must provide written notification of its intent to extend the duration of the permit to the government entity or agency who issued the permit. The notice must reference section 252.363, Florida Statutes, identify the specific permit or other authorization qualifying for extension, and identify the particular state of emergency under which the extension is being sought. Because the current state of emergency has been extended to December 27, 2016, the 90-day deadline for notifying the issuing authority of the intent to exercise the extension of permits and authorizations for this particular state of emergency is therefore March 27, 2017. Clients are urged not to delay in filing the notices required to exercise the extensions. As noted above, the various extensions may or may not apply to specific development approvals.