Governor Chris Christie • Lt.Governor Kim Guadagno
NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs  
State of New Jersey-Department of Environmental Protection-DEP Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act Guidance
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Home | About DEP | Index by Topic | Programs/Units | DEP Online 

Highlands Regulatory Program

Applications in the Highlands Preservation Area

The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act required DEP to establish a consolidated Highlands permitting review and approval process for activities constituting major Highlands development. This regulatory program implements the Highlands rules. The following applications are available in the Highlands Preservation Area:

Highlands Jurisdictional Determination
This voluntary determination provides an applicant with an official Department determination as to whether their property is located within the boundaries of Highlands Preservation area. This application is voluntary and an individual may alternatively determine whether their property is in the Highlands on their own by using the Department’s interactive mapping tool. This determination will not provide the applicant with any information regarding whether or not a project is regulated pursuant to the Highlands Act.

Highlands Applicability Determination and Water Quality Management Consistency Determination
This determination lets an applicant know whether a proposed activity is:

  • A major Highlands development – a project that is considered a major Highlands development is regulated by the Highlands Act and rules
  • Consistent with the applicable areawide Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) – the Department may not issue a permit that is inconsistent with the applicable WQMP
  • Exempt from the Highlands Act – the Act sets forth 17 exemptions, this determination will let an applicant know whether any of those exemptions apply to them.

Those proposing a project in the Highlands Preservation Area should first apply to the Division of Watershed Management for a Highlands Applicability and Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) Consistency Determination (pdf). However, if an applicant is certain that their project is regulated under the Highlands rules and is willing to stipulate that they are regulated, they may apply directly to the Land Use Regulation Program for a Highlands Preservation Area Approval (HPAA) without first making an application for a Highlands Applicability and WQMP Consistency Determination. See below for information on the HPAA.

Highlands Resource Area Determination
A Highlands Resource Area Determination (HRAD) determines one or more of the following:

  1. The location of any Highlands Resource Area on a site or a portion of a site; or
  2. The location of all Highlands open waters and their buffers on a site. The Department shall locate Highlands open waters and their buffers on an entire site but not on a portion of a site.

A HRAD is intended to help a property owner to understand the environmental constraints on their property.

Highlands Preservation Area Approval
A Highlands Preservation Area Approval (HPAA) is a permit required in order to undertake any activity regulated pursuant to the Highlands Act.

In addition to the HPAA, the DEP may grant, in limited circumstances set forth in the Highlands Act, a HPAA with a waiver. There are four types of waivers:

  • Health & Safety
  • Redevelopment
  • Taking without just compensation
  • 100 percent affordable housing development

Anyone seeking to apply for a waiver must first attend a pre-application meeting. The application form for a pre-application meeting is found in the list of application forms below.

Highlands Brownfield Designation (as part of a waiver for redevelopment)

A site may be designated a Highlands Brownfield by demonstrating eligibility through an application for a Highlands Brownfield designation. These sites will then be considered by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council for designation as a Highlands Redevelopment site. Highlands redevelopment sites are eligible for a redevelopment waiver pursuant to the Highlands rules.

Determining Which Application Forms To Use

The Highlands application questionnaire is intended to help you determine which application forms to use for your project or property. Applicants should review the rules before submitting any application. Click here to view the Highlands rules.

 

Highlands Preservation Area Approval Fee Schedule
Fees for applications in the Highlands Preservation Area.

 

Highlands Regulatory Program Forms
The Highlands requirements specified on the Department's application forms and checklists are in summary form and are based on the requirements of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:38. In cases of conflict or contradiction, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act rules take precedence.

Description Format           Updated       

Highlands Jurisdictional Determination

PDF
7/2014
Word

Highlands Applicability Determination and Water Quality Management Consistency Determination

PDF
7/2014
Word

Notice of Highlands Applicability Determination

PDF
7/2014

Highlands Pre-application Meeting Checklist

PDF
7/2014
Word

DLUR Application Form

PDF
3/2015
Word
Highlands Preservation Area Approval (HPAA) Application Checklist PDF
7/2014
Word
Highlands Preservation Area General Permit Checklist PDF
7/2014
Word
Highlands Water Allocation-New or Major Modification Application PDF
8/2013
Highlands Water Allocation-New or Major Modification Checklist for Administrative and Technical Completeness PDF
8/2013
Highlands Water Use Registration Application PDF
8/2013
Highlands Resource Area Determination (HRAD) Checklist PDF
7/2014
Word
Highlands Attachment A-Model Letter – Notice to Neighboring Landowners PDF
7/2014
Word
Highlands Attachment B Model Newspaper Advertisement PDF
7/2014
Word
NHP Data Request HTML 
N/A
Checklist for Administrative Completeness- Application to Construct/Modify/Operate Public Water Works Facilities (BSDW-PA05) PDF
9/2013
Cell Tower Addendum PDF
5/26/2006