November 17, 2015

Florida Development Permits Eligible for Extension Due to Tropical Storm Erika Order

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

A permit and development order extension opportunity is available until Jan. 25, 2016, as a result of Florida's declaration of a state of emergency for Tropical Storm Erika.

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 Erika

On Aug. 28, 2015, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order No. 15-173, declaring a state of emergency in connection with Tropical Storm Erika. 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 the duration of the state of emergency (60 days) and provides an extension of six months following the tolled period.

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 additional information 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 Jan. 25, 2016

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 Oct. 27, 2015, so the deadline for an extension is Jan. 25, 2016.

What This Means for Developers and Lenders

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.

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult competent legal counsel.

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