Florida Law Extends Permit Extensions and Addresses Natural Emergencies

Debashis

Well-known member
Sep 5, 2023
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Important changes have been implemented in Florida regarding permits and approvals, prompted by the aftermath of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole in 2022, and outlined in Senate Bill 250. Under this new legislation, the extension period for specific permits, in the wake of a state of emergency declaration, has been extended from six to 24 months, with a maximum cap of 48 months for multiple natural emergencies. This significant extension, effective retroactively from September 28, 2022, aims to address the challenges posed by disaster recovery. Furthermore, the law mandates expedited processing for certain permits and restricts counties or municipalities within 100 miles of the hurricane landfall from imposing construction, reconstruction, or redevelopment moratoriums until October 1, 2024. For comprehensive details, please refer to the complete article here.
 
Location
Florida, United States
According to the article, the new law "provides that upon the declaration of a state of emergency, permits and other authorizations are tolled for the duration of the declaration." I believe this means that permit application review deadlines, i.e., the legally required amount of time that local governments have to act on permit applications per their municipal codes, are extended to give permit offices more room to operate in the wake of natural disasters when volume of requests is likely to be high. Not sure anyone else has experience with tolling as applies to permit reviews but I'd be interested in hearing if someone else has thoughts they can share on this.

Other parts of the law make sense, especially considering the series of destructive hurricanes that have hit Florida over the last two years (Idalia this year and Ian/Nicole last year). Namely, the state is now requiring that local jurisdictions impacted by emergencies expedite certain permit types not requiring technical reviews (roof repairs, reroofing, electrical repairs, service changes or the replacement of one window or one door) while also prohibiting construction moratoriums. These new requirements represent a much higher level of state control over local government permitting than was previously the case and speak to the state's desire for a more consistent, predictable, and fair approach to permitting in response to natural disasters.
 
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