• Use and Development Permits Extended Another 2 years
  • September 27, 2012
  • Law Firm: Bernkopf Goodman LLP - Boston Office
  • The Economic Growth Act was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Patrick on August 8, 2012 to promote job growth and long-term economic recovery.  One way the Act does this is by amending the Permit Extension Act of 2010 to establish an automatic four year extension for qualifying development permits.  The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has posted an updated Permit Extension Act FAQ on its website that provides helpful guidance.
     
    The amended Permit Extension Act applies to local, regional and state permits, with some exceptions (see below), that were in effect or existence during the qualifying period of August 15, 2008 to August 15, 2012.  The resulting 4 year extension runs from the original expiration date for all qualifying permits.  (Originally permits were extended for 2 years.)
     
    A qualifying permit is one that concerns the use or development of real property and that was in effect or existence during the 4 year qualifying period.  A qualifying permit that was originally set to expire on September 1, 2012 will now expire on September 1, 2016.  The Act also revives qualifying permits so that a permit that originally expired on September 1, 2010 is now in effect until September 1, 2014.
     
    The extensions occur automatically and neither the permit holder nor the issuing authority is required to take any action.  A broad range of permits are covered including zoning and subdivision approvals, approvals issued under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act,  waterways permits and licenses, wetlands  permits, permits issued under the state Endangered Species Act, MassHighway access permits, building permits, Smart Growth permits and permits for priority development projects. 
     
    Notably, the Act excludes Comprehensive Permits under Chapter 40B, Massachusetts Historical Commission permits, permits issued by special state authorities such as Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and permits or approvals issued by a state agency pursuant to federal law.  Pre-development permits, such as cleanup permits issued under Chapter 21E, are also excluded.  The Act does not extend enforcement orders or prevent an issuing authority from modifying or revoking a permit or permit extension if it is otherwise authorized to do so by law or regulation, or within the permit itself.