If you have any questions in regards to the above, please do not hesitate to contact our offices so that we may explain the amendments to the provisions of the Code in more detail. Our address is:
Fiddler González & Rodríguez, P.S.C., P.O. Box 363507, San Juan, PR 00936-3507. Our fax (787) 759-3108.
We welcome your questions and comments.
Juan Carlos Gómez Escarce
María L. González Hernández
Pedro J. Reyes Bibiloni
On October 2, 2013, Bill No. 1447 was introduced in the House of Representatives and Bill No. 769 was introduced in the Senate, to amend the Puerto Rico permitting process established by the Permit Process Reform Act, Act No. 161-2009. The Permit Process Reform Act substantially modified the permitting process that existed for nearly forty years; among the changes, it consolidated the environmental impact review process with the land use and construction permit processes, and created the Permits Management Office (OGPE for its Spanish acronym), the Permits General Inspector’s Office, the Adjudicative Board, and the Permits and Land Use Review Board.
House Bill No. 1447 and Senate Bill No. 769 intend to revert some of the modifications introduced by the Permit Process Reform Act. They propose the elimination of the Permits General Inspector’s Office, the Adjudicative Board, and the Permits and Land Use Review Board. The bills separate the Planning Board from OGPe, which will now be part of the Governor’s Office. They grant additional authority to the OGPe Executive Director, including authority to grant discretionary and ministerial permits, as well as enforcement and audit powers.
The bills also provide for separate environmental impact review and land use and construction permit processes; the agency determinations of both procedures will be subject to separate judicial review proceedings. They also reinstate the application of the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, Act 170-1988, to the evaluation and adjudication process of all final permit decisions and enforcement actions of OGPe and Autonomous Municipalities. Final permit decisions would be subject to judicial review by the Court of Appeals.
The bills order the creation of a Single Permit for commercial establishments, which would integrate all the certifications and endorsements that are subject to public inspection. OGPe, the Autonomous Municipalities and the governmental agencies that submit recommendations will have to revise their regulations to incorporate the provisions of the House and Senate bills.
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