Sierra Club
New Jersey Chapter

New Coastal Rules Leave NJ Vulnerable to Future Storms- Email DEP your Concerns!

For the first time since Hurricane Sandy, the DEP is proposing changes to the regulations that oversee coastal development.  Unbelievably, the rule changes do not address climate change mitigation, sea level rise, or increased storm surges. Instead they promote more growth in high hazard areas through a number of new waivers, loopholes, and exemptions. 

This rule is not about more predictability, transparency, or eliminating red tape; it is about eliminating protections for our coast, allowing more sprawl and overdevelopment, and putting more people and property in harm’s way.  These rules will allow for more intense development on piers and at marinas, and more commercial development behind sea walls.  All this development in the wrong places means more damage to property, and tax payers spending more to fix roads, water and sewer lines, electrical infrastructure, and rebuild in high hazard areas.   

The rule changes would open up some of the most high hazard areas along the coast to even more development including Mystic Island, Mantoloking, Fortesque, Port Republic, Sea Isle City, Union Beach, and Keansburg.  This rule violates the FEMA rules for development in Flood Hazard areas.  The rules promote growth and high density development in many communities that are looking for buyouts. 

The DEP is accepting comments on these rules until August 1st and they need to hear from you.   Call on the DEP to strengthen coastal protections, address the impacts of climate disruption and promote resiliency along our coast.  Urge them to pull down these rules and go back to the drawing board.

Email the DEP now to help better protect our coast from future storms.

Talking Points: 

  • DEP is offering more general permits and permits by rule, making it easier to secure a permit.  A new classification called permit by certification allows the developer or engineer to apply for a permit online and receive the permit automatically.  There would be not governmental review and no public input.  By expanding general permits and permits by rule, they limit public participation and governmental oversight and end up allowing for more environmental impacts. 
  • Restaurants at marinas will be exempted from some standards. Marinas will also be exempted from infill standards.  For example if two docks were separated by wetlands or shellfish beds you can now fill to connect them.   The rule allows for hotels and other commercial developments at marinas. 
  • If you are on the landward side of a second dune, a sea wall, or a paved road there is a new exemption for restaurants, commercial developments, and new hotels. 
  • The rules have exemptions for resort recreational use on piers, making it easier to build piers and also build on them  
  • The DEP is using a definition of “nonporous cover” including lawns, crushed stone, compacted seashells and others as porous.  We know form the studies that have been done that those are actually compacted soils and are not porous. 
  • The DEP is using outdated 2001 State Plan mapping.  It does not include threatened and endangered species, C1 streams and buffers, up to date flood mapping, no information on sea level rise and storm surges.  It allows for extremely high density development in some of the most vulnerable high hazard areas of New Jersey. 
  • There is no analysis for drinking water and sewer capacity, or looking at the impact of non-point source pollution.  The DEP is not looking at climate change or sea level rise.  There is no hazard planning.  The plan is not based on science, but rather political science. 


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Comments on DEP Docket No.03-14-04

Dear [Decision Maker],

As New Jersey continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy, our state needs coastal regulations that protect us from the impacts of future storms through regional planning, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and programs that promote resiliency. The DEP's rule proposal moves New Jersey in the wrong direction by promoting development in high hazard areas through a number of waivers and exemptions. I urge the DEP to pull this rule down and make the needed changes to improve coastal protections.

We need regulations that will protect our coast for future generations and this rule does not achieve that goal. Please stop the exemptions and waivers in this rule that will allow development in high hazard areas to move forward. Pull down this rule and move forward with regulations that strengthen coastal proections, especially in the face of future climate change impacts.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]