Deadlines Approach to File for Tropical Storm Extensions to Development-Related Approvals


[author: Valerie J. Hubbard, FAICP]

In recognition of the difficult economic conditions of the past few years, the 2011 Florida Legislature provided several new opportunities for substantially extending development approvals. The deadline for exercising most of these extensions is past, but limited extensions are still available under Section 494 of Chapter 2011-142, Laws of Florida, provided notices are timely filed with issuing agencies.  The filing deadlines for these extensions are quickly approaching.

Section 494 provides an extension for permits and authorizations when the Governor declares a state of emergency, effective within the area covered by the emergency declaration.  The emergency declaration tolls the period remaining to exercise the rights under a permit or other authorization for the duration of the emergency declaration and extends the deadline for the permit or authorization for an additional 6 months beyond the tolled period.  With some exceptions, this extension applies to expiration of local-government-issued development orders, building permits, DEP and water management district permits pursuant to part IV of chapter 373 and to DRI build-out dates. 

The holder of the permit or authorization must provide written notice to the issuing authority within 90 days after the termination of the emergency declaration of the intent to exercise the tolling and extension granted.  The notice must identify the specific permit or other authorization qualifying for extension. 

Emergency orders were issued this summer for both Tropical Storm Debby and Tropical Storm Isaac as further outlined below:

Tropical Storm Debby – Executive Order Numbers 12-140 and 12-192

On June 25, 2012, the Governor issued Executive Order Number 12-140, declaring a state of emergency throughout the State of Florida due to the threat of Tropical Storm Debby.  That emergency declaration, which was effective for 60 days, ended in many parts of the state on August 24, 2012.  On August 20, 2012 Executive Order 12-192 extended the previous executive order for another 30 days in the following counties:  Baker, Bradford, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay Collier, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Franklin, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lee, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Nassau, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Suwannee, Taylor, Union and Wakulla.  The executive order extension expired on September 19, 2012. 

The 90-day deadline for notifying the issuing authority of the intent to exercise the extension of permits and authorizations is November 22, 2012 for the areas eligible only for the original 60-day extension and December 18, 2012 for areas eligible for the additional extension under the second executive order. 

Tropical Storm Isaac – Executive Order Number 12-199

On August 25, 2012, the Governor issued Executive Order Number 12-199, declaring a state of emergency throughout the State of Florida due to the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac.  That emergency declaration, which is effective for 60 days, will expire on October 24, 2012, unless extended. 

Unless the emergency order is extended, the 90-day deadline for notifying the issuing authority of the intent to exercise the extension of permits and authorizations is January 22, 2013.

Clients are urged not to delay in filing the notices required to exercise the extensions.  As noted above, the various extensions may or may not apply to specific development approvals.  Akerman can assist clients in determining whether extensions apply and in providing the required notifications to the appropriate agencies. 

Because additional extension opportunities are likely to be provided by Section 494 of  Chapter 2011-142 in the future, development interests should continue to monitor executive orders issued by the Governor declaring a state of emergency. 

Akerman can also assist development interests and local governments in understanding and taking advantage of other opportunities provided by the recent changes in Florida's growth management framework. Akerman offers a full array of lobbying services to represent clients’ interests with regulatory agencies and in the legislative arena, as additional legislative changes are considered.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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