Governor Scott recently expanded the previously declared State of Emergency issued for the Zika Virus, allowing holders of permits and development orders an even greater opportunity to toll the period remaining to exercise rights under the permit or order for more than 19 months. Section 252.363 of the Florida Statutes permits a tolling of development orders and permits upon the declaration of a state of emergency by the Florida Governor. The statute provides that the tolling lasts throughout the state of emergency, plus an additional six months.

On June 23, 2016, Governor Scott declared a State of Emergency in response to the Zika Virus. Because each declared state of emergency can last only for 60 days, the Governor has since extended the Zika Virus State of Emergency six times, with the most recent extension occurring on June 8, 2017. Thus, the total duration of the Zika Virus State of Emergency is now 410 days.

Because the Florida Statute authorizes the tolling of development orders for six months in addition to the duration of the state of emergency, the total extension available for the Zika Virus State of Emergency is 410 days plus six months. The total tolled period is, consequently, 594 days, or about 19.5 months.

Individuals that would like to take advantage of this tolling opportunity must notify the applicable local government authority within 90 days of the termination of the State of Emergency, or by November 5, 2017. Please note that different jurisdictions have different notification requirements. The Zika Virus State of Emergency applies to the following Counties: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Clay, Collier, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Highlands, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Santa Rosa, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia Counties.