hurricane-92968_1280On October 3, 2016, in response to a five-day forecast from the National Hurricane Center for Hurricane Matthew, a major storm which is expected to impact large portions of the east coast, the Governor issued Executive Order Number 16-230 declaring a 60 day State of Emergency throughout every Florida county.

Legal Authority for State of Emergency Permit Extensions

As I have explained in recent blog posts, Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, provides that certain qualifying permitees are entitled to extensions following a declared State of Emergency for the amount of time the declaration was in effect, plus an additional six (6) months. In order to obtain such an extension under this statute, permitees are required to submit a written notification to the appropriate authorizing agency (i.e., City, County, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), or Water Management District) within 90 days after the State of Emergency has expired.

Development Permits Eligible for State of Emergency Permit Extensions

According to Section 252.363, the following types of development permits can be extended following a declared State of Emergency:

  1. Development orders issued by a local government;
  2. Building permits;
  3. Permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district pursuant to part IV of chapter 373, Florida Statutes;
  4. Buildout dates of a development of regional impact (“DRI”), including any extension of a buildout date that was previously granted pursuant to section 380.06(19)(c), Florida Statutes; and
  5. Commencement and completion dates for required mitigation in phased developments

What’s the Legal Scoop?

Unless further action is taken by the Governor to extend Executive Order 16-230 before its expiration, projects throughout Florida are entitled to a 60 day and six (6) month extension under Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, if a written notification is submitted to the appropriate authorizing agency between the dates of December 2, 2016, and March 2, 2017.

It should also be noted that certain projects, such as those with permits in Lee County, may be eligible for separate permit extensions under the States of Emergency recently declared for the Zika Virus (E.O. 16-149, as amended by E.O. 16-193) and Lake Okeechobee Algae Blooms (E.O. 16-155, as amended by E.O. 16-156 and 16-204), so long as permitees are diligent in submitting their written notifications to the appropriate authorizing agencies before January 16, 2017 and January 26, 2017, respectively.

If you are a property owner or developer in Florida and believe that you may benefit from either of the statutory State of Emergency extensions described above, please contact Henderson Franklin’s Environmental and Land Use Department at Henderson Franklin’s Fort Myers office by dialing (239) 344-1178 or reach me via email at austin.turner@henlaw.com.