AMENDMENTS TO COASTAL CENTER RULES
Proposal Would Reestablish
Coastal Centers in Towns Seeking Plan Endorsement
(05/71) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced proposed
changes to the Coastal Zone Management rules that address the
development of coastal centers that expired February 7, 2005.
The proposed changes are designed to provide relief to municipalities
that began their approval process for plan endorsement by the
Department of Community Affairs Office of Smart Growth.
"The proposed amendment provides an incentive for municipalities
to engage in the State Planning process which considers growth,
population trends and other issues that impact our precious coastal
environment," said Commissioner Campbell. "The changes
provide a compromise toward protecting the state's coastal resources
while accommodating future development needs."
The proposed rule amendments would reestablish coastal centers
for municipalities that are actively engaged in the state planning
process on July 5 and municipalities that initiate the state planning
process by August 2. The latter must submit to the state Office
of Smart Growth a petition for initial plan endorsement and obtain
a completeness determination by March 16, 2006.
The proposed amendments would protect ecologically sensitive
lands from inappropriate development. Wetlands, endangered and
threatened wildlife habitat, natural heritage priority sites,
dedicated open space, special water resource protection areas
and critical environmental sites would not be considered part
of the reestablished mainland coastal center, except for Coastal
Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) permit applications received
prior to February 7, 2005.
Coastal centers reestablished through the proposed rule would
remain effective until approved as CAFRA centers or until March
15, 2007. CAFRA centers have been formally approved by the State
Planning Commission and permanently adopted by DEP.
Coastal center designation is used to determine the impervious
cover allowed and vegetative cover required for proposed developments
in coastal areas. Coastal Zone Management rules set standards
for protection of natural resources and appropriate land use and
development while maintaining public access to coastal resources.
Special rules governing the development of coastal centers expired
February 7, 2005. Towns containing coastal centers were given
5 years to get development plans approved.