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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
Watershed and Land Management

Notice of Rule Proposal
Coastal Zone Management Rules
Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules
Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules

PUBLIC NOTICE
Take notice that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments and new rules in the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7, Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act (FWPA) Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7A, and Flood Hazard Area Control Act (FHACA) Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, to require electronic submission of applications for all general permit authorizations, individual permits, water quality certificates, freshwater wetland transition area waivers, and any flood hazard area verifications that are submitted in conjunction with an application for a general permit authorization, individual permit, or transition area waiver. A statement of the substance of the proposal follows:

In 2015, 2016, and 2018, the Department undertook rulemakings that aligned the operations of the land use permitting programs administered by the Division of Land Resource Protection, formerly the Division of Land Use Regulation. This alignment involved streamlining functions, re-engineering business processes, and leveraging technology to eliminate unnecessary paperwork, share applications and forms across the Department, and increase the use of electronic submittals. Specifically, the rulemakings standardized the rules governing the process for obtaining a permit across the CZM, FWPA, and FHACA Rules to the extent possible and organized the rules in a uniform order and format to facilitate electronic submittals.

The Department has also continued to develop services within its electronic submission system, NJDEP Online. Each service allows a specific task to be completed electronically. In 2011, online services became available for each general permit-by-certification with electronic submissions mandatory for these applications. Another service was created in 2015-2016 for the elective submission of online applications for freshwater wetlands letters of interpretation (E-LOIs). A new “Apply for a Land Use Permit or Authorization” service (referred to hereafter as the “new online service” or “new service”) is now available for the electronic submission of any application for a land use general permit, individual permit, water quality certificate, and/or freshwater wetland transition area waiver submitted pursuant to the CZM, FWPA, or FHACA Rules. Electronic submission of these applications is currently optional.

However, to further the Department’s initiative to transition to paperless processes, this rulemaking mandates electronic submittals for these applications through the new service. Other amendments will further streamline the rules and achieve greater consistency after the alignment of the permitting process rules and clarify some existing application requirements to facilitate the submission of complete applications.

The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register dated August 3, 2020.  A copy of the proposal is available from the DEP https://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/proposals/20200803a.pdf; official repository libraries; and LexisNexis free public access to the New Jersey Register, www.lexisnexis.com/njoal.

The Department anticipates holding a public hearing on the proposal.  The date and time of the hearing will depend on circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 public health emergency.  If the Department holds a hearing, the public comment period will be extended until after the hearing.

Further information on a public hearing, if one is held, will be posted on the Department’s website at www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices.html at least 15 days prior to the date of the hearing.  Notice will also be sent to those who have subscribed to the Department’s rulemaking listserv.  To subscribe, go to www.nj.gov/dep/rules/subscribe.html.

Written comments may be submitted electronically by October 2, 2020 at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments; or
In hard copy to:

Gary J. Brower, Esq.
ATTN: (DEP Docket No. 03-20-07)
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Legal Affairs
Mail Code 401-04L; PO Box 402
401 East State Street, 7th Floor
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

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Last Updated: February 9, 2021