DEP Fines Property Owner
$50,000 for Illegal Waterfront Development
(03/68) TRENTON Immediately
ceasing further construction activities on two waterfront
lots in Upper Township, Cape May County, the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined a private
landowner for the unauthorized development of a single family
dwelling and septic field.
The unpermitted development, owned by Joseph
Marley, occurred in specially regulated lands under the
Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA), including a coastal
high hazard area, an erosion hazard area, a barrier island
corridor and an overwash area. The property is located at
1604 Commonwealth Avenue and the illegal activities impacted
4,000 square feet of waterfront property.
"Mr. Marley knowingly bypassed development
permits that protect coastal natural resources and the safety
of those who chose to reside along New Jersey's shores,"
said Commissioner Bradley Campbell. "Unchecked waterfront
development can destroy vital wildlife habitat, increase
water pollution, and in some cases cause personal injury
or the loss of property from coastal storms, erosion, and
Prior to building the illegal dwelling
on the two adjacent lots, Mr. Marley contacted the DEP and
submitted a proposed plan to expand an existing dwelling
to be located on the non-waterward side of the property.
Because the proposed expansion would not exceed 400 square
feet and was not proposed on a beach, dune, and/or wetland,
the DEP informed Mr. Marley that no CAFRA permit was required.
In addition, Mr. Marley's proposed expansion
of the dwelling included a request for a new septic field.
This proposed addition would require a CAFRA permit because
it was not located within the 400-square-foot expansion
area. In order to remain exempt from a CAFRA permit, the
DEP informed Mr. Marley that an alternate 3,000-gallon holding
tank for sewage discharge located under the dwelling would
A site inspection conducted by the DEP
on February 21, 2003 revealed that the original pre-existing
single family residence proposed for expansion had been
voluntarily demolished and a new, single family home had
been constructed outside the original footprint. Further,
the site inspection revealed that a septic field was under
construction instead of the required holding tank, and the
DEP issued a stop-work directive. A follow-up inspection
revealed that the DEP directive to cease development of
the septic field was ignored, and a second directive was
In addition to the $50,000 penalty for
CAFRA violations, the order requires that Mr. Marley submit
to the department a CAFRA permit application for the new
dwelling and submit a restoration plan to remove the septic
field and restore the site to its pre-disturbance condition.
The plan must be approved by the DEP. Mr. Marley has requested
an administrative hearing.
The CAFRA law regulates almost all development
activities involved in residential, commercial, or industrial
development, including construction, relocation, and enlargement
of buildings or structures; and all related work, such as
excavation, grading, shore protection structures, and site
preparation within the coastal zone.