DEP FINES COMPANIES MORE THAN $1.7 MILLION FOR FRESHWATER-WETLANDS
(06/45) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection
Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced that the DEP imposed
penalties totaling more than $1.7 million against two developers
and a land-clearing company for separate violations of freshwater-wetlands
regulations in Mercer, Morris and Salem counties.
"Freshwater wetlands play a vital role in protecting drinking-water
supplies, providing habitat for significant populations of fish
and wildlife, and preventing erosion and flooding," Commissioner
Jackson said. "The penalties imposed in these three cases should
leave no doubt about the strength of our resolve to conserve New
Jersey's environmentally sensitive wetlands and keep them healthy
for future generations."
In Mercer County, the DEP assessed a $630,000 penalty against
Beazer Homes, New Jersey Division, for multiple violations of a
freshwater-wetlands permit the DEP issued in 2000 to allow development
of Wellington Manor at Hopewell, a subdivision on Pennington Road
in Hopewell Township.
The DEP determined that Beazer Homes developed two acres of freshwater-wetland
transition areas above what the permit authorized, failed to construct
three acres of freshwater wetlands to compensate for the loss of
wetlands, failed to implement appropriate soil- and sediment-control
measures on the site, and failed to file deed restrictions ensuring
that natural areas would forever remain undeveloped.
In addition to the fine, the DEP requires Beazer Homes to immediately
correct all violations and return the affected area to its original
In Morris County, the DEP issued a $763,500 fine to developers
Anthony and Golnaz Mortezai and Deerfield Estates/Resamir Estates
for violating freshwater-wetlands and stream-encroachment permits
on the construction sites of their Mount Olive housing development.
DEP inspectors found that the developers overcleared vegetation
in exceptional-resource-value freshwater wetland transition areas,
failed to implement approved soil- and sediment-control measures,
failed to file required deed restrictions, failed to purchase mitigation
credits to offset development of regulated areas, and submitted
inaccurate plans when they applied to the DEP for permits required
to develop the site.
The DEP has suspended the developers' freshwater-wetlands permit
for permit-application inaccuracies and for ongoing violations that
were degrading a high-quality waterway and causing sedimentation
of local streams and water bodies.
DEP's enforcement order also requires immediate steps to prevent
degradation of water quality and restore cleared areas to their
In Salem County, the DEP took enforcement action against Stella
Oldmans, LLC, and Edward Stella Jr., of Oldmans Township, for clearing
up to 15 acres of freshwater wetlands and rerouting a stream on
his Route 130 property.
In addition to issuing a $378,000 penalty, the DEP ordered Stella
to restore the site by regrading and replanting and returning the
stream to its original location. Stella agreed to suspend clearing
and grading activities at the site until the company submits a
site restoration plan.