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Single Family Home
- Freshwater Wetlands
- Flood Hazard
Single-family home construction, reconstruction, relocation and/or elevation may result in disturbances to “special areas” regulated by the Department. Such disturbances 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 project relative to the sensitive areas which may be impacted.
The above tabs provide additional information on permit requirements relating to residential development. 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 new single family houses and additions and improvement to existing ones within freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters requires a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit or a FWW Transition Area waiver. Several FWW General Permits (GP) and FWW Transition Area Waivers are available for these types of activities.
GP8-House additions - May be obtained if you are constructing an addition or appurtenant structure (examples include detached garages, pole barns, sheds, gazebos, pools and pool houses) in wetlands or transition areas. The area that the proposed addition or structure is impacting must be less than 750 square feet and be located within 100 feet of the exsiting house. If your house has been demolished or destroyed by fire within the last five years you may obtain a GP8 for the reconstruction within the original house footprint with an increase up to 750 square feet, provided that you can document that the house was "habitable" (a person could legally occupy the dwelling and that the dwelling had utilities including a functioning septic system or legal connection to a sewer) at the time of destruction.
GP10A-Very minor road crossings - May be obtained if you have are installing or improving a roadway or driveway to an exsiting or proposed single family house, 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 - May be obtained if you have are installing or improving a roadway or driveway to an exsiting or proposed single family house, 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.
GP25-Malfunctioning individual subsurface sewage disposal (septic) systems - May be obtained if you have are repairing or modifying a malfunctioning septic system associated with an exsiting single family house within freshwater wetlands or transition areas and disturbing no more than 0.25 acres of those features. In addition, in order to obtain a GP25 you must have a letter from the local board of health with jurisdiction over the septic system stating that proposed septic system complies with state standards, is not an expansion of the system, a change in use, and that there is no alternative onsite location. Please note, a GP25 is not for a new septic system, a new septic systems is not permited in freshwater wetlands or transition areas without an (Individual Permit) [Link] (IP). An IP application would need to include a description as to why the project cannot be construction outside of regulated areas.
TAW - Averaging Plan (Go to the "Transition Area Waivers" tab in the linked webpage) - May be obtained for impacts to transition areas only for the construction of a single family house or appurtenant structure (examples include detached garages, pole barns, sheds, gazebos, pools and pool houses), but not in combination with any General Permit which would increase the allowable amount of disturbance under that permit. In addition, a TAW - Averaging Plan can not be used to place a septic system within a transition area.
TAW - Hardship Waiver (Go to the "Transition Area Waivers" tab in the linked webpage) - may be obtained to reduce the transition area to 75 feet adajacent to an exceptional resource value wetland and 25 feet adjacent to a intermediate resource value wetland if you demonstrate that the presence of transition area on site makes it impossible to build a singel family house under other provisions of TAW's. In addition, the lot had to be created by subdivision before July 1, 1988, has been continuously owned by the applicant since then, and is not contiguous with an improved property that was owned by the applicant. Also you must show that you have unsucesslly attempted to purchase adjacent properties for fair market value in order to create a developable upland and you have offered the propoerty for sale at fair market value (determined by a State-licensed appraiser) to adjacent property owners and public/private conservation organizations (on a list provided by the Department).
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 (IP) (Go to the "Individual Permits" tab in the linked webpage) if the construction is proposed in a wetland or a TAW - Individual Permit (Go to the "Transition Area Waivers" tab in the linked webpage), if the construction is proposed within a transition area. 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 reconstruction, relocation and/or elevation of a single family home is a regulated activity in the floodplain and/or riparian zone. The permit required varies depending on the area where the home is located. A single family home (not part of a subdivision) that is located within a tidal flood hazard area (and does not require a CAFRA or waterfront development permit) can be permitted under a flood hazard area General Permit #7.
If the construction of a single family home is proposed within a fluvial flood hazard area (not tidal) and/or within a riparian zone that has not been previously developed or disturbed than an Individual Permit will be required.
If the construction of a single family home is proposed outside of a flood hazard area but within a riparian zone where previous development or disturbance has occurred then the activity may be authorize under a Permit by Rule.
If the reconstruction, relocation and/or elevation of a lawfully existing single family home is proposed outside of the floodway then the activity may be authorized under a Permit by Rule. This authorization may include an expansion of the single family home’s footprint up to 300 square feet.
