Two recent executive orders present opportunities to extend the expiration of development permits in 36 Florida counties. On June 6, 2016, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 16-136, declaring an emergency in anticipation of Tropical Storm Colin in 34 counties from the Gulf to the Atlantic coasts in North Florida, parts of Central Florida, and the Panhandle. On June 29, 2016, Governor Scott declared an emergency in two counties due to toxic algae blooms related to discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

As a result, some development permits may be extended in the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla Counties.

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Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, provides that the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor tolls - or delays - the expiration of certain permits during an emergency, and may extend the expiration of those permits for six months. Any phases of these permits may also be extended. Generally, permits that are extended are governed by the laws, administrative rules, and ordinances in effect when the permit was issued. Four types of permits are eligible:

  1. a development order issued by a local government, which includes a wide variety of local government approvals that permit development activities;
  2. a building permit;
  3. a permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district pursuant to part IV of chapter 373; and
  4. the buildout date of a development of regional impact.

The executive orders expire on August 5 and 28, 2016, respectively, but may be amended beyond that. Following this, eligible permit holders may toll expiration dates based on the duration of the emergency declaration and extend those dates by an additional six months. Other legal provisions may be used in conjunction with these extensions to provide further benefits. To take advantage of these extensions, the permit holder must appropriately notify the issuing agency in writing within 90 days of the expiration of the emergency declaration.