Municipal Public Access Planning>DEP Review and Approval Process>Review Criteria
N.J.A.C. 7:7E-8.11(i) provides that the Department will review applications for approval of a MPAP to determine whether the MPAP is consistent with the goals established at N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1(c) and N.J.A.C. 7:7E-8.11(b), as well as all requirements specified in N.J.A.C. 7:7E-8.11.
NJAC 7:7E-1.1(c) goals
Both the Coastal Management Program and the Coastal Zone Management rules are founded on the eight broad coastal goals described at (c)1 through 8 below. The coastal goals express results that the Coastal Management Program strives to attain. Each goal is supplemented by related policies that set forth the means to realize that goal. The Coastal Zone Management rules, including the coastal goals and policies set forth below, are enforceable policies of New Jersey’s Coastal Management Program as approved under the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1450). The New Jersey Coastal Management Program goals and supplemental policies are:
- Healthy coastal ecosystems
- Protect, enhance and restore coastal habitats and their living resources to promote biodiversity, water quality, aesthetics, recreation and healthy coastal ecosystems; and
- Manage coastal activities to protect natural resources and the environment;
- Effective management of ocean and estuarine resources.
- Develop and implement management measures to attain sustainable recreational and commercial fisheries;
- Manage commercial uses to reduce conflict between users and encourage water dependent uses; and
- Administer the safe and environmentally sound use of coastal waters and beaches to protect natural, cultural and aesthetic resources, promote safe navigation, and provide recreational opportunities;
- Meaningful public access to and use of tidal waterways and their shores.
- Preserve public trust rights to tidal waterways and their shores;
- Preserve and enhance views of the coastal landscape to enrich aesthetic and cultural values and vital communities;
- Conserve and increase safe, environmentally sound, and meaningful public access from both the land and water to the tidal waterways and their shores for recreation and aesthetic experiences;
- Enhance public access by promoting adequate affordable public facilities and services;
- Balance diverse uses of tidal waterways and their shores; and
- Protect, enhance and promote waterfront parks;
- Sustained and revitalized water-dependent uses.
- Encourage, sustain and enhance active port and other water-dependent facilities, and maritime uses;
- Encourage the redevelopment of inactive and under-utilized waterfront facilities for port, water-dependent and maritime uses;
- Conserve waterfront sites for water-dependent activities; and
- Manage dredging in an environmentally sound manner, promote environmentally sound and economically feasible dredge material management practices and preserve historic dredged material placement sites;
- Coastal open space.
- Preserve, enhance and restore open space including natural, scenic, historic and ecologically important landscapes that:
- Provide opportunities for passive and active recreation;
- Protect valuable wildlife and plant habitats and ecosystem health, foster aesthetic and cultural values;
- Minimize natural hazards; and
- Abate impacts from nonpoint sources of pollution;
- Promote and enhance public access to and use of open space where appropriate; and
- Promote strategies for the creation of open space;
- Safe, healthy and well-planned coastal communities and regions.
- Manage coastal activities and foster well-planned communities and regions that:
- Encourage mixed-use redevelopment of distressed waterfront communities including underutilized, abandoned and contaminated sites;
- Promote concentrated patterns of development;
- Ensure the availability of suitable waterfront areas for water dependent activities;
- Sustain coastal economies;
- Create vibrant coastal communities and waterfronts;
- Conserve water supply;
- Protect the natural environment;
- Minimize the threat of natural hazards to life and property;
- Provide meaningful public access to tidal waterways and their shores; and
- Preserve and restore significant historic and cultural resources and aesthetic coastal features;
- Maintain, enhance and encourage maritime uses;
- Preserve and enhance beach and dune systems and wetlands, and manage natural features to protect the public from natural hazards;
- Promote public health, safety and welfare;
- Promote and implement strategies for the development of hazard mitigation plans; and
- Promote and implement strategies that eliminate or reduce risks to human health and the ecosystem from coastal activities;
- Coordinated coastal decision-making, comprehensive planning and research.
- Promote the attainment of the New Jersey Coastal Management Program goals by encouraging other government agencies to employ the policies which supplement the goals;
- Encourage incorporation of the coastal goals and supplemental policies into State, regional and municipal land use management, funding and acquisition programs within the coastal zone;
- Coordinate cooperative government sponsored and academic coastal research and information dissemination to foster informed decision-making;
- Ensure opportunities for public participation in coastal decision-making;
- Encourage the preparation of comprehensive plans, including:
- Land acquisition plans that further the goals and supplemental policies of New Jersey’s Coastal Management Program; and
- Special area management plans that protect significant natural resources and provide the opportunity for sound coastal dependent economic development; and
- Coordinated public education and outreach.
- Coordinate education and outreach activities on coastal issues; and
- Encourage coastal related education and participation opportunities for the public.
NJAC 7:7E-8.11(b) goals
In addition to the broad coastal goals outlined at N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1(c), public
access shall be provided in a manner designed to achieve the following public access goals:
- All levels of government in New Jersey shall seek to create and enhance opportunities for public access to tidal waterways and their shores, on a nondiscriminatory basis;
- All existing public access to, and along tidal waterways and their shores shall be maintained to the maximum extent practicable;
- New development shall provide opportunity for public access to tidal waterways and their shores on or offsite;
- Public access proposed by an applicant may include any one or combination of the following:
- A public accessway designed in accordance with (x) below, located parallel to the shoreline with perpendicular access;
- A boat ramp, pier, fishing, or other direct access to the waterway;
- A waterfront pocket park;
- Public restrooms to accommodate those utilizing public access; and/or
- Additional public parking to accommodate those utilizing public access;
- Public access proposed by an applicant shall incorporate, to the maximum extent practicable, fishing access and associated amenities, including parking that accommodates nighttime fishing for a reasonable duration of time, on or adjacent to tidal waterways and their shores. In the case of a beach, fishing access shall not be required in areas designated for swimming during hours designated for swimming.
- Public access to tidal waterways and their shores shall be provided in such a way that it shall not create conditions that may be reasonably expected to endanger public health or safety, or damage the environment. To that end, public access may be restricted seasonally, hourly, or in scope (for example, access restricted to a portion of the property, or access allowed for fishing but not swimming due to consistent strong currents); and
- Public access to tidal waterways and their shores shall be provided in such a way that it shall not create a significant homeland security vulnerability, as determined by the Department in consultation with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness or the United States Department of Homeland Security. Therefore, public access may be prohibited in locations where homeland security concerns are present or where it is not practicable based on the risk of injury from hazardous operations or substantial permanent obstructions, and no measures can be taken to avert these risks
The Location rules (subchapters 3 through 6), Use rules (subchapter 7) and Resource rules (subchapter 8) stem from the coastal goals at (c) above. The Department does not expect each proposed use of coastal resources to involve all location rules, use rules, and resource rules. Decision-making on proposed actions involves examining, weighing, and evaluating complex interests using the framework provided by this chapter. The Coastal Zone Management rules provide a mechanism for integrating professional judgment by Department officials, as well as recommendations and comments by applicants, public agencies, specific interest groups, corporations, and citizens into the coastal decision-making process. In this process, interpretations of terms,
such as “prudent,” “feasible,” “minimal,” “practicable,” and “maximum extent,” as used in a rule or a combination of rules, may vary depending upon the context of the proposed use, location, and design.
The Department shall review the draft Municipal Public Access Plan and supporting documents to determine whether the plan is consistent with N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1(c), the standards and goals for public access at (b) above and all other requirements of this section. The Department shall notify the applicant in writing of its determination and shall publish notice in the New Jersey Register and the DEP Bulletin.