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Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board Finds that Permit Extension Act Tolls Permit Expiration Date for Developers

April 22, 2014

In July of 2010, the Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted the Permit Extension Law to provide relief to the building industry impacted by the economic downturn.  The relief was in the form of an automatic extension of permit terms and the terms of other government agency approvals.  Initially, permit terms were extended until July 2, 2013.  In 2012, the General Assembly lengthened the permit extension period to July 2, 2016.  Because of ambiguity in the law, it was unclear to many whether an extended permit would automatically expire at the end of the extension period or whether the extended permit would remain in full force and effect for some longer period.  In Limerick Partners I, LP, v. DEP, EHB Docket No. 2012-185-M, the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board ruled that an extended permit would not expire at the end of the extension period.  Instead, the EHB found that the law suspended or tolled the permit expiration date, so that after the expiration of the extension period (i.e., July 2, 2016), a permittee is further entitled to the unused or unexpired permit term, representing the period from the beginning of the extension period to the original permit expiration date.  See also In re: Appeal of Keystone Custom, Inc. and Fox Clearing LLC, (Lancaster County CCP No. CI-10-03933) 2010 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. 697 (Oct. 22, 2010).  Limerick Partners is a decision of an administrative tribunal and not binding on appellate courts and other tribunals.  It does, however, provide a reasoned opinion for providing additional relief to the building industry that was hit so hard by the recent economic climate. 


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