Are You Aware that in July of this year some new laws came into effect in Florida which will affect your Florida land development project. Some of these new Regulations are good and others may be not-so-good. Let me explain…..

The Good

IF you have a land development permit with any of the Water Management districts (St. Johns River, South Florida, or SW Florida), or the FDEP, you may be eligible for a 2 year extension-and it will not cost you anything. Here is how it works. Land development permits issued by the FDEP or the water management districts are known as Environmental Resource Permits (ERP).House Bill (HB) 503 provides for a 2 year extension of certain ERP.

Does Your Project Qualify for the 2 Year Extension?

Let’s see if your project qualifies for this 2 year extension of time.

  1. Does your ERP expire between Jan 1, 2012 and Jan 1, 2014?
  2. Have you previously requested any extensions of time?
  3. If you received extensions of time in 2010 or 2011 under other House Bills you may still qualify.

How Do You Get An Extension Of Time

To get an extension of time you should have your engineer submit a written extension of time letter to the FDEP, SJRWMD, SWFWMD, or the SFWMD before December 31, 2012.In this letter you need to let them know that you want the extension of time. You also need to identify the specific permits that you wish to extend. You must also include a schedule for the construction.

What If You’re Permit Expired

If your permit expired you may still be able to take advantage of this extension of time. Some conditions apply.

Permit Conditions that Won’t Qualify

  1. Is your project substantially out of compliance?
  2. Is your project under a court order?
  3. Do you have wetland impacts?

If you believe that your ERP may qualify for an extension of time speak with your attorney or engineer about this to see if you qualify. Make sure that you get this done “pronto”. Because the deadline for completing the process is December 30, 2012.And there will probably be a bunch of last minute requests and some may fall through the cracks. Don’t be one of them.



Self-Certification of Projects that are Less Than 10 Acres:

If you have a project that is less than 10 acres in size and has less than 2 acres of impervious surface you may be able to avoid the lengthy permitting process through any of the water management districts (SJRWMD, SWFWMD, SFWMD) or the FDEP. This new legislation allows your engineer to self-certify the project. This requires a Professional Engineer that certifies that the project meets the following criteria:

  1. It was designed by a Professional Engineer.
  2. The total area is less than 10 acres and has less than 2 acres of impervious area.
  3. The project isn’t part of a larger master planned project (sorry but you can’t chop a big project in pieces to get around the rules).
  4. No Wetland or Surface water impacts.
  5. The size of the drainage pipes won’t be larger than 24 inches.

Well if you have a small project that qualifies you can by-pass the whole lengthy permitting process with the water management district of the FDEP.

The Maybe Not-So-Good

Uniform Statewide ERP regulations: The State has been working on consolidating the land development regulations of the various Water Management Districts and the FDEP into one set of rules. Presently each water management district and the FDEP have different rules. This is both good and bad. The bad is that there is no uniformity in the rules. So for instance; in Orange County you have both the SJRWMD and the SFWMD. Depending on which side of the line your project is located different rules apply.

Now SJRWMD has some rules that are very good for land development as compared to the SFWMD rules and vice versa. My fear is that the consolidation will mean throwing out all the rules from each district that benefit land development and don’t have a significant impact on the environment. And keeping all the rules from each district that are the most stringent.

For projects in Central Florida this will have a marked difference. The SJRWMD allows you to lower the water table by up to 5 feet in order to create volume for your storm water requirements. This allows you to minimize the size of the pond because you store more of the volume vertically. However, the SFWMD does not allow you to lower the water table. This makes your ponds bigger and subjects more of your developable land to being a retention pond. This means more expensive land for you and lower R.O.I. for your project.

We’ll have to wait and see. The rule making is set for October of this year (that’s 2012).And I’ll keep you posted.

If you would like more information about these rule changes and how it may affect your land development project or would like to receive the full rule so that you can read it yourself, send me an email, call me or drop by the office and I’ll get it to you.

Call Excel Engineering for all your Orlando Civil Engineering and land development needs: 407-260-2292