The Importance of a Waterfront Development Permit

In Rotelle v. N.J.D.E.P., 92 N.J.A.R. 2D (EPE) (1992) the Court found that the basic facts were not in dispute. “The petitioner sought and received a waterfront development permit in 1981 and built the structures allowed by that permit. Thus, he was aware of the need to obtain such a permit before beginning construction. Notwithstanding this knowledge, the petitioner began additional construction in 1990 (the 78.45 foot pier, floating docks, and pilings) without a waterfront development permit.”

The Waterfront Development rules limited the width of recreational docks and piers to eight feet N.J.A.C. 7:7E-4.11(e)(2)(vi) at that time. The petitioner constructed a pier 11 feet wide.

The Initial Decision of the Administrative Law Judge ordering the petitioner to either remove the structures built without a valid permit or to reduce the pier so that it is no more than eight feet wide was affirmed. “To do otherwise would call into question the entire scheme of the Waterfront Development program. The message given to the regulated public must be that the rules cannot be ignored, that construction cannot be undertaken without a permit, and that an application to legalize the structure will not be granted simply because the violator claims that the cost of after-the-fact compliance is excessive.” (Emphasis added).

Author: Edward C. Eastman