Opportunity to Extend Development Orders and Building Permits for Approximately 8 Months

Client Alert

Client Alert
December 5, 2019
Florida House Bill 7103 adopted earlier this year amended Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, to limit the ability to extend building permits and authorizations based on certain states of emergency.   Since its adoption in 2011, the tolling and extension provisions of Section 252.363 have been a helpful and effective tool in maintaining the viability of otherwise expiring permits or development orders.  Until the recent amendment, permits and development orders were extended for various states of emergency, ranging from natural disasters, the Zika Virus, and the Opioid Crisis.  Under the revised statute, extensions of time are only available where the state of emergency is issued for a “natural emergency.” Although the statute itself does not define "natural emergency," the staff analysis prepared in connection with the bill defines a “natural emergency” as an emergency that is caused by natural events, including, without limitation, hurricane, storm, flood, severe wave action, drought, or earthquake.

As we head into yearend, it is a good time to review the permit and development approval expiration dates.   Florida was extremely fortunate to avoid the worst of the effects of Hurricane Dorian, and our thoughts remain with the people of the Bahamas.  On August 28, 2019, as amended on August 29, 2019, through Executive Orders 19-189 and 19-190, Governor DeSantis declared a state of emergency in the State of Florida based on Hurricane Dorian. This state of emergency was issued for a "natural emergency" and, therefore, still falls within the limited states of emergency for which extensions may be sought under the statute.  The time for building permits and development orders may be tolled and extended for the sixty (60) days declared in the state of emergency, plus an additional six (6) months so long as the permit holder notifies the local government authority within ninety (90) days after the termination of the emergency declaration of the intent to exercise the tolling and extension afforded under the statute. As the state of emergency was declared on August 28, 2019, the deadline to notify the local government authority of the extension is January 25, 2020. Please note that since this deadline falls on a Saturday, we recommend notifying the government authority no later than Friday, January 24, 2020. Further, certain jurisdictions have standard forms to utilize for notification of the extension.  
 
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Brian S. Adler

Brian S. Adler

Partner
Jennifer E. Fine

Jennifer E. Fine

Associate
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