Wednesday, June 11, 2014

NJDEP wants to make it easier for some coastal building

The twisted remains of a Hudson River marina after Sandy hit Hoboken, NJ
"In its first major rewrite of coastal protection rules since Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey is proposing changes that would make it easier for some new or expanded development along the Jersey shore and the state's urban waterways. The Associated Press's Wayne Parry reports today:
The state Department of Environmental Protection said it is acting to streamline regulations and cut red tape while maintaining environmental protections.
But some environmentalists say the rules are a gift to developers and will place more New Jerseyans in harm's way during future storms, including major ones like Sandy.
"These revisions will add clarity to our regulatory processes and provide better predictability in the regulatory process to our constituents by eliminating unnecessary red tape," said DEP Commissioner Robert Martin. "But they will not in any way affect our primary mission of protecting the natural resources that make our coastal areas such a wonderful place for living, working and enjoying."
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Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, said cutting bureaucracy can't come at the expense of protecting people and the environment.
"New Jersey's rules on coastal development contributed greatly to the devastation we saw in Sandy," he said. "We know from that storm that development that wasn't right on top of the water came through the storm better."
The rules would make it easier to build new marinas or expand existing ones, and to put restaurants there. They would make it easier to erect piers and to build attractions on them.
They also make it easier to build homes along the water, including duplex or two-family houses, and to do "minor" dredging projects for homes or marinas. Some permits would be easier to apply for and get.

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