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Practice Update
New Executive Order for Hurricane Matthew Further Extends Tolling Period for Certain Permits and Approvals
February 7, 2017
By Valerie J. Hubbard, FAICP

Executive Order (EO) 17-16, issued by Governor Scott on January 26, 2017, provides a second 60-day extension of the state of emergency declared for Hurricane Matthew. The original 60-day emergency declaration (EO 16-230), made on October 3, 2016, was extended by 60 days on December 1, 2016 (EO 16-274). Unless further extended, the Hurricane Matthew state of emergency now expires on April 1, 2017.

Florida Statute 252.363 provides an extension for certain permits and authorizations when the Governor declares a state of emergency, effective within the area covered by the emergency declaration. With some exceptions, the extension applies to expiration of local-government-issued development orders (such as rezonings and proportionate share agreements with phasing or expiration dates), building permits, Development of Regional Impact build-out dates, and Environmental Resource Permits issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection or water management districts pursuant to Part IV of Ch. 373, Florida Statutes. These extensions do not apply to federal permits.

The emergency declaration tolls the period remaining to exercise the rights under a permit or other authorization for the duration of the state of emergency and extends the deadline for the permit or authorization for an additional 6 months beyond the tolled period.

Within 90 days after the termination of the emergency declaration, the holder of the permit or authorization must provide written notice to the issuing authority of the intent to exercise the tolling and extension granted. The notice must reference Section 252.363, Florida Statutes, identify the specific permit or other authorization qualifying for extension and identify the particular state of emergency under which the extension is being sought. Because the Hurricane Matthew state of emergency has been extended to April 1, 2017, the deadline for providing notice is now June 30, 2017.

This is one of several emergency declarations issued by the Governor over the past several months for various storms and other events. While multiple extensions may be applicable to some projects under the recent executive orders and each state of emergency provides a separate 6-month extension, overlapping tolling periods cannot be double-counted. Care must therefore be taken in calculating the total amount of time available under the various development approval extensions and to ensure the notice deadlines are met for each applicable extension. In addition, governmental agencies may vary in their approaches to recognizing extension opportunities provided under this statute and to calculating the extension periods and deadlines. Clients are therefore advised not to rely on any such extension until it has been acknowledged by the issuing authority.

This Akerman Practice Update is intended to inform firm clients and friends about legal developments, including recent decisions of various courts and administrative bodies. Nothing in this Practice Update should be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, and readers should not act upon the information contained in this Practice Update without seeking the advice of legal counsel. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome

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