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

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Single Family Home

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

Construction, reconstruction, relocation and/or elevation of a Single Family Home is a common occurrence in the State, however as development pressures on previously undeveloped regions grow, it becomes more likely that construction may impact areas that are regulated by the Department.

Activities which may disturb special areas of the State that are regulated by the Department, including construction reconstruction, relocation and/or elevation of a Single Family Home, may require an approval from the Division prior to commencement. 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.

Construction reconstruction, relocation and/or elevation of a Single Family Home 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 construction reconstruction, relocation and/or elevation of a Single Family Home 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 new single family houses and additions and improvement to existing ones within freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters requires a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit or a FWW Transition Area waiver. Several FWW General Permits (GP) and FWW Transition Area Waivers are available for these types of activities.

(GP8-House additions) [Link] - May be obtained if you are constructing an addition or appurtenant structure (examples include detached garages, pole barns, sheds, gazebos, pools and pool houses) in wetlands or transition areas. The area that the proposed addition or structure is impacting must be less than 750 square feet and be located within 100 feet of the exsiting house. If your house has been demolished or destroyed by fire within the last five years you may obtain a GP8 for the reconstruction within the original house footprint with an increase up to 750 square feet, provided that you can document that the house was "habitable" (a person could legally occupy the dwelling and that the dwelling had utilities including a functioning septic system or legal connection to a sewer) at the time of destruction.

(GP10A-Very minor road crossings) [Link] - May be obtained if you have are installing or improving a roadway or driveway to an exsiting or proposed single family house, that in general is disturbing less than 100 feet and 0.25 acres or is disturbing less than one eighth acre or less of freshwater wetlands, transition areas, or State open waters .

(GP10B-Minor road crossings) [Link] - May be obtained if you have are installing or improving a roadway or driveway to an exsiting or proposed single family house, that in general is disturbing less than 0.25 acres of freshwater wetlands, transition areas, or State open waters and there are no alternative onsite locations or configurations which would provide access with less evironmental impacts.

(GP25-Malfunctioning individual subsurface sewage disposal (septic) systems) [Link] - May be obtained if you have are repairing or modifying a malfunctioning septic system associated with an exsiting single family house within freshwater wetlands or transition areas and disturbing no more than 0.25 acres of those features. In addition, in order to obtain a GP25 you must have a letter from the local board of health with jurisdiction over the septic system stating that proposed septic system complies with state standards, is not an expansion of the system, a change in use, and that there is no alternative onsite location. Please note, a GP25 is not for a new septic system, a new septic systems is not permited in freshwater wetlands or transition areas without an (Individual Permit) [Link] (IP). An IP application would need to include a description as to why the project cannot be construction outside of regulated areas.

(TAW - Averaging Plan) [Link] - May be obtained for impacts to transition areas only for the construction of a single family house or appurtenant structure (examples include detached garages, pole barns, sheds, gazebos, pools and pool houses), but not in combination with any General Permit which would increase the allowable amount of disturbance under that permit. In addition, a TAW - Averaging Plan can not be used to place a septic system within a transition area.

(TAW - Hardship Waiver) [Link] - may be obtained to reduce the transition area to 75 feet adajacent to an exceptional resource value wetland and 25 feet adjacent to a intermediate resource value wetland if you demonstrate that the presence of transition area on site makes it impossible to build a singel family house under other provisions of TAW's. In addition, the lot had to be created by subdivision before July 1, 1988, has been continuously owned by the applicant since then, and is not contiguous with an improved property that was owned by the applicant. Also you must show that you have unsucesslly attempted to purchase adjacent properties for fair market value in order to create a developable upland and you have offered the propoerty for sale at fair market value (determined by a State-licensed appraiser) to adjacent property owners and public/private conservation organizations (on a list provided by the Department).

If the linear development cannot comply with the criteria for the above listed GP's and TAW's, the applicant would need to apply for an (Individual Permit) [Link] (IP) if the construction is proposed in a wetland or a (TAW - INdividual Permit) [Link], if the construction is proposed within a transition area. 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 reconstruction, relocation and/or elevation of a single family home is a regulated activity in the floodplain and/or riparian zone.  The permit required varies depending on the area where the home is located.  A single family home (not part of a subdivision) that is located within a tidal flood hazard area (and does not require a CAFRA or waterfront development permit) can be permitted under a flood hazard area General Permit #7

If the construction of a single family home is proposed within a fluvial flood hazard area (not tidal) and/or within a riparian zone that has not been previously developed or disturbed than an Individual Permit will be required. 

