N.J. Admin. Code § 7:38-1.1 - Scope and authority

Current through Register Vol. 54, No. 7, April 4, 2022

(a) This chapter is authorized by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, 13:20-1 et seq. (Highlands Act), and statutory authorities referenced therein and establishes the environmental standards and procedures by which the Department shall review any application pursuant to the Highlands Act, for major Highlands development proposed in the preservation area of the Highlands Region, for a waiver from any requirement for a Highlands Preservation Area Approval, any resource or applicability determination or exemption from the Act, and any permit or plan reviewed by the Department in the Highlands Region. In addition, the Department anticipates that the Highlands Regional Master Plan (RMP) adopted pursuant to 13:20-8 by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council (Highlands Council), established pursuant to 13:20-4, will include a land use capability map and a comprehensive statement of policies for planning and managing the development and use of land in the preservation area. For the preservation area, the land use capability map and policies shall be based upon, comply with, and implement the environmental standards in this chapter and the resource assessment prepared pursuant to 13:20-11. The Department anticipates that the Regional Master Plan will address the components necessary to protect the natural, scenic, and other Highlands resources, including, but not limited to, forests, wetlands, stream corridors, steep slopes, and critical habitat for fauna and flora.
(b) Information regarding standards for agricultural or horticultural development in the Highlands preservation area can be obtained by contacting the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, John Fitch Plaza, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625-0330.
(c) The Department shall issue the following written determinations pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:38-2, upon application and payment of a fee:
1. Whether a proposed activity meets the definition of "major Highlands development" as set forth in 7:38-1.4;
2. Whether a proposed activity is exempt from the requirements of the Highlands Act; and
3. Whether a proposed activity is consistent with the applicable areawide Water Quality Management Plan adopted in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:15.
(d) The Department shall issue written confirmation regarding the location and extent of Highlands resource areas on a particular lot and block within a specific municipality pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:38-4, upon application and payment of a fee.
(e) The Department shall designate a brownfield in accordance with the requirements at 7:38-6.6.
(f) No person shall undertake a major Highlands development without first obtaining a Highlands Preservation Area Approval (HPAA) from the Department in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:38-6. An application for a HPAA shall include any application for waiver of a HPAA requirement under 7:38-6.4 the applicant may decide to submit.
(g) For all decisions in or affecting the planning area or the preservation area, the Department shall give great consideration and weight to the RMP, to be incorporated by reference in (l) below, when adopted by the Highlands Council, and shall apply this in accordance with (h), (i), (j) and (k) below.
(h) For the planning area, when consistent with its statutory and regulatory authority, the Department shall not issue any approval, authorization or permit that the Department determines, in consultation with the Highlands Council, to be incompatible with the resource protection goals in the RMP to be incorporated by reference in (l) below, when adopted by the Highlands Council.
(i) In its review of permits or approvals under this chapter in the preservation area, the Department shall apply the standards of this chapter and those in the RMP, to be incorporated by reference in (l) below, when adopted by the Highlands Council. Where the Department, in consultation with the Highlands Council, determines there is an inconsistency in the standards, the Department shall apply the Regional Master Plan standards insofar as they are:
1. Consistent with the purposes of the Highlands Act to sustain and maintain the overall ecological values of the ecosystem of the Highlands Region with special reference to surface and ground water quality and supply; contiguous forests and woodlands; endangered and threatened animals, plants, and biotic communities; ecological factors relating to the protection and enhancement of agricultural or horticultural production or activity; air quality; and other appropriate considerations affecting the ecological integrity of the Highlands Region; and
2. Based on, comply with, and implement the environmental standards set forth in 13:20-32.
(j) For both the planning area and preservation areas, the Department shall give great consideration and weight to the RMP, to be incorporated by reference in (l) below, in making permit decisions that:
1. Provide relief from strict compliance with the standards of the applicable permit programs, such as making a determination of public benefit or hardship waiver from certain Departmental permits; or
2. Provide relief through the issuance of an HPPA with waiver under this chapter.
(k) For both the planning area and preservation areas, the Department shall review the Highlands Council regional master plan and consider amending the appropriate areawide Water Quality Management Plans to maintain consistency with the regional master plan.
(l) The Regional Master Plan shall mean the standards established in the Regional Master Plan adopted by the Highlands Council pursuant to 13:20-8, including all goals, requirements, provisions, and any municipal master plans and development regulations or county master plans and associated regulations that have been formally approved by the Highlands Council pursuant to the Highlands Act. The Regional Master Plan shall be incorporated by reference into this chapter, when adopted by the Highlands Council pursuant to 13:20-8, provided the Department does not determine such incorporation is inconsistent with the purposes of this chapter. The incorporation by reference shall include all amendments to the Regional Master Plan subsequently adopted by the Highlands Council. The Regional Master Plan will be available on the Highlands Council's website at www.highlands.state.nj.us or may be reviewed at the Department or at the Highlands Council at the addresses at 7:38-1.2.

Notes

N.J. Admin. Code § 7:38-1.1
Amended by 48 N.J.R. 2244(a), effective 11/7/2016

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