Real Estate Development 102: It’s a State of Emergency! What Happens to Your Building Permits and Development Orders?

By: Quentin Morgan

In this blog post, Quentin Morgan, an attorney with Brinkley Morgan’s local government law and relations practice, informs readers about how state emergency management laws affect building permits and development orders.

Florida’s State Emergency Management Act was created to reduce the vulnerability of the people and property of the state through enhanced coordination, long-term planning, and adequate funding. This policy is intended to support local emergency response efforts where the needs of residents and communities will likely be greater than local resources.  To that end, the Act confers unto the Governor, and other state and local government officials, emergency management powers.

Specifically, the powers confer upon the Governor the authority to declare a state of emergency by executive order or proclamation of the Governor if she or he finds an emergency has occurred or that the occurrence or the threat thereof is imminent.  Such state of emergency shall continue until the Governor finds that the threat or danger has been dealt with to the extent that the emergency conditions no longer exist and she or he terminates the state of emergency by executive order or proclamation. However, no state of emergency may continue for longer than 60 days unless renewed by the Governor or unless such executive order or proclamation is extended by the Governor.

Building Permits and Development Orders

Florida law provides, in many circumstances, that the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor tolls the period remaining to exercise the rights under a building permit or development order for the duration of the emergency declaration. Further, the emergency declaration extends the period remaining to exercise the rights under a building permit or development order for 6 months in addition to the tolled period.

On February 10, 2017, the Governor extended several prior Executive Orders related to the state of emergency declared to address the multitude of public health concerns related to the Zika virus for 60 days.  This means that if you have a building permit or development order that was issued by a city or county, then you may be able to have the time remaining to exercise the rights under a building permit or development order tolled and extended before the building permit or development order expires.

Impact on Developers and Homeowners

The February 10, 2017 Executive Order issued by the Governor may allow you additional time to complete your project.  Whether your permit or development order was recently obtained or about to expire, I would advise that you seek the counsel of an attorney to have your permit or development order evaluated to determine whether you can request the extensions from the city or county and to assist you with the process to obtain the extensions.

Quentin Morgan focuses his practice on public procurement, local government law, land development, estate, business and financial transactions, litigation, and wills, trusts and probate proceedings. He is a member of the American, Florida and Broward County Bar Associations and is admitted before the Florida State Courts and U.S. District Court for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida.


The material appearing on this blog is meant to provide general information only and is not a substitute for nor is it legal advice to you. With regard to specific law issues, readers of this article should seek specific advice from legal counsel of their choice. Articles may not be reprinted without the express permission of Brinkley Morgan.

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By |2017-03-29T10:00:19+00:00March 29th, 2017|Blog, Local Government Law and Relations, Real Estate|