Statutory Authority for State of Emergency Extensions in Florida

As explained in our earlier blog posts, Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, provides that certain qualifying permits and authorizations can obtain extensions following a declared State of Emergency for the amount of time the declaration was in effect, plus an additional six months.

In order to obtain an extension under the statute, the applicant must submit a written request to the authorizing agency within 90 days after the State of Emergency has expired.

The State of Emergency for Heavy Rainfall Has Expired

On February 3, 2016, the Governor issued Executive Order 16-30, declaring a 15 day State of Emergency for Heavy Rainfall. In Executive Order Numbers 16-43 and 16-64, this State of Emergency was extended for a total of 30 additional days. Thus, the Heavy Rainfall State of Emergency, which finally expired on March 19, 2016, was in effect for a total of 45 days.

Applicants wishing to extend their permit for a total of 6 months and 45 days under Executive Order Number 16-30 (as extended by 16-43 and 16-64) will have until  to submit a written request with the authorizing agency.

The State of Emergency for Lake Okeechobee Has Also Expired

On February 26, 2016, the Governor issued Executive Order 16-59 declaring a State of Emergency for Lake Okeechobee discharges. By statutory default, this declaration was in effect for a total of 60 days and therefore recently expired on April 26, 2016. Unlike the State of Emergency declared for Heavy Rainfall, Executive Order 16-59 was never extended by the Governor.

Accordingly, applicants wishing to extend their qualifying permits for a total of 6 months and 60 days under Executive Order 16-59 must submit their written requests to the authorizing agency by July 25, 2016.

Bottom Line

Although these permit extensions are not discretionary and have been routinely granted by local governments and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), time is of the essence when determining eligibility. Applicants who act diligently under both the Heavy Rainfall and Lake Okeechobee States of Emergency have the opportunity to extend their projects for a total of 1 year and 105 days (6 months and 45 days + 6 months and 60 days).

If you are a permit holder in Lee County and believe that you may benefit from an extension under this provision of the Florida Statutes, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Photo courtesy of Dafne Cholet under Flickr Creative Commons License