In 2011, the State of Florida enacted, as part of the State Emergency Management Act, Section 252.363, Florida Statutes. This little known law authorizes extensions of time for certain governmental permits and authorizations after the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor. Specifically, the law provides for an extension to certain governmental permits and authorizations for the amount of time a declared state of emergency is in effect, plus an additional six (6) months.
On August 28, 2015, by Executive Order 15-173, Governor Scott declared a state of emergency in response to the threat from Tropical Storm Erica. The state of emergency applied to the entire State of Florida and is in effect until October 27, 2015. As a result of this recent declaration of emergency by the Governor, developers, builders and property owners throughout the State of Florida now have an opportunity to extend the expiration dates of certain permits and authorizations.
It is important to note that the extension of time permitted under the statute is only available for certain permits and authorizations. Specifically, extensions are authorized for the following permits, authorizations and approvals:
- 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 of the Florida Statutes
- The Buildout Date of a Development of Regional Impact, including any Extension of a Buildout Date that was Previously Granted Pursuant to Section 380.06(19)(c) of the Florida Statutes
In addition to extending the above permits and authorizations, the extension also applies to the commencement and completion dates for required mitigation in phased developments so that the mitigation activities occur in the same timeframe relative to the phase as originally permitted.
In order to qualify for and obtain the extension authorized by the statute, within ninety (90) days following the termination of the declaration of emergency, the holder of the permit or authorization must submit a written notification to the governmental agency or authority that issued the permit indicating its intent to exercise the extension authorized by the statute. Such notice must specifically identify the permit or other authorization for which the extension applies. Upon submission of the written notice, the extension authorized by the statute is automatic. In addition to extending the above, the extension also applies to the commencement and completion dates for required mitigation in phased developments.
The extensions authorized by the statute do NOT apply to the following:
- Any programmatic or regional general permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers
- A permit or authorization relating to any building or development outside the geographic area for which the state of emergency applies
- A permit or authorization for which the permit holder is in “significant non-compliance: with the conditions of the permit or authorization through the issuance of a warning letter or notice of violation, a formal enforcement action, or their equivalent
- A permit or authorization that is subject to a court order specifying an expiration date or buildout date that would be in conflict with the extension
Based on the Governor’s statewide declaration of emergency on August 28 and which is in effect until October 27, 2015, permit holders must provide notices of intent to extend their permits to the issuing authority no later than January 25, 2016 (i.e., within 90 days of October 27, 2015)
A copy of Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, can be found at the following link:http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0200-0299/0252/Sections/0252.363.html