How does the permitting process work?
The HCP outlines the total acres of “take” (impact) that can occur within the 30-year lifespan of the HCP. These acreages are broken into five-year increments, which are further divided by zoning category. Once the allowed impact acreage is allocated for each zoning category, no more permits may be issued until the next five-year cycle begins.
Escambia County issues permits on a first-come, first-serve basis. Permits cannot be issued until all plans have been approved and the impact fees have been paid in full.
Is there another avenue for developing on Perdido Key?
Property owners can choose to apply to the USFWS regional office directly for an Incidental Take Permit. For more information on the process visit: https://www.fws.gov/endangered/permits/how-to-apply.html
How long does it take to get a permit?
As many of the conservation measures involve project siting and design, it is strongly recommended the permitting process run concurrently with project development. Escambia County will not issue a permit until final site plans, including lighting, landscaping and other mitigation measures, have been reviewed and approved. Because of this, the beach mouse permit is typically issued when a project is nearing final developmental approval and pre-construction. The Beach Mouse permit is separate from the County Building Permit, and the Beach Mouse permit must be issued first.
Once a complete application has been submitted and approved, property owners can expect a permit within two business weeks.
Can I, the property owner, apply for a permit on my own?
Yes, however many property owners choose to work with an environmental consultant to assist in the development of a Habitat Management Plan and permit requirements. If you have questions about what this entails, please contact our office. A qualified consultant is highly encouraged to ensure coordination across all parties involved in building a home.