In August, Governor Scott issued a statewide emergency declaration as well as a more localized emergency declaration, providing opportunities for extending certain development approvals within the state of Florida.    

Florida Statutes 252.363 provides an extension for permits and authorizations when the Governor declares a state of emergency, effective within the area covered by the emergency declaration.  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. With some exceptions, this extension applies to expiration of local-government-issued development orders, building permits, DEP and water management district permits pursuant to part IV of chapter 373 and to DRI build-out dates.    

Within 90 days after the termination of the emergency declaration, the holder of the permit or authorization must provide written notice to the issuing authority of the intent to exercise the tolling and extension granted.  The notice must identify the specific permit or other authorization qualifying for extension.    

Severe Weather and Flooding – Executive Order Number 15-158

On August 6, 2015, the Governor issued Executive Order Number 15-158, declaring a state of emergency in Dixie, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Taylor Counties, due to severe weather and flooding in those counties.  That emergency declaration, which was effective for 60 days, ended on October 5, 2015.  The 90-day deadline for notifying the issuing authority of the intent to exercise the extension of permits and authorizations for EO 15-158 is January 3, 2016.  

Tropical Storm Erika – Executive Order Number 15-173

On August 28, 2015, the Governor issued Executive Order Number 15-173, declaring a state of emergency throughout the State of Florida, due to the threat of Tropical Storm Erika.  That emergency declaration, which was effective for 60 days, expired on October 27, 2015.  The 90-day deadline for notifying the issuing authority of the intent to exercise the extension of permits and authorizations for EO 15-173 is January 25, 2016.  

Combining Extensions for Executive Orders 15-158 and 15-173

Projects within the area covered by EO 15-158 can take advantage of both extensions, however, the overlapping tolling period cannot be double-counted.  If both extensions are taken, the total time added to a development order or permit is 82 days plus 12 months(tolled time from the beginning of EO 15-158 through the end of EO 15-173, plus a total 12-month extension for the two separate executive orders).  If notice is to be given for both extensions at the same time, notice must be filed by the earlier deadline of January 3, 2016.