Sanchez bill would add permit extension provisions during emergency declaration

HARRISBURG, June 11 – State Rep. Ben Sanchez, D-Montgomery, recently introduced legislation that would provide for permit extensions provisions during a disaster or emergency declaration by the governor in Pennsylvania.

Proposed in late May and officially filed this week, H.B. 2586 would give permit holders the ability to delay the expiration of existing permits that were issued before a disaster declaration took effect.

“In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Act 15 of 2020 provided the ability for municipalities to meet remotely,” Sanchez said. “It also allowed for the suspension of time frames for considering applications filed with municipal boards and commissions. However, it did not sufficiently address the expiration of permits that were issued prior to the emergency declaration. This legislation would help address recovery after future emergency declarations by adding time to the life of permits so that projects crucial to economic recovery would remain shovel-ready after the crisis has passed.”

Specifically, H.B. 2586 would do the following:

  • Add a section providing that the rights granted by an existing permit could remain in effect during the duration of a disaster or emergency declaration by the governor.
  • Those rights could be extended for an additional 90 days beyond the expiration period of a permit.
  • Requires the permit holder to notify within 30 days the issuing authority, in writing, of the intent to exercise the permit extension.

This legislation, Sanchez said, was modeled after a Florida statute and inspired by similar Pennsylvania legislation extending the life of permits that was passed in 2009 to aid recovery in the wake of an international economic crisis.