Don't Miss the December 31, 2012 Deadline for a Two-Year Extension Under House Bill 503

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[author: Valerie J. Hubbard, FAICP]

There have been a multitude of development approval extensions available over the past few years. The deadlines for taking advantage of most of these opportunities have passed. The deadline for exercising the remaining two-year extension provided under 2012 House Bill 503 (chapter 2012-205, Laws of Florida) is swiftly approaching. While the criteria for this extension limits its applicability, it presents an opportunity for many projects, particularly those that missed past extensions or were recently approved.

The extension applies to building permits and permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district pursuant to part IV of chapter 373, Florida Statutes, with an expiration date from January 1, 2012 through January 1, 2014. The extension includes local government-issued development orders and building permits including certificates of levels of service. The commencement and completion dates for required mitigation associated with a phased construction project are likewise extended.

This extension can be combined with certain other extensions, but cannot be taken by DRIs that received the four-year DRI extension under section 54 of the Community Planning Act. In addition, it cannot be combined with the two-year extensions under section 14 of chapter 2009-96, Laws of Florida, as reauthorized by section 47 of chapter 2010-147, Laws of Florida; section 46 of chapter 2010-147, Laws of Florida; or section 73 or 79 of the Community Planning Act to exceed four years in total.

To exercise the extension, the holder of the permit or authorization must provide written notice to the authorizing agency by December 31, 2012, identifying the authorization being extended and the anticipated timeframe for acting on the authorization.  There are some limitations on the ability to exercise the extension. House Bill 503 also precludes local governments from charging for the use of this extension or for the use of the two-year extensions provided under the Community Planning Act.

If you are filing for this two-year extension, you should also consider whether it is advisable to file at the same time for the Tropical Storm Isaac extension, which in most counties amounts to 6 months and 60 days, with a deadline of  January 22, 2013 for providing notice to the issuing agency. In certain counties, where the Governor's emergency order was extended, the extension totals 6 months and 88 days, with a notice deadline of February 19, 2013. Additional information regarding the Tropical Storm Isaac extension is provided in our October 19 and October 31 Practice Updates. Bear in mind that use of the tropical storm extension may affect the applicability of the two-year extension under HB 503, by affecting a project's ability to meet the January 1, 2012 through January 1, 2014 criterion for the two-year extension. A coordinated approach to filing the notices is therefore needed.

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

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.