At 5:00 p.m. on August 31, 2016, Governor Rick Scott issued a state of emergency for 42 counties because of Hurricane Hermine. If you have a project that is subject to permitting requirements, this declaration could be beneficial. That is because the Governor declaring a state of emergency tolls the period remaining to exercise rights under a state or local permit or other authorization for the duration of the emergency plus an additional 6 months, per Section 252.363 of the Florida Statutes.

Executive Order Number 16-205, declaring the state of emergency, expires after 60 days, unless extended. Therefore, your permit could receive an extention of 6 months beyond this 60 day period. Section 252.363 applies to developmental orders, building permits, Department of Environmental Protection and Water Management District permits, and the buildout dates for DRIs. It should be noted, however, that the Governor could shorten this 60 day period through another executive order, thereby shortening the extension.

In order to take advantage of Section 252.363, the holder of the permit or other authorization must notify the county, in writing, identifying the specific permit or authorization for which the holder qualifies for the extension and that holder intends to exercise its rights under the statute. Further, this notice must be given within the statutory time period. On the whole then, it is important to understand the timelines and rights under this statute, as it could allow for significant extensions for the duration of rights under permits or other authorizations.