As Florida braces for Hurricane Matthew, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 16-230 on October 3, 2016, covering all of Florida's 67 counties. This and several other recent executive orders present opportunities to extend the expiration of qualified development permits. Our previous update addressed Executive Order 16-136, which was issued in anticipation of Tropical Storm Colin and covers 34 counties. More recently, on August 29, 2016, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 16-204, extending earlier declarations of emergency in 4 counties due to toxic algae blooms related to discharges from Lake Okeechobee (Executive Orders 16-155 and 16-156). On August 31, 2016, Governor Scott issued Executive Orders 16-205 and 16-206, declaring an emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Hermine (then-named Tropical Depression #9) in 51 counties.

Please click on the map below for a full list of how each Executive Order affects each of Florida's counties.

Click here to view image.

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, qualifying permits, including their conditions and obligations, are governed by the laws, administrative rules, and ordinances in effect when the permit was issued. Four types of permits qualify: 

  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 expiration dates of these executive orders may be extended by additional executive orders or amendments. Following this, qualifying 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. The calculation of these tolling and extension periods can be complicated, especially when multiple Executive Orders apply to a jurisdiction, as is now the case in 55 Florida counties. 

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. Eligible development permit holders must meet these deadlines in order to qualify for the statutory benefits. The deadlines to take advantage of these extensions are approaching soon, so development permit holders should quickly evaluate whether their permits qualify.