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Division of Land Use Regulation
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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Roads and Driveways

  • Overview
  • Freshwater Wetlands
  • Flood Hazard
  • Coastal
  • Tidelands

Roads have been around since the wheel was first invented, and New Jersey has its fair share of these and a Driveways. The NJ Turnpike, Parkway and various parts of the highway and secondary road system are vital conduits for commerce and recreation. We can't imagine a life without roads.

Activities which may disturb special areas of the State that are regulated by the Department, including roads and driveways, may require an approval from the Division prior to construction. An area containing sensitive and endangered plant species for example, may be irreparably damaged by such activities. It is important therefore to closely examine a proposed project relative to the sensitive areas which may be impacted.

Roads and driveways may require multiple approvals from the Division, depending on the special areas impacted by the project. If you don't know what special areas are on your site, please check out the before you buy, before you build section of this website for guidance on determining if your site has one of these regulated special areas on it.

For information on Land Use permit requirements for roads and driveways within specific "special areas", please click on each of the tabs above.*

*For impacts to Streams, Rivers, Lakes, Ponds, Flood Plains, Flood Way, Riparian Zones and other water body related areas, please click on the "Flood Hazard" tab. For impacts to special coastal areas, please click on the "Coastal" tab. For impacts to Freshwater Wetlands, click on the "Freshwater Wetlands" tab. Information on Tidelands can be found in the "Tidelands" tab.

 

The construction of a road or driveway within freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters requires a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit. Two FWW General Permits (GPs) are available for this activity, a GP10A and a GP10B. To be eligible for a GP10A or a GP10B, the total area of freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters disturbed cannot exceed one quarter acre.

(General Permit 10A -- Very minor road crossings) [link to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-5.10A] is for a road or driveway that complies with one of the two scenarios listed below:

1. The "Short Crossing Scenario" requires that the disturbance of freshwater wetlands and/or State open waters is no longer than 100 feet for each crossing and the total cumulative disturbance of freshwater wetlands, transition area, and State open waters is one quarter acre or less.

2. The "Long Crossing Scenario" has no crossing length requirement, but instead requires that the total cumulative disturbance of freshwater wetlands, transition area, and State open waters is one eighth acre or less.

(General Permit 10B -- Minor road crossings) [link to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-5.10B] is for a road or driveway that exceeds the GP10A requirements, but which has less than one quarter acre of disturbance to freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters.

If the road or driveway cannot comply with the criteria for a GP10A or a GP10B, the applicant would need to apply for an (Individual Permit (IP)) [link to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-7.1]. An IP application would need to include a description as to why the project cannot be minimized to satisfy the General Permit criteria described in the links above.

The construction of a road or driveway will usually require a formal permit.  However, it can potentially qualify for Permit by Rule (a) 2 if it is located in a grassed riparian zone (or outside the riparian zone) and will be located at or below grade in the flood hazard area (or be located outside the flood hazard area). 

If the above conditions cannot be met, then an Individual Permit will be required for the construction of a road or driveway.

The construction or reconstruction of roads and driveways within CAFRA or Waterfront Development jurisdiction may be an exempt activity or it may require authorization under a coastal permit-by-ruleor a coastal general permit depending on the location of the driveway and the type of development the driveway will serve.  If the project does not meet the requirements foran exemption, a permit-by-rule or a general permit, the project will generally require a Waterfront Development or CAFRA Individual permit and /or Coastal Wetlands permit. Please refer to the section on “Linear Development” within the “List of Common Project Types” for information regarding coastal permitting for the construction and reconstruction of roadways.   

Please refer to the “Jurisdiction” section of the "Coastal Permitting" section of the website to determine which areas regulated under the Coastal Permit Program Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7-1.1 et seq.) and the Coastal Zone Management Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1 et seq.) occur on your site. The availability of certain permits and exemptions for a project depends on where your project is proposed.  Additional information regarding the Division’s coastal program can be found on the “Coastal Permitting” section of this website.  If necessary, please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center for further assistance.

These exemptions may apply to your project--

  • The construction or reconstruction of a   driveway serving one single family dwelling or duplex located within CAFRA jurisdiction and within 150 feet of the mean high water line or the landward limit of a beach or dune whichever is more landward and provided there is intervening development as described at N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(b)1.
  • The reconstruction of a driveway within CAFRA jurisdiction that was legally existing on and damaged subsequent to July 19, 1994 provided it meets all the requirements of this exemption. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(c)3 for more information on the requirements of this exemption.
  • The reconstruction or enlargement of any existing structure, such as a driveway, within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction located more than 100 feet landward of the mean high water line, provided no change in land use occurs, and any enlargement is less than 5,000 square feet.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d)2 for information on the requirements of this exemption.
  • The minor addition or changes to existing structures, such as driveways, within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction that does not result in adverse impacts to Special Areas, is located on an existing cleared area of the site, is set back a minimum of 15 feet landward of the mean high water line, and does not result in a change of land use. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d)3 for information on the requirements of this exemption.

These coastal permits-by-rule may apply to your project –


  • Permit-by-Rule 3 authorizes the construction or reconstruction of accessory structures, including driveways, at single family homes or duplexes located on a bulkheaded lagoon lot.  Please refer to N.J.A.C.7:7-7.2(a)3 for information on the requirements of this permit-by-rule.
  • Permit-by-Rule 8 authorizes the expansion or relocation (with or without expansion) of residential development, including accessory development such as driveways, landward or parallel to the mean high water line of the footprint of the legally constructed residential development provided it meets all of the requirements of this permit-by-rule.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.2(a)8 for information on the requirements of this permit-by-rule.

These coastal general permits may apply to your project --

  • Coastal General Permit 8 authorizes development at single family homes or duplexes, including accessory development such as driveways.  This general permit is limited to use on lots which are not bulkheaded lagoon lots.  For further information regarding the requirements of this general permit, please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.8
  • Coastal General Permit 9 authorizes the expansion or reconstruction of single family homes or duplexes, including accessory development such as driveways.  This general permit is limited to use on lots which are not bulkheaded lagoon lots. For further information regarding the requirements of this general permit, please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.9

 

 

Tidelands, also known as riparian lands, are all those lands now or formerly flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway; that is to say any land that is currently or was previously covered by tidal waters.  The State of New Jersey, and therefore the people of New Jersey, owns all Tidelands except for those to which it has already sold its interest in the form of a riparian grant.  It is important to note that the State generally does not own artificial waterways such as lagoons however, the State does claim those lands within a lagoon that were flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway which existed prior to the creation of the lagoon.

Roads and driveways that are proposed in a tidelands area may require a tidelands license if the activities are taking place at or below the mean high water line of a tidal waterway or a tidelands grant if the activities are taking place in an area that is currently landward of the mean high water line but was, at some point, flowed by the tide.

A tidelands license is a short term revocable rental document to use tidelands generally for structures such as docks, bulkhead extensions, mooring piles, and other temporary structures as well as for dredging projects. Licenses are project specific and expire after a finite term ranging from one to ten years. Most licenses may be renewed.

A riparian grant, or tidelands grant, is a deed from the State of New Jersey selling its tidelands. Tidelands grants are generally only issued for lands that have already been filled in and are no longer flowed by the tide.

For more information on tidelands instruments, please see the tidelands section of this website.

For information and instruction on how to determine whether you are in an area that may require either a license or a grant, or for information how to apply for Tideland instruments please see the "Before you Build, Before you Buy" webpage.

 

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Last Updated: May 21, 2014