Property owners, developers, construction industry professionals, and other permit- and authorization-holders may seek a longer extension of their qualifying entitlements due to the Governor extending the Hurricane Ian state of emergency even further. The following provides an overview of the permit extensions available under law, including what gives rise to the extensions, the types of permits and authorizations that are covered, and how long your extension could potentially be. Because every situation is unique, Katie Berkey, Esq., AICP at Becker can advise you on whether and how this law can apply to your particular case.
Qualifying for the Extension
On September 23, 2022, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 2022-218, declaring a 60-day a state of emergency, unless extended further, for several counties in Florida in light of Tropical Depression Nine, which later strengthened into Tropical Storm Ian, and then into Hurricane Ian. On September 24, 2022, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 2022-219 to make the prior Executive Order applicable to the entire state. On November 21, 2022, January 19, 2023, March 17, 2023, May 15, 2023, July 13, 2023, and September 8, 2023 respectively, the Governor extended the state of emergency another 300 days collectively under Executive Order Nos. 22-268, 23-21, 23-60, 23-104, 23-139, and 23-179.
As a result of these sequential Executive Orders, qualifying permit-holders can extend certain permits and authorizations for a total of 24 months and 420 days as long as they follow the procedures set forth in the orders. It is important to note, however, that under Section 252.363(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2023), which applies retroactively to September 28, 2022 as the date on which Hurricane Ian made landfall, the maximum extension period may not exceed 48 months in total in the event of multiple natural emergencies for which the Governor declared a state of emergency.
Six types of permits and authorizations qualify for an extension under these circumstances:
- The expiration of a development order issued by a local government, which includes a wide variety of local government approvals that permit development activities
- The expiration of a building permit
- The expiration of a permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district for management and storage of surface waters pursuant to Part IV of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes
- Consumptive water use permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district pursuant to Part II of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, for land subject to a development agreement under Sections 163.3220-163.3243, Florida Statutes, in which the permittee and the developer are the same or a related entity
- The buildout date of a Development of Regional Impact
- The expiration of a development permit or development agreement authorized by the Florida Statutes, including those authorized under the Florida Local Government Agreement Act under Section 163.3221, Florida Statutes, or issued by a local government or other governmental agency.
Notifying the Authorities That You Are Invoking Your Right to an Extension
You do not need to apply to a government agency to get permission to extend qualifying permits and authorizations. Rather, the extension occurs as a matter of law as long as you supply a written notification of your intent to exercise your right under the statute to the appropriate government body within the allotted time period.
How Becker Can Help
If you hold permits or other authorizations in Florida and would like assistance in reviewing and evaluating possible opportunities for extension to preserve your development rights, please contact Katie Berkey, Esq., AICP.