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

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Pilings

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

Construction or reconstruction of Pilings is usually tied to a dock or marina construction and may impact a number of regulatory areas.

Activities which may disturb special areas of the State that are regulated by the Department, including construction or reconstruction of Pilings, may require an approval from the Division prior to construction. An area containing sensitive and endangered plant species for example, may be irreparably damaged by such activities. It is important therefore to closely examine a proposed project relative to the sensitive areas which may be impacted.

Construction or reconstruction of a Pilings may require multiple approvals from the Division, depending on the special areas impacted by the project. If you don't know what special areas are on your site, please check out the before you buy, before you build section of this website for guidance on determining if your site has one of these regulated special areas on it.

For information on Land Use permit requirements for construction or reconstruction of a Pilings within specific "special areas", please click on each of the tabs above.*

*For impacts to Streams, Rivers, Lakes, Ponds, Flood Plains, Flood Way, Riparian Zones and other water body related areas, please click on the "Flood Hazard" tab. For impacts to special coastal areas, please click on the "Coastal" tab. For impacts to Freshwater Wetlands, click on the "Freshwater Wetlands" tab. Information on Tidelands can be found in the "Tidelands" tab.

 

The placement of Pilings is not a regulated activity in State open waters under the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules, however it is a regulated activity when conducted in Freshwater Wetlands or Freshwater Wetlands Transition Areas. The type of general permit (GP) available depends on the activity for which you are applying.

If your are constructing a trail or boardwalk which requires pilings, then you would either apply for a GP 17 or GP 17a. For more information, go to trails and boardwalks, to determine which of these to apply for.

If you are constructing a Dock or Pier, then you would possibly apply for a FWW GP19. Go to Docks and Piers, to determine if this permit is the correct choice for your project.

If the project cannot comply with the criteria for any of these general permits 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.

Pilings generally are used to support other structures such as docks, decks, elevated homes, etc.  The pilings will not be specifically regulated; however, those structures on the pilings will be regulated.

The installation of mooring piles for recreational or commercial use generally requires a coastal permit. .   There is an exemption as well as a coastal general permit for the installation of mooring piles below the mean high water line. If the project does not meet the requirements for an exemption or general permit, the project twill generally require a Waterfront Development or CAFRA Individual permit and /or Coastal Wetlands  permit. 

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.

This exemption may apply to your project –

  • The repair, replacement, renovation, or reconstruction of mooring piles located within Waterfront Development jurisdiction provided they legally existed prior to January 1, 1981 and appear on the applicable 1971/1972 Coastal Wetlands map or the applicable 1977/1978 Tidelands map.  A floating dock must be constructed in the same location and size (length and width) as the pre-existing structure.  This exemption is referred to as a Zane Exemption.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(d)7 for information on all of the requirements of this exemption.

This coastal permit-by-rule may apply to your project--

  • Coastal General Permit 19 authorizes the construction of structures, such as pilings, in man-made lagoons at single family home or duplex lots provided all of the requirements of this general permit are met.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.19 for information on the requirements of this general permit. 

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.  

The proposed placement/driving of pilings 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. 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.

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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Last Updated: May 21, 2014