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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 2/5/01
01/08
CONTACT: Amy Collings or Sharon A. Southard
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994

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 Bob Shinn.

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 at 609-292-1143.

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