COVID-19 and Land Use Needs: What You Need to Know

April 7, 2020

Dear Clients and Friends,

We hope that you and your families are staying safe and healthy.  Our firm’s transition to remote work has proven seamless.  We are fully operational and working collaboratively with our clients, project teams, industry partners and local government officials to ensure that our matters, from acquisition due diligence, project design, and entitlements to permitting, inspections, and licensing, are moving forward.

During these uncertain times, you may be concerned about the ability to proceed with your development approvals and building permits, or comply with conditions related to milestones and timelines for phased construction projects.  No one can predict how long the unique circumstances surrounding this pandemic will last.  Fortunately, there may be a simple solution to extend the time in which you have to act on your approvals and preserve their validity.

On March 9, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order No. 20-52, which declared a State of Emergency regarding COVID-19, the Coronavirus Disease.  The State of Emergency for COVID-19 is currently set to end on May 8, 2020 (60 days from March 9, 2020).   The Governor may further extend the State of Emergency by 60-day intervals.

In accordance with Florida Statute Section 252.363, development approvals and building permits issued by local governments are tolled and extended during the State of Emergency plus 6 months.  Accordingly, at the present moment, the extension period is approximately 8 months.

The statute requires the owner/permit holder to notify the issuer of the approval of the intent to exercise the tolling and extension granted within 90 days after the emergency declaration termination.  The current deadline to file an extension notification is August 6, 2020 for COVID-19 notifications (90 days from the end date of the State of Emergency); of course the notice may be filed at any time before this deadline.

We are available to advise you on the current expiration date of your development approval or building permit, determine your eligibility for an extension of time in light of the current State of Emergency, and file the appropriate extension notification in accordance with each local government’s specific procedure before the deadline.

We look forward to hearing from you and wish you all the best.

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