The construction, reconstruction, relocation and/or expansion of a single-family homes, duplexes, and/or accessory developments within coastal areas may require a permit. The range of activities related to residential development may qualify for an exemption, Permit-by-rule, or a General Permit. If the proposed project does not meet the requirements of the aforementioned authorizations, the project may require a CAFRA, Coastal Wetlands and/or Waterfront Development Individual Permit.
The “Jurisdiction” tab of the "Coastal Areas" webpage can help you determine which areas of your site may be regulated. The availability of certain permits depends on the project’s location.
Potentially applicable Exemptions:
Please see applicable rule for complete requirements.
- The reconstruction of a driveway within CAFRA jurisdiction that was legally existing on and damaged subsequent to July 19, 1994 per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.2(c)3.
- 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 located within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction and more than 100’ landward of the mean high water line, provided there is no change in land use and the enlargement is less than 5,000 sq. ft. per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.4(d)2.
- The minor addition or changes to existing structures (such as driveways) within Upland Waterfront Development jurisdiction that do not result in adverse impacts to special areas defined at N.J.A.C.7:7-9, are located on an existing cleared area of the site, are set back a minimum of 15’ landward of the mean high water line, and do not result in a change of land use per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.4(d)3.
- A Waterfront Development Permit shall not be required for the repair, replacement, renovation, or reconstruction, in the same location and size of any bulkhead legally existing prior to January 1, 1981, that appears on the applicable Tidelands Map or that appears on the applicable coastal wetlands map identified pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.3(c) and chapter Appendix D or that received a waterfront development permit subsequent to the date of the Tidelands Map or coastal wetlands map, as applicable, provided that the repair, replacement, renovation, or reconstruction is in the same location as the preexisting structure, and does not increase the size of the structure and the structure is used solely for residential purposes or for the docking of or servicing of pleasure vessels.
- Please note, the size of any bulkhead shall be measured in two dimensions, that is, length and width. However, low-profile bulkheads where the top of the bulkhead is constructed at an elevation below the spring high water line, shall be measured in three dimensions, that is, length, width, and height per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.4(d)7.
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 Flood hazard areas at 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 development of a single-family home or duplex and/or accessory development (such as garages, sheds, pools driveways, grading, excavation and clearing excluding shore protection structures) on a bulkheaded lagoon lot, provided:
- 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” of the existing bulkhead;
- A silt fence is erected landward of the bulkhead with a 10’ landward return on each end prior to construction. This fence shall be maintained and remain in place until all construction and landscaping activities are completed;
- If the development includes the construction of a driveway, any newly constructed portion of the driveway is covered with a permeable material or else be pitched to drain all runoff onto permeable areas of the site;
- The development meets the requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:7-9.25;
- The single-family home or duplex shall be serviced by an existing municipal sewer system; and
- All sub-gravel liners must be made of filter cloth or other permeable material.
Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7-4.2 for complete rule requirements.
PBR 6 - authorizes reconstruction within the same footprint, of a legally constructed residential or commercial development that has been or could have been legally occupied in the most recent five-year period, provided that such reconstruction:
- Is in compliance with existing requirements or codes of municipal, State, and Federal law;
- Does not result in the enlargement or relocation of the footprint of the development;
- In the case of a residential development, does not result in an increase in the number of dwelling units;
- In the case of a commercial development, does not result in an increase in the number of parking spaces or equivalent paved area associated with the development;
- Meets the requirements of Flood hazard areas at N.J.A.C. 7:7-9.25; and
- Does not increase the area covered by buildings and/or asphalt or concrete pavement.
Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7-4.6 for complete rule requirements.
PBR 7 - authorizes 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 in 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 Flood hazard areas at N.J.A.C. 7:7-9.25 and Riparian zones at N.J.A.C. 7:7-9.26;
- 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. 7:7E-3. 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.
PBR 9 - authorizes previous filling of tidelands associated with an existing single-family home or duplex where a single-family home or duplex is proposed or exists on a lot which was previously filled and is not part of a larger development, the prior filling of any lands on the lot formerly flowed by the tide shall be considered by the Department to be authorized under this PBR, provided:
- The filling appears on the applicable Tidelands Map.
Please be advised, the PBR applies only if a tidelands instrument has been obtained for all filled tidelands areas.
Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7-4.9 for complete rule requirements.
Potentially applicable General Permits (GPs):
GP 3 - authorizes voluntary reconstruction of certain residential or commercial development
GP 4 - authorizes development of one or two single-family homes or duplexes
GP 5 - authorizes expansion or reconstruction (with or without expansion) of a single-family home or
Please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center at (609) 777-0454 should you require further assistance.
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.