A building permit extension bill, designed to help Pennsylvania’s struggling homebuilders survive the continuing economic downturn, has been signed into law by Governor Ed Rendell.
The Pennsylvania Permit Extension Act gives developers who have already lined up just about any kind of state or local permit--building, water, sewer or road--until July 2, 2013 to break ground on the project without having to secure a new permit.
In seeking passage of the legislation, developers argued that the economy has put many projects on hold due to a lack of consumer demand or diminished access to financing. As a result, permits acquired before or since the downturn have been expiring.
They warned that, if developers and landowners lost their permits and were forced to reapply when the economy recovers, construction projects would be further delayed.
Pennsylvania lawmakers may also have taken some cues from neighboring New Jersey where a law, enacted two years ago, extended existing permits through July 1, 2010. The Legislature recently extended that period until Dec. 31, 2012.
Environmental organizations in both states opposed the legislation.