The Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules will verify the limits of a flood hazard area, floodway and/or the riparian zone on a particular site. The flood hazard area verification (verification) is similar to a freshwater wetlands letter of interpretation. It is useful to establish the limits of the regulated areas on a site, since these limits demarcate the Department's jurisdiction under these rules. Furthermore, since the design and construction standards differ for activities inside and outside the flood hazard area, floodway and riparian zone, knowing the actual limits of these areas is helpful to both the Department and the regulated community. The application procedures for a verification are set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:13-6.1.
The Department can issue a verification on a site independent of a permit application associated with a construction activity. An applicant may also apply for a verification and an individual permit at the same time. However, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:13-9.6, a verification is often required if one plans to obtain an individual permit. In many cases, the Department cannot evaluate whether a proposed activity meets the design and construction standards at N.J.A.C. 7:13-10 and 11 for an individual permit without a determination of the limits of the flood hazard area, floodway and/or riparian zone on a site.
In order to obtain a Flood Hazard Area Verification, click CHECKLIST and follow instructions on this form.
Most individual permits require the issuance of a verification either prior to or concurrently with the application. This is true because certain standards require a knowledge of the depth of flooding in the flood hazard area and/or the limits of the floodway and riparian zone to determine compliance with a requirement of the chapter. For example, N.J.A.C. 7:13-10.3(b)1 prohibits the construction of a building in a floodway in most cases. If a person proposes to construct a building along a stream, and the Department does not know where the floodway of the stream is located, then the Department cannot evaluate whether the building is proposed within a floodway. In such a case, the Department cannot determine if the building complies with the rules unless the floodway limits are known. Since knowing the floodway limits requires a verification under N.J.A.C. 7:13-6.1, the Department cannot issue an individual permit in such a case without a verification. This is also true for general permits 5, 6 and 7, which involve constructing habitable buildings in the flood hazard area. The Department must be able to determine that the building is not located in a floodway and that the lowest habitable floor is set one foot above the flood hazard area design flood elevation. Therefore, the Department cannot issue these general permits unless the floodway limits and flood hazard area design flood elevation are known.
Every verification must include the flood hazard area design flood elevation, since this is the basis for drawing the boundaries of the flood hazard area on a site. The elevation must be expressed in feet NGVD, or provide a conversion to NGVD, which is a universally recognized measurement of elevation above a point roughly equal to sea level. Verifications must include a delineation of the flood hazard area limits on the site, unless the entire site lies in a flood hazard area. In such a case, only the flood hazard area design flood elevation will be verified since no flood hazard area boundary actually exists on site. The floodway limits, if they exist onsite, should also be demarcated. A verification request must also include the limits of the riparian zone and all supporting documentation utilized to establish the riparian zone, such as the surface water classification of the water adjacent to and downstream of the site. The flood hazard area design flood elevation, flood hazard area limits and/or floodway limits on a site must be established in accordance with the procedures outlined in N.J.A.C. 7:13-3. Furthermore, the appropriate riparian zone width onsite can be determined as set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:13-4.1.