DEP SEEKS COMMENTS ON LAND USE PERMITTING INITIATIVE
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is seeking comments
on a initiative designed to expedite development and redevelopment projects
in urban areas and municipalities where growth is targeted under state
and local master plans.
"As part of the department's efforts to further the goals of the State
Development and Redevelopment Plan, we're presently formulating a new
permitting protocol that will serve as another incentive to redirect growth
back into areas with existing infrastructure to help reduce sprawl and
protect natural resources throughout the state," said DEP Commissioner
The proposal would allow municipalities with a certain state designation
to obtain department approval of a sector permit. Eligible municipalities
are those either containing a Governor's Designated Urban Coordinating
Council neighborhood, or having gone through the center designation, endorsed
plan, or regional plan process with the State Planning Commission.
After demonstrating that their land use ordinances guarantee environmentally
sound land use decision-making and assuring the protection of the state's
natural resources, these municipalities could obtain DEP approval of a
sector permit and incorporate the state's authorization under the permit
into their actions under the Municipal Land Use Law.
DEP's waterfront development, freshwater wetlands, sewer and water line
extensions and other land use permits would be consolidated into the single
sector permit issued to the municipality in an effort to streamline and
expedite the permitting process. Extensive public comment periods would
be built into the process.
"By encouraging municipalities to have their ordinances protect natural
resources, the proposal would afford greater protection of those resources
than is currently provided under the present system of regulating development
on a project by project basis, and only when those projects require state
approvals," said Shinn.
DEP is seeking comments until March 16 from interested parties on its
plan to establish the sector permit process. The comments received will
be used in developing a proposed regulation that subsequently will be
published in the "New Jersey Register" for more extensive public review
and comment. After analysis of those comments, final regulations would
become effective upon publication.
DEP's preliminary draft can be reviewed at www.state.nj.us/dep/
by clicking on "Hot Topics." Written comment may be submitted to the Office
of State Plan Coordination, 401 East State Street, Floor 6, PO Box 402,
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402.
For more information, contact DEP's Office of State Plan Coordination