DEP LAUNCHES COASTAL E-PERMITTING PROGRAM TO BETTER SERVE THE PUBLIC
(11/P42) TRENTON - As part of its commitment to customer service and transformation, the Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new program that will allow property owners to apply on-line for certain coastal permits, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
While the DEP for years has utilized on-line permit application systems for its air, water and underground storage tank cleanup programs, the new on-line coastal general permit program is the first of its kind for the DEP's Land Use Regulation Program. Property owners or their contractors will be able to apply on-line for permits and within minutes get decisions on projects to replace bulkheads with identically sized bulkheads or to replace docks in man-made lagoons.
"This new e-permitting program is an important step toward our continuing goal of transforming the DEP into a more customer-friendly and easier-to-navigate agency," said Commissioner Martin. "By applying on-line, residents will be able to save a great deal of time and money over sending paper applications to the DEP. This is just our first foray into on-line applications for the Land Use Program, a program that, perhaps more than any other at the DEP, has the most direct impact on the average person."
The public can now apply on-line for two types of general permits in coastal areas - a GP-14 for in-kind bulkhead replacements and a GP-19 for dock replacements in artificially constructed lagoons. Applicants are required to answer a short list of questions and certify their responses as truthful and accurate. A computer program will then provide an automated approval or rejection based on the answers to this application.
"By their nature, these types of permits have minimal environmental impact but can tie up DEP resources that could be better used elsewhere," said Marilyn Lennon, Assistant Commissioner of the Land Use Regulation Program. "Applicants must still meet our environmental and construction standards, and our enforcement program will follow up with inspections to ensure the regulations are followed. But nothing is really changing, other than the process is becoming much quicker.
"Under the old system, applicants for these permits may have waited up to three months for a decision. Now they will be able to save time, money and aggravation - and we will be able to focus our resources on much bigger issues such as wetlands protection, proposals for extensive bulkheads projects, or proposals to expand docks or marinas in our bays," Assistant Commissioner Lennon said.
Later this year, the Land Use Regulation Program expects to implement a system to allow applicants to submit wetlands delineations, or Letters of Interpretation, through an on-line system.
Users may access the e-permitting system at http://njdeponline.com. Follow the registration process and create an account. When setting up your profile, select Land Use Permitting. Instructions are available at this web site, or you may call the Land Use hot line at (609) 777-0454 and select option 3 for Waterfront Development permits.