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DEP streamlines permitting for Sandy rebuild projects

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A file photo showing a home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The DEP has streamlined certain regulations to speed the rebuilding process.
A file photo showing a home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The DEP has streamlined certain regulations to speed the rebuilding process. - (Aaron Houston / NJBIZ)

Regulators have adopted rules to help streamline permitting for a range of commercial and residential rebuilding projects tied to Hurricane Sandy, state officials said today.

The changes, which will cut time and costs from Department of Environmental Protection reviews, concern reconstruction activities “that are occurring largely on the same footprint” or involve expansions of up to 400 square feet of damaged properties, the agency said.

The DEP said the move will aid reconstruction of homes and businesses, assist the recovery of marinas and shellfish industries, fortify coastal areas against future storms and expedite dredging of storm-slammed private lagoons and marinas.

Many of the changes include allowing owners or builders to seek a “permit by rule” recognizing that the projects being undertaken are minor in scope and have no environmental impact, rather than applying for more complex general permits for their projects.

The changes related to residential and commercial reconstruction include:

– Easing permit requirements for reconstruction projects in Raritan Bay and the Newark-New York Harbor complex.

– Easing permit requirements for lateral or landward relocation of the existing footprint of a structure, with expansions permitted up to 400 square feet.

– Eliminating the need for a permit to elevate a bulkhead, dock or pier as part of repair, replacement or reconstruction, as long as the work is done in the existing footprint and not over wetlands.

The DEP initially adopted the rule changes on an emergency basis on April 16. A full list of changes related to building, coastal protection, marina and dredging projects can be found on the DEP’s website.

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Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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