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Division of Land Use Regulation
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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Coastal Permitting Exemptions & Coastal Emergency Permits

Coastal Permitting Exemptions:

Various activities within the Waterfront Development, Coastal wetlands and CAFRA are exempt from permitting requirements, provided the site and project meet all the criteria in the rule.  Each exemption listed below is followed by a code indicating which jurisdiction the exemption applies to:  CAFRA for Coastal Area Facilities Review Act, WF for Waterfront Development Law, and CW for The Wetlands Act of 1970.  The details of the exemptions are found primarily within the Coastal Permit Program Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7, in particular within Subchapter 2- Activities for which a permit is required.  Definitions are found at N.J.A.C. 7:7-1.3.
CAFRA is discussed at N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1
Coastal Wetlands is discussed at N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.2
Waterfront Development is discussed at N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3

  • Development with preliminary site plan approval or final municipal; building or construction permit on or before July 19, 1994 with construction beginning by July 19, 1997 (CAFRA)
  • Residential development with preliminary subdivision approval or minor subdivision approval prior to July 19, 1994 (CAFRA)
  • Reconstruction of legally existing development damaged after July 19, 1994  in the same footprint (CAFRA)
  • Construction of a residential patio or deck, without grading, excavation or filling on a on a beach or dune (CAFRA)
  • Some public roadway and utility projects (CAFRA)
  • Development with an existing valid CAFRA permit dated prior to July 19, 1994 with construction begun before expiration and continued without lapse (CAFRA)
  • Expansion of functioning amusement pier by 25% landward of the mean high water line, beach or dune (CAFRA)
  • Continued production of commercial salt hay or other agricultural crops on lands so used on or before April 13, 1972 (CW)
  • Mooring of a floating home for less than 10 consecutive days (WFD)
  • Floating homes in use within the waters of the state prior to June 1, 1984. (WFD)
  • Construction, alteration, expansion or reconstruction of single family home or addition if greater than 100 feet landward of the mean high water line. (upland WFD)
  • Reconstruction, conversion, alteration or enlargement of any existing structure located more than 100 feet landward of the mean high water line, without change in land use and enlargements is less than 5,000 square feet (upland WFD)
  • Minor additions or changes in existing structures located on the existing cleared area of the site, does not result in adverse impacts to Special Areas, and is set back a minimum of 15 feet landward of the mean high water line. (upland WFD)
  • Wind turbines attached to legally existing building, less than 200 feet in height, less than 2,000 square feet rotor swept area, with monopole above 100 feet. (upland WFD)
  • Installation of solar panels on legally existing buildings, attached to utility pole within a maintained utility right of way., on legally existing impervious cover or landfill (upland WFD)
  • Zane Exemptions:
    • Repair, replacement, renovation or reconstruction, in the same location and size, as measured in three dimensions (length, width and height), of the preexisting structure, of any dock, wharf, pier, bulkhead or building legally existing prior to January 1, 1981. (WFD)
    • Repair, replacement, renovation or reconstruction, in the same location and size, as measured in three dimensions (length, width and height), of the preexisting structures, of any floating dock mooring raft or similar temporary or seasonal improvements or structure existing prior to January 1, 1981. (WFD)
    • Redecking and replacement of bridge surfaces without change in width, length or height (WFD)

Coastal Emergency Permits:

The Department may issue an emergency permit authorization if it determines that there is an imminent threat to lives or property if regulated construction activities are not immediately commenced. For example, if your bulkhead is wholly or partially ripped out due to a storm event, and the upland are of the property has already been or is likely to be damaged significantly as a result, this will probably qualify for an emergency permit for the bulkhead replacement. The potential for severe environmental degradation will also constitute basis for issuing an emergency permit authorization. If you believe that your property requires an emergency permit authorization:

  1. Contact the Division of Land Use Regulation as outlined in the "How to Request a Land Use Emergency Authorization " or the Bureau of Coastal and Land Use Enforcement via telephone at (732) 255-0787 to alert them of the situation. In response, a representative of the Bureau will inspect the subject property to evaluate the extent of the imminent threat. The determination of imminent threat will be made solely by the Department, based on the condition of the property at the time of inspection. The findings will be provided to the Division of Land Use Regulation along with a recommendation on how to proceed with the request for emergency permit authorization.
  1. In addition to contacting Enforcement via telephone, you must write to the Division of Land Use Regulation detailing the imminent threat, condition of the existing structures, vulnerability of people and/or property, or the imminent threat to the environment. The written description must also include the proposed construction activities that you are requesting be authorized under the emergency permit. Please direct your written correspondence to Richard Langbein. A copy of your written correspondence must also be provided to the Bureau of Coastal and Land Use Compliance and Enforcement.
  1. The Division will make the final determination as to whether or not an emergency permit authorization will be granted. You may receive oral or written authorization. If oral authorization is granted, a written version of the authorization will be issued within 5 working days. If you deviate in construction activities from that which were authorized under the emergency permit, this will constitute a violation. You must receive authorization to deviate from the originally granted emergency permit authorization if you wish to alter your construction activities. If you continue with unauthorized construction, your emergency authorization may be suspended or revoked. You may also face additional enforcement penalties.
  1. Within 10 working days of the issuance of the emergency permit authorization (oral or written authorization), you must submit a complete coastal permit application for the activity that you have been authorized to do under the emergency permit authorization. This means you must include all of the materials of a complete application that you normally would have if the circumstance did not require immediate attention by the Department. Upon review of the application and in accordance with the applicable Coastal Zone Management Rules, you will be issued a permit for the activities covered by the emergency permit authorization. The permit may include additional conditions that must be satisfied by the permittee.


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Last Updated: January 16, 2018