Officials Propose Streamlined Coastal Permitting Process (USA)
The Governor Chris Christie’s Administration this week proposed technical revisions to land use rules for coastal areas that will maintain New Jersey’s high standards for protection of natural resources while providing more clarity to people who live and work in these areas, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced.
The proposal consolidates the Coastal Zone Management rules and Coastal Permit Program rules to streamline and align them more seamlessly with other DEP land use permitting processes, specifically flood hazard area and freshwater wetlands programs.
The changes were borne of DEP’s knowledge and experience concerning coastal development issues accumulated over decades, as well as specific lessons learned in rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy and other severe weather events.
“These revisions will add clarity to our regulatory processes and provide better predictability in the regulatory process to our constituents by eliminating unnecessary red tape,” Commissioner Martin said. “But they will not in any way affect our primary mission of protecting the natural resources that make our coastal areas such a wonderful place for living, working and enjoying.”
In 2011, Gov. Christie launched the bi-partisan Red Tape Review Commission which worked in conjunction with the Legislature to streamline regulatory processes across state government by eliminating burdensome red tape, thus promoting a more vibrant New Jersey. Commissioner Martin also served on the commission. DEP also conducted extensive stakeholder outreach in developing this rulemaking.
Highlights of the proposal include:
* Allowing much greater use of electronic permitting, eliminating paperwork for many individuals;
* Simplifying the permitting process for minor dredging projects undertaken by homeowners and marinas;
* Providing greater flexibility to construct new or expand existing marinas in certain circumstances and allowing the construction of restaurants at existing marinas;
* Modifying the coastal wetland mitigation requirements to achieve consistency between the DEP’s freshwater wetland and coastal wetland mitigation requirements and terminology;
* Providing consistency in relation to emergency permits, pre-application conferences, application contents, public notice of applications, application review, permit conditions and changes to issued permits, and requests for hearings;
* Modifying several existing general permits to expand their scope and/or add flexibility.
Press Release, June 11, 2014