What follows are updates meant to help our clients, families and friends as they struggle to recover in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which traveled up the entire state of Florida beginning the weekend of Sept. 8, 2017.

Florida Keys

  • Town hall meeting is being planned for Sunday, Sept. 17, in Cutler Bay on the status of recovery in Key West ~ Sept. 14 @ 6:30 p.m. via Commissioner Kaufman
  • FEMA is going to be setting up a “Roof Tarp” Project in Monroe County to cover roofs on homes that can be saved. The information should be up soon on this site They are in the process of getting contractors and the program should be available soon ~ Sept. 14 via Summerland Cove Civic Association
  • Monroe County Emergency Management:
  • Monroe County BOCC Facebook page is posting regular updates as are several of the individual commissioners. This is a reliable source we can link to for general updates on the Keys.
  • Keys energy power restoration estimates are approximate at this point but for KW to lower Sugarloaf the majority will likely be restored within the week. For upper Sugarloaf to the Seven Mile Bridge restoration will be longer due to significant damage.” ~ Sept. 13 @ 4:55 p.m. via Keys Electric
  • United Way of the Florida Keys is accepting donations, 
Hurricane Irma September 2017

Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, September 2017.


Emergency response

State offices

As of Sept. 13, state offices remain closed in the following counties: Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Jefferson, Lake, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Palm Beach, St. Johns and St. Lucie. Additional state building may closed as well. A full list of closures may be found here:

As of Sept. 13, the capitol is now open.

Emergency powers of the governor, statute 252.36,


As of Sept. 13, trial courts, District Courts of Appeal, Florida Supreme Court, and Office of State Courts Administrator closures: Many trial courts and some district courts have opened back up. However, there are some that remain closed through today and even through Friday. Closures may be checked at this site: The Supreme Court and OSCA are open as normal today.

Environmental & Land Use (permitting, etc)

Gov. Scott issued an Executive Order prior to passage of Hurricane Irma declaring a state of emergency in Florida. It authorized suspension of statutes, rules and orders of Florida agencies.

Of particular interest is Section 4B, which authorizes state agencies to suspend any statute, order or rule that may in any way prevent, hinder or delay action in coping with the emergency. If compliance or safety issues arise due to rule or permit limits, such a suspension can be helpful. Also, if relief is needed to allow repair or rebuilding, the Executive Order may also be applicable.

The suspension must be done by emergency order or rule. Emergency relief should be requested as soon as possible, when it is known that relief may be needed. Gunster attorneys have templates for Petitions for Emergency Order or Rule to state or local agencies, which may be helpful, if needed.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have also made provision for withholding enforcement action in certain situations arising due to the storm. However, prompt notice is required regarding noncompliance and corrective actions. Copies of these documents are also available from Gunster attorneys.

The Emergency Order will remain in effect for 60 days from September 4, 2017.

Post-storm guidance: Coastal construction control line, ~ Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Sept. 20

Fort Lauderdale: 90-day building code enforcement policy after Irma: The following policy relates to repairs needed as a result of damages caused by hurricane Irma over the next 90 calendar-day period. ~ from the City of Fort Lauderdale Economic and Community Investment Division, via email 9/20/17 (phone: 954-828-6520)


  • Existing fence repair (compliance with local code applies)
  • Minor roof – shingle, individual tile pieces and membrane only
  • Landscaping – removal of destroyed trees and site landscape (Replacement trees and landscaping to meet minimum code
  • requirements for the site. Use Right-Tree-Right-Place principles and City’s recommended plant list
  • Non-structural replacements (i.e. car canopies, gazebos, awnings, etc…)
  • Minor irrigation repairs
  • Window and Door component repairs and replacement (structural framing requires permit, please see below)
  • Screen enclosure and pool barrier repair (non-structural)
  • Existing docks and mooring (no additions, extensions or alterations)

PERMITS REQ’D (no fees) – 48 hours to file permit application after the fact

  • A/C unit replacement
  • Structural repairs for windows and doors
  • Structural repairs for roofing
  • Existing shed replacement (must be placed in the same location as original)
  • Structural repair/replacement (i.e. car canopies, gazebos, awnings, etc…)
  • Existing seawall repair (must comply with current seawall ordinance)

PERMITS REQ’D (with fees)

  • All new construction
  • New structural construction for renovations, alterations and remodeling
  • All other permits other than those listed above

Tax relief & financial assistance

Power outages

From the Public Service Commission website,


As of Sept. 13, 11 of the state’s 12 universities will be closed amid recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma. The only university scheduled to be open is the University of West Florida.

LAST UPDATED 9/25/17. This Gunster blog post will be updated as more information is received.


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