On July 6, 2010, Governor Rendell signed the Fiscal Code Bill (Senate Bill 1042), providing, in part, for the automatic suspension, during the "extension period" (which begins after December 31, 2008, and ends before July 2, 2013), of approvals granted by a government agency for or in effect during the extension period, whether obtained before or after the beginning of the extension period. This new legislation is a significant benefit, to Pennsylvania developers and landowners hurt by the recession. Significantly, certain permits and approvals that may have expired since December 31, 2008, may no longer be considered to have expired, but have been suspended since January 1, 2009, thereby buying a developer or landowner significant additional time.

There are exceptions, however. For example, the suspension is not automatic in Philadelphia. In addition, Highway Occupancy Permits can only be extended by the Department of Transportation upon the submission of a complete and accurate application throughout the extension period for one year intervals. Further, any approval issued by the Department of Environmental Protection for a discharge into exceptional value or high quality waters is not subject to the automatic suspension. Any holder or recipient of an approval may seek written verification from the issuing government agency for any of the following: (1) the existence of a valid approval; and/or (2) the expiration date of the approval under the new legislation.

A copy of the legislation can be viewed here:  www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm