November 12, 2013

Some Panhandle Development Permits Eligible for Six-Month Extension Due to Tropical Storm Karen Order

Holland & Knight Alert
Lawrence E. Sellers | Joseph G. Goldstein | Janna P. Lhota

A permit and development order extension opportunity is available until January 6, 2014, for 18 Panhandle counties as a result of the threat posed to Florida by recent tropical storm activity. The extension offers an additional six months to complete work under certain permits in the affected counties.

Eligible Permits

Section 252.363, Florida Statutes provides for the tolling of valid permits and other authorizations during the declaration of a state of emergency and an extension of an additional six months following the tolled period. The tolling and extension provisions apply to the expiration of: (1) development orders issued by a local government; (2) building permits; (3) Department of Environmental Protection or water management district permits issued pursuant to part IV of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes; and (4) buildout dates for developments of regional impact (DRIs), including any extension of a buildout date that was previously granted pursuant to Section 380.06(19)(c), Florida Statutes.

Tropical Storm Karen

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Florida in early October in connection with Tropical Storm Karen. Pursuant to Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, the declaration of a state of emergency tolled the period remaining to exercise rights under a permit, development order or other authorization for five days and provides an extension of six months following the tolled period.

Specifically, Executive Order No. 13-282 declared a state of emergency for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Gulf, Calhoun, Jackson, Franklin, Liberty, Gadsden, Wakulla, Leon, Jefferson, Madison and Taylor Counties. This state of emergency was effective as of October 3, 2012 and was terminated on October 8, 2013, pursuant to Executive Order No. 13-283. The extension option only applies to the 18 counties named.

Notification for Extension

The holder of the permit or other authorization must notify the issuing authority of the intent to exercise the tolling and extension. The notice must be in writing and must identify the specific permit or other authorization qualifying for extension. In addition, while the state statute cited above authorizes these extensions, some local governments may require further process to recognize the extensions for local permits. It therefore may be advisable to consult with legal counsel or with the applicable local government or permitting authority to discuss the timing and process for filing the required notice.

Extension Option Deadline is January 6, 2014

To take advantage of the extension, permit holders must notify the issuing authority of their intent to do so in writing within 90 days of the termination of the emergency declaration. As noted, the state of emergency was terminated on October 8, so the deadline for an extension for the affected counties is January 6, 2014.

What This Means for Developers

Because the extension is available only upon written notice by the indicated date, permit holders should review their existing permits and development orders promptly to determine whether they are eligible. Lenders for ongoing development projects also may wish to confirm that their borrowers are taking the necessary steps to avail themselves of these extensions.

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