NJDEP Pilot Program to Streamline Stormwater Management Reviews
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP") has taken steps to act upon recommendations set forth in both the Final Report of the Permit Efficiency Review Task Force issued in August 2008, and the Final Report of the Transition Subcommittee for Governor Christie issued in January 2010, to eliminate duplicative stormwater management reviews. NJDEP has instituted a Stormwater Certification Partnership Program ("Program") in which twenty-one municipalities across the state will participate. Each participating municipality has an approved Stormwater Management Plan and Stormwater Control Ordinance, in accordance with the Stormwater Management Rules provided at N.J.A.C. 7:8, and their Municipal Engineer ("ME") must fulfill certain educational requirements.
Applicants with projects that require stormwater management approval will submit an application to the ME for municipal approval, which has always been a necessary step of the approval process. Under the Program, however, the consultant submitting the application will use a new checklist intended to streamline the ME's review. Notably, consultants across the state will be asked to use the new checklist, which should be available in about a month, whether or not the project they are submitting an application for is located in a participating municipality. The checklist will become mandatory a year from now if the Program is implemented more broadly. Instead of conducting a duplicative review, which it had done in the past, NJDEP's Division of Land Use Regulation will use the checklist to audit the ME's review of the stormwater management application and will approve, deny, or conditionally approve the stormwater management application based on the ME's review. If the Program works as NJDEP hopes, the result will be faster reviews and approvals. NJDEP will evaluate the success of the Program in one year and will take further steps to implement the Program more broadly, if appropriate, at that time.