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

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Linear Development

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

Linear development refers to land uses such as roads, drives, railroads, sewerage and stormwater managment pipes, gas and water pipelines, eletrical, telephone, and other transmission lines, the basic function of which is to connect two points. Linear development does not mean residential, commercial, office, or industrial buildings, improvements within a development such as utility lines, pipes, or internal circulation roads.

Linear development because it connects two points often crosses State regulated areas requiring Department approvals.

Depending upon where in the State your property is located and what (special areas) [\\dep-tcshared\shared\lum\LUR\WebDev\specialareas.html] your project may be impacting, different approvals for the Department may be needed. If you don't know what special areas are on your site, or if you are not sure if your property is located in a (Coastal Area) [V:\lum\LUR\WebDev\cp_main.html] please check out the (before you buy, before you build) [\\dep-tcshared\shared\lum\LUR\WebDev\bybob.html] section of this website for guidance on determining if your site has one of these regulated special areas on it. If you know of, or have an idea of what special areas your proposed project will impact, you can click on any of the tabs above for more information.

 

The maintenance or construction of linear development within freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters requires a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit or FWW Transition Area waiver. Several FWW General Permits (GP) are available for these types of activities.

(GP1-Maintenance and repair of existing features) [V:\lum\LUR\WebDev\fww\fww_gp01.html] - May be obtained if you have an exsiting linear development and are conducting repairs or maintenance to it and not increasing disturbances to freshwater wetlands, transition areas, or State open waters.

(GP2-Underground utility lines) [V:\lum\LUR\WebDev\fww\fww_gp02.html] - May be obtained if you have are installing an underground utility line such as a gas pipe, sewer pipe, or underground electric line across freshwater wetlands, transition areas, or State open waters and disturbing no more than 0.5 acres of those features. Also any disturbance over 0.1 acres to wetlands under a GP2 the applicant is required to provide (mitigation) [V:\lum\LUR\WebDev\mitigate.html].

(GP10A-Very minor road crossings) [Link] - May be obtained if you have are installing or improving a roadway or driveway, that in general is disturbing less than 100 feet and 0.25 acres or is disturbing less than one eighth acre or less of freshwater wetlands, transition areas, or State open waters .

(GP10B-Minor road crossings) [Link] - May be obtained if you have are installing or improving a roadway or driveway, that in general is disturbing less than 0.25 acres of freshwater wetlands, transition areas, or State open waters and there are no alternative onsite locations or configurations which would provide access with less evironmental impacts.

(GP21-Above ground utility lines) [Link] - May be obtained if you have are installing an above ground utility line such as a telephone, cable, or electric line across freshwater wetlands, transition areas, or State open waters and disturbing no more than 0.5 acres of those features. Also any disturbance over 0.1 acres to wetlands under a GP21 the applicant is required to provide (mitigation) [V:\lum\LUR\WebDev\mitigate.html].

Transition Area Waivers (TAW)
(TAW - Averaging Plan) [Link] - May be obtained for impacts from linear development to transition areas only, but not in combination with any General Permit which would increase the allowable amount of disturbance under that permit.

(TAW - Linear Development) [Link] - May be obtained for impacts from linear development to transition areas only, but not in combination with any General Permit which would increase the allowable amount of disturbance under that permit. In addition, there must be no feasibile alternative location for the linear development, including modifying the route, reducing the width, or utilizing areas not owned by the applicant. Also the proposed utility line must meet the definition of (Linear Development) [Link] under the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules, specifically, connecting two exsiting points with a new utility line.

If the linear development cannot comply with the criteria for the above listed GP's and TAW's, the applicant would need to apply for an (Individual Permit) [Link] (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.

The construction of a Linear Development such as a roadway or railroad in a regulated area requires authorization of some type under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules.  This depends upon whether or not the project area is regulated under the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) rules.  Specifically, if regulated under CZM, then no separate flood hazard approval is required.  In this case, the applicant need only submit a report and plans demonstrating compliance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules as part of the CZM permit application. 

