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Florida Governor Signs SB 250 into Law

Florida Governor Signs SB 250 into Law

On June 28, 2023, the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 250 (see Chapter 2023-304, Laws of Florida), which makes various amendments throughout the Florida Statutes regarding the preparation and response activities of state and local governments when natural emergencies impact the state. Supporters of Senate Bill 250 (the “Bill”) believe the Bill will help Florida to better recover from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole and be better prepared for future natural emergencies. For convenience, we have summarized material sections of this Bill below.

Sections 1-2 Chapter 2023-304, Laws of Florida

Creating Sections 125.023 and 166.0335, Florida Statutes, to define “temporary shelter” to include a recreational vehicle, trailer, or similar structure placed on a residential property, and provide that following a declaration of a state of emergency for a natural emergency, as defined in Section 252.34(8), Florida Statutes, local governments may not prohibit the placement of one (1) temporary shelter on the residential property for up to thirty-six (36) months after the date of the declaration or until a certificate of occupancy is issued on the permanent residential structure on the property, whichever occurs first, where a permanent residential structure is left uninhabitable if certain criteria is met.

Section 4, Chapter 2023-304, Laws of Florida

For background, Section 252.363(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2022), provided that certain qualifying permits and authorizations are eligible for an extension once a state of emergency for a natural emergency is issued by the Governor for the length of time the state of emergency is in effect, plus an additional six (6) months. The Bill amended Section 252.363(1)(a), Florida Statutes, to allow for an extension of twenty-four (24) months, instead of six (6) months, plus the length of time the state of emergency for a natural disaster is in effect. However, under the Bill, the maximum extension period may not exceed forty-eight (48) months in total in the event of multiple natural emergencies for which the Governor declared a state of emergency. This Section 4 of the Bill applies retroactively to September 28, 2022, the date on which Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida.

A written request for such an extension must still be submitted to the authorizing governmental agency within ninety (90) days after the state of emergency has expired (§252.363(1)(b), Florida Statutes). Six (6) types of permits and authorizations still qualify for an extension under these circumstances:

    1. The expiration of a development order issued by a local government, which includes a wide variety of local government approvals that permit development activities;
    2. The expiration of a building permit;
    3. The expiration of a permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district for management and storage of surface waters pursuant to Part IV of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes;
    4. Consumptive water use permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district pursuant to Part II of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, for land subject to a development agreement under Sections 163.3220-163.3243, Florida Statutes, in which the permittee and the developer are the same or a related entity;
    5. The buildout date of a Development of Regional Impact; and
    6. The expiration of a development permit or development agreement authorized by the Florida Statutes, including those authorized under the Florida Local Government Agreement Act under Section 163.3221, Florida Statutes, or issued by a local government or other governmental agency

Section 12, Chapter 2023-304, Laws of Florida

Creating Section 553.7922, Florida Statutes, to require local governments impacted by a natural emergency and following a state of emergency declared pursuant to Section 252.36, Florida Statutes, to approve special processing procedures to expedite the issuance of certain permits that do not require technical review (e.g., roof repairs, reroofing, electrical repairs, service changes, or the replacement of one window or one door) and to allow local governments to waive permit application and inspection fees for permits expedites under this Section.

Section 13, Chapter 2023-304, Laws of Florida

Amending Section 553.80, Florida Statutes, to restrict local governments in the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declaration for Hurricane Ian or Nicole from raising building inspection fees, as authorized by Section 125.56(2) or Section 166.222, Florida Statutes, and this Section, before October 1, 2024. This Section takes effect as of January 1, 2023, and expires June 30, 2025.

Section 14, Chapter 2023-304, Laws of Florida as further amended by Chapter 2023-349, Laws of Florida

Due to the impacts of Hurricane Ian, Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties, and any municipality located within one of these counties, may not propose or adopt the following before October 1, 2026: (1) any moratorium on the construction, reconstruction, or redevelopment of any property damaged by Hurricane Ian; (2) more restrictive or burdensome amendments to its comprehensive plan or land development regulations; or (3) more restrictive or burdensome procedures concerning review, approval, or issuance of a site plan, development permit, or development order, to the extent that those terms are defined by Section 163.3164, Florida Statutes.  This Section applies retroactively to September 28, 2022, the date on which Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida and expires on June 30, 2027. However, a comprehensive plan amendment, a land development regulation amendment, and a site plan, development permit, or development order approved or adopted by the local government before or after the effective date of this Section may be enforced if certain criteria outlined under this Section are met.

The information provided herein has been prepared for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Katie Berkey, Esq., AICP, is a Board Certified Specialist in City, County and Local Government Law and a certified Professional Planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners; she is also a shareholder with Becker & Poliakoff. Katie represents clients in zoning, land use and planning matters. She serves on the board of directors for Keep Lee County Beautiful, is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Southwest Florida Management Committee and ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative steering committee and serves on the Mothers Esquire Breastfeeding Accommodations Committee. If you want to know more about what options may be available for your current or future development in light of the “Live Local Act,” please do not hesitate to contact Katie.