March 2nd Deadline for Zika-Based Tolling of Development Orders and Permits

Bilzin Sumberg Client Alert

Client Alert
January 11, 2018
Section 252.363 of the Florida Statutes permits a tolling of development orders and permits upon the declaration of a state of emergency by the Florida Governor. The statute provides that the tolling lasts throughout the state of emergency, plus an additional six months.

While the Governor had previously extended the June 23, 2016 State of Emergency related to the Zika Virus on eight separate occasions, the last extension, issued on October 3, 2017 was not further extended and expired December 2, 2017. Therefore, the total duration of the Zika Virus State of Emergency is 527 days. With the additional six months permitted by Section 252.363, the total extension available for development orders and permits is almost two years. Those looking to take advantage of this tolling opportunity must notify the applicable local government authority within 90 days of the termination of the State of Emergency, or by March 2, 2018.

Please note that different jurisdictions have different notification requirements. The Zika Virus State of Emergency applies to the following Counties: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Clay, Collier, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Highlands, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Santa Rosa, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia Counties.

There may be an opportunity to further extend this tolling period with the addition of the Hurricane Irma State of Emergency. On September 4, 2017 Governor Scott issued Executive Order 17-235 declaring a State of Emergency for all counties in Florida relating to Hurricane Irma. The Governor subsequently extended the State of Emergency twice, resulting in a current expiration date of February 27, 2018. It is unsettled whether the two states of emergency may be combined or if both additional six-month periods granted by Section 252.363 may be applied to the same permit or development order. The most liberal interpretation would allow the full state of emergency plus six months for both Hurricane Irma and the Zika Virus. Alternatively, local governments may allow the addition of the 87 days of the Hurricane Irma state of emergency that extend beyond the December 2, 2017 expiration of the Zika Virus state of emergency for a total tolling period of 614 days plus one six-month period for development orders and permits in eligible counties and cities.

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