If the construction of a single family home is proposed outside of a flood hazard area but within a riparian zone where previous development or disturbance has occurred then the activity may be authorize under a Permit by Rule.

If the reconstruction, relocation and/or elevation of a lawfully existing single family home is proposed outside of the floodway then the activity may be authorized under a Permit by Rule. This authorization may include an expansion of the single family home’s footprint up to 300 square feet.

The construction, reconstruction or expansion of a single family homes or duplexes  and accessory development in the coastal zone within CAFRA or Waterfront Development jurisdiction or within an area of mapped coastal wetlands generally requires a permit. There are numerous exemptions, permits-by-rule and general permits available for single family home and duplex construction, reconstruction and expansion as well as accessory development at single family home or duplex lots.  However, if the proposed project does not meet the requirements for an exemption, permit-by-rule or general permit, the project will generally require a Waterfront Development or CAFRA Individual permit and/or a Coastal Wetlands permit.  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. Please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center for further assistance.

These coastal exemptions may apply to your project—

  • The reconstruction of any development within CAFRA jurisdiction which was legally existing on and damaged subsequent to, July 19, 1994 that is damaged or destroyed, in whole or in part, by fire, storm, natural hazard or act of God provided it meets all the requirements of this exemption. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(c) 3 for information on the requirements of this exemption..
  • The construction of a patio, deck or similar structure at a residential development within CAFRA jurisdiction provided such construction does not result in the grading, excavation, or fill of a beach or dune  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(c) 5 for information on the requirements of this exemption..
  •  The construction, alteration, expansion or reconstruction of an individual single family dwelling unit or addition to such unit within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction, if constructed more than 100 feet landward of the mean high water line.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d)1 for full information on the requirements of this exemption..
  • The reconstruction, conversion, alteration, or enlargement of any existing structure located more than 100 feet landward of the mean high water line, provided no change in use results and the enlargements do not exceed 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 to or changes in existing structures or manufacturing operations that do not result in adverse environmental impacts to Special Areas, provided the addition is located in an existing cleared area of the site, is a minimum of 15 feet landward of the mean high water line, and does not result in a change in the present land use of the site. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d)3 for information on the requirements of this exemption.
  • The repair, replacement, renovation, or reconstruction, in the same location and size, as measured in three dimensions (length, width, and height) of a pre-existing residential building located over wetlands or water within Waterfront Development jurisdiction provided the structure legally existed prior to January 1, 1981 and appears on the applicable 1971/1972 Coastal Wetlands map or 1977/78 Tidelands map.  This is referred to as a Zane Exemption.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d)6 for information on the requirements of this exemption.

These coastal permits-by-rule may apply to your project and site--

  • Permit-by-Rule 1 authorizes the expansion of a legally constructed, habitable single family home or duplex on the non-waterward sides of the single family home or duplex provided it meets all the requirements of this permit-by-rule.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.2(a)1 for information on the requirements of this permit-by-rule.
  • Permit-by-Rule 3 authorizes the development of a single family home or duplex and/or accessory development located on a bulkhead man-made lagoon lot provided it meets all the requirements of this permit-by-rule.  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 7 authorizes the voluntary reconstruction of a non-damaged or damaged, legally constructed residential or commercial development which has been or could have been legally occupied in the most recent five year period provided it meets all the requirements of this permit-by-rule.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.2(a)7 for information on the requirements of this permit-by-rule.
  • Permit-by-Rule 8 authorizes the expansion or relocation (with or without expansion) landward or parallel to the mean high water line of the footprint of the legally constructed residential development, including accessory development, or commercial development that has been or could have been legally occupied in the most recent five year period provided it meets all 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.
  • Permit-by-Rule 10 legalizes the filling of tidelands at a single family home or duplex provided it meets the requirements of this permit-by-rule. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.2(a)10 for information on the requirements of this permit-by-rule.

These coastal general permits may apply to your project--

  • General Permit 7 authorizes the voluntary reconstruction of a non-damaged legally constructed, currently habitable residential or commercial development landward of the existing footprint of development provided it meets all the requirements of this general permit. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.7 for information on the requirements of this general permit.
  • General Permit 8 authorizes the development of a single family home or duplex and/or accessory development located landward of the mean high water line and not located on a bulkheaded lagoon lot provided it meets all the requirements of this general permit.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.8 for information on the requirements of this general permit.
  • General Permit 9 authorizes the expansion or reconstruction (with or without expansion) of a legally constructed, habitable single family home or duplex and/or accessory development located landward of the mean high water line and not located on a bulkheaded lagoon lot provided it meets all the requirements of this general permit. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.9 for information on the requirements of this general permit.

Tidelands

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