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New DEP Permit Rules will Simplify Sandy Recovery Efforts

The Christie Administration filed emergency rules to assist in the expedition of Superstorm Sandy-related recovery and rebuilding on March 17, 2013. These rules are meant to cut through unnecessary red tape that is delaying some aspects of New Jersey’s recovery from Sandy for both homes and businesses. The rules also contain portions that will expedite the recovery of the marina and shellfish industries, as well as dredging in private lagoons and marinas. The rules will also assist in protecting coastal areas from future storms.

The rules now set will enable some projects to proceed with permits by rule, as well as with general permits. “Permits by rule recognize that the projects being undertaken are minor in scope and have no environmental impact,” according to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). These changes will help reduce the amount of time required for DEP reviews in some recovery matters— saving New Jerseyans time, as well as fees and costs related to more stringent permit requirements. It is important to acknowledge, as noted in the DEP’s press release, that “the processes put in place will not compromise protection of coastal resources and will help ensure the rebuilding of a more resilient New Jersey coastline.”

There are a multitude of benefits available to New Jerseyans through these new rules. For example, these changes will help improve coastal protection by implementing a permit by rule for placing sand fencing to create and stabilize dunes, as well as to remove sand from underneath boardwalks. Residents and commercial property owners will benefit from the elimination of permits required to elevate a dock, bulkhead, or pier as part of Sandy-related repairs. Similar adjustments in permit requirements will apply to: dredging of man-made lagoons affected by Sandy, placement of predator screens and shellfish cages, the construction/installation of boat pump-out facilities, etc.

The emergency rule is effective for 60 days, and contains a synchronized rule proposal open to public comments for 30 days; there will be a public hearing May 22, from 5:30 until 10 at the Long Branch Municipal Building. The DEP will respond to comments from the public after the close of the comment period, and aims to adapt a final form of the rule at the expiration of the emergency rule. For more information on the new permit rules, please see the NJDEP’s original release.

The experienced attorneys at Lieberman & Blecher have assisted many victims of Superstorm Sandy in their recovery and rebuilding efforts. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the DEP’s new permitting regulations, or any other issues with Sandy reconstruction, please feel free to contact us. We will be more than happy to help you on your path to recovery.

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