Some good news out of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection: Starting May 1, applicants can apply online for a half-dozen land-use permits under a long-awaited streamlining of the process.
The first iteration of the E-Submissions system is incorporated into DEP’s existing permitting portal, with future updates and improvements planned, the department said in a press release Monday.
All major land-use permits will be included: Flood Hazard Area Individual Permits and General Permits, all Freshwater Wetlands Individual Permits and General Permits, all Coastal Zone Management and Waterfront Development Individual Permits and General Permits, all Meadowlands District Water Quality Certificates, and Flood Hazard Verifications that come in as part of a permit application.
“This system will hold applicants to the same rigorous environmental requirements we have always expected while helping us do our job more effectively,” Deputy Commissioner Debbie Mans said. “It will also reduce costs for businesses and residents while greatly enhancing transparency by providing all information uploaded into the system to the public through the DEP’s online database system.”
“This system is designed to be easy to use and is similar in design and setup to popular online tax-preparation programs and will help significantly reduce mistakes and common errors that can cause problems.” said Assistant Commissioner for Land Use Ginger Kopkash.
NJBIA Vice President Ray Cantor, who was chief advisor to the DEP commissioner before joining the association, said said online permitting will be a major time-saver and benefit to the regulated community, and represents years of work by department personnel and outside stakeholders.
“It’s been in the works for a long-time,” Cantor said. “This is the result of a five-year effort to align DEP’s procedural and substantive requirements across all land-use programs to allow for a single, uniform application that will cover of them,” Cantor said. “Applicants will now be able to submit one application on-line.”