The Permit Extension Act – They Did It Again

Those approval stamps are good for another four years.

It looks like the State House has done it again, issuing a second round of the Permit Extension Act.  Gov. Patrick signed into law “An Act Relative to Infrastructure Investment, Enhanced Competitiveness and Economic Growth in the Commonwealth” on August 7th, 2012 which includes provisions relative to the extensions of all permits.

Essentially, if you had a permit “in effect or existence” during the qualifying period beginning on August 15, 2008 and August 15, 2012, that permit is automatically extended for four years beyond its expiration date.  Now, aside from hunting and fishing permits, 40B permits, or anything issued by the Federal government, this is good for any local or state issued permit.   From the State’s FAQ page, ““Approval” is defined broadly to include any permit, certificate, license, certification, determination, exemption, variance, waiver, building permit, or other approval or determination of rights, and any order, except for enforcement orders.”  These include MEPA, MassDOT, building permits, special permits, orders of conditions from the Wetland Protection Act (WPA), Natural Heritage permits, Chapter 91 licenses, or any other permit relating to land development.

Prime Engineering always advises our clients that permit protection is an important part of land development in Massachusetts.  Thanks to this recent legislation, that process just got a little easier.  Of course, if you don’t have any permits to protect, we can help you with that too!



So, who wants a solar farm?

In the last couple of years, we have found ourselves permitting more and more Solar Farms.  Many of our clients have found that land which was previously difficult to develop, is now a great spot to site a ground mounted photo-voltaic solar installation.  Sites that were previously thought undevelopable due to the need for large wetland crossings, poor soil, or zoning issues, are often perfect candidates.

We have had great success permitting these type of projects in Massachusetts towns such as Swansea, Dartmouth, Freetown, Raynham, Carver, and New Bedford.  Our success comes from our experience in permitting many other innovative projects throughout the Commonwealth.  The key is choosing the right permitting strategy early on. Many solar developers stumble in this area since more typical roof mounted systems only require a building permit.  By teaming with Prime, solar developers are able to succeed in obtaining the necessary permits and actually start putting panels on the ground instead of spinning their wheels at the town hall.

Recently, two of our engineers, Rich Rheaume and Evan Watson gave a presentation to one of our favorite Solar clients, Borrego Solar.  The presentation was created to help solar developers understand the importance of choosing the right consultant when attempting to permit their proposals.  

Whether you’re a solar developer or a land owner with land you thought was undevelopable, contact us to see how we can help get those panels on the ground.