Governor Phil Murphy

ICYMI: Online Land-Use Permit System Will Improve DEP Efficiency and Public Transparency

05/2/2019

TRENTON – In an effort that will significantly improve efficiency and transparency while reducing costs for businesses and residents, the Department of Environmental Protection is launching a new system that will allow applications for land-use permits to be submitted online.

“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.”

DEP’s efforts to bring additional services online advances Governor Murphy's commitment – made under his economic plan released last October and reinforced through Executive Order 63 – to modernize government services. The release also comes as the Administration works to digitize and streamline permitting processes across state government.

The first iteration of the E-Submissions system, which will go online beginning May 1, will be incorporated into DEP’s existing permitting portal, with future updates and improvements planned.

The system was developed through several years of careful research coupled with ongoing regulatory reforms to align the operations of the land-use permitting programs.

It will eliminate printing and storage costs, address common application deficiencies reported by staff and stakeholders, leverage electronic payment capabilities, allow for parallel collaboration between applicants and other agencies, and assist the DEP in fulfilling Open Public Records Act requests.

E-Submissions represents a leap forward, assisting DEP staff in meeting strict legal requirements for issuing final decisions on permits within prescribed time frames. Furthermore, it will enhance efficiency by ensuring that the DEP receives administratively complete applications before it begins reviews. It also will eliminate the many thousands of pages of paper documents that the DEP must process and store as part of its review of applications.

Applicants will initially have the option to submit applications either online or by mail. This will afford the public the opportunity to become familiar with the system and for the DEP to address any technical issues that may arise. Submitting applications through the online system will become mandatory in 2020, following formal rulemaking.

The enhancements to the DEP’s online database system, Data Miner, will be completed later this year, and will provide the public with quick and easy access to all components of permit applications.

The system will be available for the filing of all major land use permits, including all 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 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.

The system queries the user  on a series of questions. Users will be able to stop, save and return to their application at a later time. Buttons will be available that users can access to learn more or better understand questions. Users will be  unable to proceed in the system if they don’t provide certain information. This new process will essentially ensure that applications are administratively complete by the time they’re submitted. 

DEP is committed to maintaining its leadership as a steward of the New Jersey’s natural resources while pursuing innovative strategies that help to streamline administrative processes that save time and money for New Jersey’s businesses and residents.

For more information on the system and to file applications electronically, visit https://nj.gov/dep/landuse/eservices/lur_auth_permits.html

For more information on the DEP’s Land Use Regulation program, visit www.nj.gov/dep/landuse/