Proposed NJ Flood Hazard Act Rules May Face A Legislative Veto
2015 saw major revisions proposed to New Jersey’s Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, Coastal Zone Management rules, and Stormwater Management rules. The rule amendments were billed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) as comprehensive changes to the rules to “reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, add appropriate flexibility, provide better consistency with Federal, local, and other State requirements, and address implementation issues.” The rule changes consolidated permitting requirements between the three programs and removed certain regulatory burdens such as the 150-foot riparian zone regulatory standard for development in areas containing acid-producing soils. The proposal received criticism from State environmental groups, and on January 11, 2016, the Legislature voted to block the rule changes. The NJDEP Commissioner is currently working within a thirty-day window to amend or withdraw the proposed rules or the Legislature may, by passage of a concurrent resolution, invalidate the proposal. The resolution of this issue is worth watching as the proposed rule changes will have a direct impact on development throughout the State.