On March 26, 2020, Governor Baker issued Executive Order No. 17 as part of his continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This order suspends or tolls deadlines related to permits being sought or pending before state permit agencies that report to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, such as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, which could include developments being planned under G.L. c. 40B.

The order addresses five specific areas related to permitting before these agencies:

  1. No approval is to be considered granted, approved or denied due to a state agency’s failure to act within a time period prescribed by statute, rule or otherwise.
  2. Requirements that hearings be commenced by the appropriate state permitting agency within a specific time period following an appeal or request for approval are suspended.
  3. The requirement for an agency to issue decisions related to any application, order, notice of intent, petition or request for approval, any appeals of the same, and any requirement that any agency request a superseding order or determination is suspended.
  4. Deadlines to file appeals by any person aggrieved by a final decision of a state permitting agency are extended.
  5. Any approval issued by a state permitting agency that was valid and without violations as of March 10, 2020 shall not lapse or otherwise expire during the state of emergency.

In most cases, the order suspends or tolls deadlines for the above requirements for up to 45 days following the termination of the state of emergency.

Finally, the order further allows the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt its Intended Use Plan (IUP) for 2020 without a public hearing, so long as the Department publishes a draft IUP and considers public comments on the plan before adoption.



We stand ready to assist you with all your permitting needs.  If you have questions about whether your business and development plans may be impacted by this order, please contact a member of our Real Estate Practice.


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