Assuming there is no jurisdiction under CZM, authorization may be granted under four different Permits by Rule (PBRs) as described in N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(d).  These four PBRs cover a range of roadway projects, including repaving a roadway outside of a floodway, placing open guardrail along a public roadway, removing sediment by hand adjacent to a bridge, culvert or outfall along a public roadway and reconstructing a bridge superstructure above the flood hazard area. 

In order to qualify for the PBRs mentioned above, the reader is referred to N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(d) to become familiarized with the limitations of each of the four types of PBRs. 

There are no Flood Hazard General Permits available to permit the construction of linear developments. 

Should the project not be eligible under any of the aforementioned Permits by Rule, and should the project not be regulated under CZM, then the applicant must obtain a formal, written flood hazard area verification and individual permit prior to construction. The technical standards are described in Subchapters 9, 10 and 11 of the Rules.

The construction of new roads or railroads in the coastal zone generally requires an Individual permit.  If a residential development requires the construction of more than 1,200 linear feet of roads, the entire project requires a CAFRA Individual permit regardless of the number of dwelling units. However, many projects which involve roads or railroads are exempt from permitting requirements as described below.  If the proposed project does not meet the requirements for an exemption, a CAFRA or Waterfront Development Individual permit or Coastal Wetlands permit will be required. If your project is the construction or replacement of a utility line, please refer to the “Utility Lines” section in the “List of Common Project Types” section of the website.  If your project is the construction, repair, or replacement of a driveway, please refer to the “Roads and Driveways” section in the “List of Common Project Types” section of the website.

Please refer to the “Jurisdiction” section of the "Coastal Permitting" section of the website to determine which areas regulated under the Coastal Permit Program Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7-1.1 et seq.) and the Coastal Zone Management Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1 et seq.) occur on your site. The availability of certain permits and exemptions for a project depends on where your project is proposed.

Additional information regarding the Division’s coastal program can be found on the “Coastal Permitting” section of this website.  If necessary, please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center for further assistance.


These exemptions may apply to your project –

  • The maintenance, repair or replacement of existing and functional railroads and related structures within CAFRA jurisdiction and located completely within cleared and maintained rights-of way. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(b) 2iv.
  • The construction of a new road less than 1,200 feet in length or a 1,200 foot extension of a road within CAFRA jurisdiction and is located more than 150 feet from the mean high water line or landward limit of a beach or dune. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(b) 3i.
  • The routine reconstruction, substantially similar functional replacement, maintenance or repair of public highways, excluding the paving of an unpaved roadway, within CAFRA jurisdiction and conducted by any government entity within the existing public right-of-way  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(c) 6i.
  • The lane widening of public highways and intersection and shoulder improvement projects, including paving and repaving, without increasing the number of travel lanes within CAFRA jurisdiction and conducted by any government entity within the existing public right-of-way.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(c) 6ii.
  • The installation of public highway signs, lighting, guide rails and other nonintrusive safety projects within CAFRA jurisdiction located within the existing public right-of-way and conducted by any government entity. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(c) 6iii.
  • The re-striping of public highways and the addition of toll booths within CAFRA jurisdiction and conducted by any government entity within the existing public right-of-way provided that these activities do not result in any increase in asphalt or concrete pavement.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.1(c) 6iv.The reconstruction, conversion, alteration, or enlargement of any existing structure within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction located more than 100 feet landward of the mean high water line provided no change in land use results, and the enlargement is not greater than 5,000 square feet Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d)2.
  • The minor addition to or changes in existing structures within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction which do not result in adverse environmental impacts to special areas provided the addition is located in an existing cleared area of the site, is set back a minimum of 15 feet from the mean high water line, and such changes do not result in a change in land use. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d)3.

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.

The construction of a linear development that is 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 any portion of 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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