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House Bill 503 May Extend Permits and Development Orders

Posted Monday, March 26th, 2012

The Florida Legislature adopted House Bill 503, which amended a number of statutes dealing with real estate development and environmental permitting. Once the bill is presented to Governor Scott, he will have 15 days to sign or veto it, or the bill will become law without his signature. If HB 503 becomes law, it will take effect July 1, 2012.

Two-Year Extension

HB 503 grants a two-year extension to “any building permit, and any permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or by a water management district pursuant to part IV of chapter 373, Florida Statutes, which has an expiration date from January 1, 2012, through January 1, 2014.” This extension “includes local government-issued development orders and certificates of levels of service” and generally applies to the mitigation requirements associated with the permits or approvals.

HB 503 operates in addition to any existing permit extension. However, the total extension time may not exceed four years when combined with past extensions granted by the Legislature (§ 47, ch. 2009-96; § 46, ch. 2010-147; § 79, 2011-139, Laws of Fla.). Specific development order extensions granted pursuant to s. 380.06(19)(c)2 cannot be further extended by HB 503. Eligible permit holder must notify the authorizing agency in writing by December 31, 2012 of the permit holder’s intent to extend the permit.

Prohibition on Fees Charged for Extension in 2011 or 2012

HB 503 also prohibits authorizing agencies from charging a fee for the use of an extension granted under this bill; the two-year extension for building permits and development orders in chapter 2011-139, Laws of Florida; or the four-year extensions for DRI buildout dates in chapter 2011-139. This fee prohibition applies retroactively to June 2, 2011.

Other Noteworthy Provisions

For new development permits, HB 503 prevents counties from requiring applicants to obtain a permit or approval from a state or federal agency (unless the agency has denied permit or approval) before the county action on the local development permit. The county, however, may condition an issued development permit on the applicant’s receiving such a state or federal permit or approval.

Anyone with permit or development order of the types mentioned above that is scheduled to expire between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2014 may be affected by HB 503. Any person previously charged a fee for a state permit extension in the past year may also be affected. If you have questions about how this bill may apply to you, please contact Gary Hunter or Jake Cremer.

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