Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs has appointed a 9-member task force to review environmental regulations, in an effort to reduce duplication and improve the permitting process. Orange County Environmental Protection Department’s Environmental Streamlining Task Force held a meeting 7-20-11 to review of our Natural Resource ordinances.
FDEP spoke about the SLERP which is the State Lands and Resources Environmental Permit. They explained that they serve the Governor, Secretary, Army Corp, SJRWMD and SFWMD as well as the Board of Trustees of the Internal Resources.
They stated that almost all work on land, wetlands and water bodies requires an Environmental Resource Permit. Some of the projects the review include marinas, docks and seawalls.
The State’s streamlining efforts include giving more exemptions, Noticed General Permits and self certifications. They are becoming more “lean” and are helping applicants to acquire the permits. Their goal is to provide 90% of the permits that they handle within 180 days.
They made fun of the Self Certification process showing a photograph of boathouse in the middle of a lake with the access walkway underwater. They stated that 23% of the Self Certified projects are out of compliance.
Most of the meeting dealt with State agencies and permitting but Orange County did say that in their process of streamlining their permitting, they would consider doing away with duplicate permitting if the State if already permitting an activity.
I, Rick Fender of Fender Marine Construction representing the Florida Marine Contractors Association Central Florida Chapter spoke about the County’s and State’s streamlining efforts. On beneficial planting permits in Orange County, contractors are required to procure a permit from OCEPD and then the same information and plans must be submitted to FMC (Fish and Wildlife Commission) for their permit. The County charges a fee for their permit but the State does not. Further, when we make application with the County for the beneficial planting permits, they contact the State FWC to let them know to contact us for the duplicate permit.
I recommend that all marine contractors and other interested parties attend the next one of the Environmental Streamlining Task Force meetings so that you can understand where they are going and provide your comments on the direction of the Task Force. The next meeting is August 17th, 2011 at 2pm. You can find them at http://www.orangecountyfl.net/YourLocalGovernment/CountyDepartments/CommunityandEnvironmentalServices/EnvironmentalProtectionDivision/EnvironmentalStreamliningTaskForce.aspx.
Rick Fender, Vice President- Fender Marine Construction
Chapter Chairperson- Florida Marine Contractor’s Association