The Legislature passed a law in May of this year to codify the Public Trust Doctrine and mandate that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) require that public access reviews and requirements be made part of their coastal and flood hazard regulatory programs. NJBIA had actively engaged in that legislative process and obtained several key amendments, one of which was to limit when persons who obtained minor development permits would need to provide public access to their properties as a condition of the permit.
The DEP held a stakeholder meeting on Wednesday, November 6, to update the public on the development of rules related to these minor permits (e.g. permits by rule, general permits, and permits by certification). NJBIA had expressed earlier concerns that if any public access analysis or requirement were incorporated into these permits, it would complicate the land use regulatory process by essentially imposing complex or costly conditions in what otherwise were easy permitting processes.
While public access regulatory process is still in its early stages, and no regulatory language has yet been formally proposed, our advocacy efforts have seemingly been largely success based on the DEP presentation. While there were some areas of continuing concern, it appeared that DEP listened to our arguments and plans to significantly limit public access requirements for these minor permits. Again, this is only a preliminary decision point, we will continue to advocate for reasonable policy decisions.
Not subject to this stakeholder meeting, but of continuing concern, is the DEP’s consideration of requiring off-site public access where the law prohibits public access onsite. This issue, as well as what access requirements may be required for any development permit, will be resolved over the next several months.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Ray Cantor at firstname.lastname@example.org.