Pennsylvania Extends Building Permit Approvals to July 2016

As States continue efforts to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, Pennsylvania has enacted an important amendment to the Permit Extension Act that will extend the life of certain zoning and land-use permits and approvals to July 2016.

Embedded in a finance bill (S.B. 1263, Act 87), the law was enacted by the Pennsylvania legislature June 30 and signed into law by Governor Corbett July 2.

The original Act, passed in 2010, provided that certain development permits, agreements, authorizations, and decisions valid at any time beginning on January 1, 2009, could remain in effect until July 1, 2013. The new law extends permits at least an additional three years, and owing to its “tolling” effect, may extend permits beyond July 1, 2016. This will be a major benefit to development in Pennsylvania.

An important difference applies in Philadelphia. Unlike other municipalities—where the extension for most permits is automatic—Philadelphia requires the formality of an application to the Department of Licenses & Inspections. Except for the change in the extension period, the Act remains in effect as originally passed and will provide further relief to owners and developers holding valid permits as they wait for the economy to rebound. Permits that have been revoked are not eligible for extension.