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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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NJ DEPARTMENT of ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
LAND USE MANAGEMENT
DIVISION OF LAND USE REGULATION

Notice of Rule Proposal

Proposed Repeal and New Rules:
Flood Hazard Area Control Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13

Proposed Amendments and New Rules:
Ninety-Day Construction Permits Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:1C
Coastal Permit Program Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7
Coastal Zone Management Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7E

Public Notice

Take notice that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is proposing to repeal the existing Flood Hazard Area Control rules and to adopt new rules in its place. The Department is also proposing related amendments to the Ninety-Day Construction Permits rules, Coastal Permit Program rules and Coastal Zone Management rules. A statement of the substance of the proposal follows:

The Flood Hazard Area Control rules implement the New Jersey Flood Hazard Area Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq., through which the Department executes the directive to "adopt land use regulations for the flood hazard area, to control stream encroachments, to coordinate effectively the development, dissemination, and use of information on floods and flood damages that may be available." The Department's experience in administering these rules, as well as the recent flood events in the State, have demonstrated the need to adopt new rules that will better protect the public from the hazards of flooding, preserve the quality of surface waters and protect the wildlife and vegetation that exist within and depend upon such areas for sustenance and habitat.

Unless properly controlled, development within flood hazard areas can increase the intensity and frequency of flooding by reducing flood storage, increasing stormwater runoff and obstructing the movement of floodwaters. In addition, structures that are improperly built in flood hazard areas are subject to flood damage and threaten the health, safety and welfare of those who use them. Furthermore, healthy vegetation adjacent to surface waters is essential for maintaining bank stability and water quality. The indiscriminate disturbance of such vegetation can destabilize channels, leading to increased erosion and sedimentation that exacerbates the intensity and frequency of flooding. The loss of vegetation adjacent to surface waters also reduces filtration of stormwater runoff and thus degrades the quality of these waters.

In light of the concerns described above, the proposed new Flood Hazard Area Control rules incorporate more stringent standards for development in flood hazard areas and adjacent to surface waters in order to mitigate the adverse impacts to flooding and the environment that can be caused by development. Consequently, a large number of significant changes are being proposed to the construction and environmental standards of the rules. For example, under the proposed rules, any flood storage that is lost due to most new construction activities must be compensated by the creation of an equal volume of flood storage either onsite or in close proximity to the development. This will preserve existing flood storage and help mitigate increases in flooding over time. Furthermore, the 25-ft and 50-ft stream buffers under the existing rules are proposed for expansion to 50-ft, 150-ft and 300-ft, depending on the environmental resources of each stream. Many other changes are also being proposed to protect the public from the hazards of flooding, prevent unnecessary impacts to stream corridors, and facilitate projects that would benefit the environment and not contribute to flooding.

The Department is also proposing related amendments to the Coastal Permit Program rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7, and to the Coastal Zone Management rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7E, in order to ensure better consistency with N.J.A.C. 7:13 as regards development in flood hazard areas and preservation of vegetation and habitat along surface waters. For example, the new construction and environmental standards of the Flood Hazard Area Control rules are proposed for incorporation into the coastal rules, and the proposed stream buffers described above would be extended to include most tidal waterways. In addition, flood hazard area application fees and review procedures are proposed to be relocated into the Flood Hazard Area Control rules from the Ninety-Day Construction Permits rules, N.J.A.C. 7:1C, so that all fees and application review standards are located in one rule.

The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register dated October 2, 2006. The proposal can be viewed or downloaded at www.njflood.org.

Public hearings concerning this proposal will be held as follows:

Monday, November 20, 2006, 7:00 p.m.
New Jersey Highlands Council
100 North Road County Route 513)
Chester, New Jersey

Monday, November 27, 2006, 1:00 p.m.
DEP Public Hearing Room
401 East State Street
Trenton, New Jersey

Monday, December 4, 2006, 7:00 p.m.
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Vera King Farris Drive
Pomona, New Jersey

Written comments may be submitted by December 31, 2006 to:

NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Gary Brower, Esq.
ATTN: DEP Docket No. 16-06-08/70
Office of Legal Affairs
PO Box 402
Trenton, New Jersey 08625

 

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