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Division of Land Use Regulation
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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Appurtenant Improvements

  • Overview
  • Freshwater Wetlands
  • Flood Hazard
  • Coastal
  • Tidelands

An appurtenant improvement includes any improvement to a structure or property (such as additions, garages, sheds, etc.).  Appurtenant improvements disturb “special areas” regulated by the Department may require multiple permits from the Division of Land Use Regulation prior to site preparation or construction.  The presence or absence of special areas can be rudimentarily determined using the Department’s online mapping service, NJ-GeoWeb.  Special areas within your project site may also affect the type of authorization required.  Therefore, it is important to closely examine a proposed activity relative to the sensitive areas which may be impacted. 

The above tabs provide additional information on permit requirements relating to appurtenant improvements.  For impacts to streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, flood plains, flood ways, riparian zones, please see the "Flood Hazard" tab. For impacts to special coastal areas, please see the "Coastal" tab. For impacts to Freshwater Wetlands, see the "Freshwater Wetlands" tab.  Information on Tidelands can be found by selecting the "Tidelands" tab.


The construction of Appurtenant Improvements within Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) or FWW transition areas (Buffers) requires a FWW General Permit No. 8 "House Additions" from this Divsion. Additions and/or appurtenant improvements are not permitted in State open waters under this General Permit.

There is a specific set of requirements in order to qualify for a FWW General Permt No. 8.

  • The dwelling must be lawfully existing prior to July 1, 1988
  • Improvements or additions must be less than a cumulative surface area of 750 square feet of fill and/or disturbance and will not result in new alterations to a freshwater wetlands outside of the 750 square foot area.
  • An addition or improvement shall be located within 100 feet of the residential dwelling.

If the project for an addition or appurtenant improvement cannot comply with the criteria for a GP-8, the applicant would need to apply for an Individual Permit (IP). An IP application would need to include a description as to why the project cannot be minimized to satisfy the General Permit criteria described in the links above.

Performing appurtenant improvements in regulated areas may require authorization pursuant to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules.  Assuming there is no jurisdiction pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management rules at N.J.A.C. 7:7, authorization may be granted through a Flood Hazard Area Permit-by-rule (PBR), General Permit or an Individual Permit.

Potential qualifying PBRs include those found at N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(a)4, N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(b)6, N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(b)7, or N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(b)9.  Please refer to the rules to see the all of the applicable conditions where each PBR would apply. 

In addition to these potential PBRs, an applicant may qualify for a Flood Hazard Area General Permit No. 7.  Projects that do not meet any of the PBRs or the Flood Hazard Area General Permit No. 7 may require a Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit.

If the proposed project is regulated pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management rules, then no separate Flood Hazard approval is required.  In these instances, the applicant need only submit a report and plans demonstrating compliance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules as part of the coastal permit application.

Construction of an appurtenant improvement (addition, garage, shed, pool, or other similar structure) within coastal area generally requires a permit.  However, certain minor improvement activities may qualify for one of the below described exemptions, Permits-by-rule, or General Permits.  If the project does not qualify for one of the aforementioned authorizations, a CAFRA, Coastal Wetlands, and/or Waterfront Development Individual Permit may be required.
The “Jurisdiction” tab of the "Coastal Areas" section can help you determine which areas of your site may be regulated.  The availability of certain exemptions and permits for a project depends on where your project is proposed.

Potentially applicable Exemptions:

Please see applicable rule for complete requirements.

  • The repair or maintenance of a structure, such as replacing siding, windows, or roofs within CAFRA or Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction pursuant to the definition of “development” per N.J.A.C. 7:7-1.5
  • The construction of a residential patio, deck or similar structure within CAFRA jurisdiction provided such construction does not result in the grading, excavation or filling of a beach or dune per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.2(c)5.
  • The construction, alteration, expansion, or reconstruction of an individual single-family home or addition within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction if constructed more than 100’ landward of the mean high water line per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.4(d)1.
  • The reconstruction, conversion, alteration, or enlargement of any existing structure within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction that does not exceed 5,000 sq. ft., is located more than 100’ landward of the mean high water line and does not result in a change in land use per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.4(d)2.

Potentially applicable Permits-by-rule (PBRs):

PBR 1- authorizes expansion of a legally constructed, habitable single-family home or duplex on the non-waterward sides of the single-family home or duplex, provided the expansion:

  • Is not proposed on a beach, dune, or wetland;
  • Meets the requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:7-9.25; and
  • Does not exceed a cumulative surface area of 400 sq. ft. on the property constructed after July 19, 1994.

For example, a 200 sq. ft. expansion of a single family home or duplex could be authorized under this PBR and an additional 200 sq. ft. expansion could later be authorized under this PBR, since the cumulative footprint of the development for both expansions would not exceed 400 sq. ft. on the property.  However, a property on which a 300 sq. ft. expansion was already constructed pursuant to a PBR would not be eligible for another PBR subsequently for an additional 200 sq. ft. expansion since the cumulative total footprint of development for both expansions would exceed 400 sq. ft.

Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7-4.1 for complete rule requirements.

 PBR 2 - authorizes the development (including expansion or reconstruction and expansion) of a single-family home or duplex and/or accessory development (such as garages, sheds, pools driveways, grading, excavation and clearing but excluding shore protection structures), provided the single family home or duplex and accessory development are located on a bulkheaded lagoon lot and:

  • Development under this PBR does not result in development of more than one single-family home or duplex either solely or in conjunction with a previous development as defined at N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.2(b)8;
  • The site is located on a man-made lagoon lot, with an existing bulkhead along the entire waterfront portion of the site;
  • All waterfront portions of the site are protected by a currently serviceable bulkhead;
  • There are no wetlands on the site landward of the bulkhead;
  • The proposed single family home or duplex and accessory structures, excluding decks, are set back a minimum of 15’ from the waterward face of the bulkhead. If there is no alternative to locating the proposed single family home or duplex and accessory structures at least 15’ landward of the bulkhead, the setback shall be reduced if an engineering certification is provided demonstrating that, after the proposed development has been constructed, the shore protection structure can be replaced within 18” of the existing bulkhead and a conservation restriction is recorded for the property which states that any reconstruction of a bulkhead shall be within 18” inches of the existing bulkhead; and
  • The development meets the requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:7-9.25 Flood hazard areas.

Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7-4.2 for complete rule requirements.

PBR 7 - authorizes the expansion or relocation (with or without expansion) landward or parallel to the mean high water line of the footprint of a legally constructed residential development, including accessory development such as sheds, garages, pools, and driveways, or commercial development that has been or could have been legally occupied in the most recent five-year period, provided:

  • The expansion or relocation is in compliance with the applicable requirements or codes of municipal, State and Federal law;
  • Except as provided below, the expansion or relocation is not proposed on a beach, dune, or wetland;
  • In the case of residential development, the expansion does not result in an increase in the number of dwelling units;
  • In the case of commercial development, the expansion does not result in an increase in the number of parking spaces or equivalent parking area associated with the development;
  • Except as provided below, the expansion or relocation does not result in additional impacts to special areas as defined at N.J.A.C. 7:7-9;
  • The expansion or relocation meets the requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:7-9.25 Flood hazard areas and N.J.A.C. 7:7-9.26 Riparian zones;
  • The expansion does not increase the surface area of the footprint of the development by a cumulative total of more than 400 sq. ft. on the property constructed after July 19, 1994; and
  • Where the expansion includes structures such as stairs or an ADA-compliant ramp, which are constructed only for access to a residential or commercial development required to be elevated pursuant to the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code, N.J.A.C. 5:23, in accordance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, there is no feasible alternative location for these structures outside of a beach, dune, wetland, or other special areas as defined at N.J.A.C. 7:7-9.1.  ADA means the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 USC sect. 1201 et seq.).

Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7-4.7 for complete rule requirements.

Potentially applicable General Permits (GPs):

GP 4 – authorizes development of one or two single-family homes or duplexes

GP 5 – authorizes expansion or reconstruction of a single family home or duplex

If the proposed project does not meet the requirements of an exemption, Permit-by-rule, or General Permit, the project may require a CAFRA, Coastal Wetlands and/or Waterfront Development Individual Permit.

Please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center at (609) 777-0454 should you require further assistance.

Tidelands, also known as riparian lands, are all those lands now or formerly flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway; that is to say any land that is currently or was previously covered by tidal waters.  The State of New Jersey, and therefore the people of New Jersey, owns all Tidelands except for those to which it has already sold its interest in the form of a riparian grant.  It is important to note that the State generally does not own artificial waterways such as lagoons however, the State does claim those lands within a lagoon that were flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway which existed prior to the creation of the lagoon.

Appurtenant improvements that are proposed in a tidelands area may require a tidelands license if the activities are taking place at or below the mean high water line of a tidal waterway or a tidelands grant if the activities are taking place in an area that is currently landward of the mean high water line but was, at some point, flowed by the tide.

A tidelands license is a short term revocable rental document to use tidelands generally for structures such as docks, bulkhead extensions, mooring piles, and other temporary structures as well as for dredging projects. Licenses are project specific and expire after a finite term ranging from one to ten years. Most licenses may be renewed.

A riparian grant, or tidelands grant, is a deed from the State of New Jersey selling its tidelands. Tidelands grants are generally only issued for lands that have already been filled in and are no longer flowed by the tide.

For more information on tidelands instruments, please see the tidelands section of this website.

For information and instruction on how to determine whether you are in an area that may require either a license or a grant, or for information how to apply for Tideland instruments please see the "Before you Build, Before you Buy" webpage.


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