New Law Alleviates Developer Permit Timelines
Jeffrey L. Rehmeyer II
By: Jeffrey L. Rehmeyer II, Esquire and Joshua J. Bovender, Summer Associate
The Pennsylvania legislature has come to the aid of land developers. On July 6, 2010, Governor Rendell approved the Development Permit Extension Act (Act 46) for land developers. It is intended to aid residential and commercial developers who have been negatively impacted by the economy.
The Act grants an automatic extension to any government agency approval, agreement, permit, or other authorization that allows a construction or municipal development project to proceed. The extension period is defined as follows: any permit that was issued or expires between December 31, 2008 and July 2, 2013 shall be automatically extended until July 2, 2013.
The Act affects approvals under the Township Codes, State Highway Law, Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, Borough Codes, Municipalities Planning Code, Floodplain Management Code, Storm Water Management Act, Dam Safety and Encroachment Act, and Federal Water Pollution Act. The extension of approvals will effectively alleviate the need for a developer to seek a new approval and allow it to benefit by maintaining approval received under prior application. Since the approvals are extended, laws enacted while the approvals remain in place will not be imposed on the developers either.
Certain permits and approvals are not included within the Act. For example, approvals in connection with the Department of Environment Protection regarding exceptional value surface waters or wetlands are not included. There are also a few exceptions specific to the Philadelphia area.
Government agencies are supposed to publish notice of applicability of the extension period under the Act. The notice must be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin by August 5, 2010. Notice should contain a list of permits issued by the Agency to which the extension period will apply.
Government agencies are also required to verify permit extensions by the Act, upon request by any land developer who seeks written verifications. The governing agency is required to respond in writing, either affirming or denying the extension. Upon receipt of a verification request, municipalities should examine the underlying approval, its current effective dates, and the provisions of the Act. Government or municipal entities may charge up to a $100 verification fee for residential permits and a $500 verification fee for commercial permits. If the entity does not respond within thirty (30) days, however, the extension automatically applies.
Many parties were involved in the creation of this law, so interpretation of its various provisions is challenging. If you have any questions about the Act or would like more information, please contact an attorney in the CGA Law Firm Municipal Law Practice Group at 717-848-4900.