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Township of Lacey, NJ
Ocean County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Lacey 5-24-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
A. 
The governing body of the Township of Lacey finds that riparian lands adjacent to streams, lakes, and other regulated waters provide an important environmental protection and water resource management benefit. It is necessary to protect and maintain the beneficial character of vegetation within these riparian zones by implementing specifications for the establishment, protection of vegetation along regulated waters within the jurisdiction of the Township of Lacey, consistent with the interest of landowners in making reasonable economic use of parcels of land that include such designated areas.
B. 
The purpose of this chapter is to ensure that owners or developers of lands within the Township are aware of the riparian zone requirements of the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13. In accordance with the requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:13, no person shall engage in a regulated activity in a regulated area of a regulated water without a flood hazard area authorization or permit as required by N.J.A.C. 7:13-2.1. Initiation of a regulated activity in a regulated area without a valid flood hazard area authorization or permit shall be considered a violation of N.J.A.C. 7:13 and this chapter and shall subject the party or parties responsible for the unauthorized regulated activities to local and state enforcement action, as set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:13-24.[1] Regulated waters are set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:13-2.2, regulated areas are set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:13-2.3, and regulated activities are set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:13-2.4. This chapter addresses the establishment of and regulated activities within a riparian zone, and does not address other areas and regulated activities within the jurisdiction of the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.A.C. 7:13-24.1 et seq.
C. 
The specific purposes and intent of this chapter are to:
(1) 
Restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the water resources of the Township of Lacey; and
(2) 
Seek to prevent excessive nutrients, sediment, and organic matter, as well as biocides and other pollutants, from reaching regulated waters by optimizing opportunities for filtration, deposition, absorption, adsorption, plant uptake, biodegradation, and denitrification, which occur when stormwater runoff is conveyed through vegetated riparian zones as stable, distributed flow prior to reaching receiving waters;
(3) 
Provide for shading of the aquatic environment to moderate temperatures, retain dissolved oxygen, and support a healthy assemblage of aquatic flora and fauna;
(4) 
Provide for the availability of natural organic matter (leaves and twigs) and large woody debris (trees and limbs) that provide food and habitat for aquatic organisms (insects, amphibians, crustaceans, and small fish), which are essential to maintain the food chain;
(5) 
Prevent soil erosion into regulated waters and protect habitat for aquatic organisms by maintaining the natural fluvial geomorphology of the stream system;
(6) 
Recognize and conserve the natural features of riparian zones as important to land and water resources, including but limited to headwater areas, groundwater recharge zones, floodways, floodplains, springs, streams, wetlands, woodlands, and prime wildlife habitats.
Ensuring that the riparian zone requirements established under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq., are implemented to afford protection of native vegetation in riparian areas is consistent with authority empowered to the Township of Lacey to regulate land uses under the provisions of the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq. and in accordance with the provisions of the following legislative authorities of the State of New Jersey:
A. 
Water Pollution Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10A-1 et seq.
B. 
Water Quality Planning Act, N.J.S.A. 58:11A-1 et seq.
C. 
Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23 et seq.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq.
D. 
Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act, N.J.S.A. 4:24-39 et seq.
E. 
Flood Hazard Area Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY
The Planning Board, Board of Adjustment, Zoning Office, Construction Office or Code Enforcement Office with all the powers delegated, assigned, or assumed by them according to statute or ordinance.
APPLICANT
A person, corporation, government body or other legal entity applying to the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment, Zoning Office or the Construction Office proposing to engage in an activity that is regulated by the provisions of this chapter, and that would be in whole or in part within a regulated riparian zone.
CATEGORY ONE WATERS or C1 WATERS
Shall have the meaning ascribed to this term by the Surface Water Quality Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:9B, for purposes of implementing the antidegradation policies set forth in those standards, for protection from measurable changes in water quality characteristics because of their clarity, color, scenic setting, and other characteristics of aesthetic value, exceptional ecological significance, exceptional recreational significance, exceptional water supply significance, or exceptional fisheries resources. The extent of adopted Category One waters are depicted at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection GeoWeb mapping service at http://www.nj.gov/dep/gis/geowebsplash.htm and described in the New Jersey Surface Water Quality Standards at N.J.A.C. 7:9B.
CATEGORY TWO WATERS OR c2 WATERS
Those waters not designated as outstanding natural resource waters or Category One waters in the Surface Water Quality Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:9B, for purposes of implementing the antidegradation policies set forth in those standards.
DRAINAGE AREA
Shall have the meaning ascribed to this term by the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq., and regulated promulgated thereunder published at N.J.A.C. 7:13 et seq., and any supplementary or successor legislation and regulations from time to time enacted or promulgated.
FLOOD HAZARD AREA
Shall have the meaning ascribed to this term by the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq., and regulations promulgated thereunder published at N.J.A.C. 7:13 et seq., and any supplementary or successor legislation and regulations from time to time enacted or promulgated.
FLOODWAY
Shall have the meaning ascribed to this term by the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq., and regulations promulgated thereunder published at N.J.A.C. 7:13 et seq., and any supplementary or successor legislation and regulations from time to time enacted or promulgated.
MEAN HIGH-WATER
A tidal datum that is the arithmetic mean of the high-water heights observed over a specific nineteen-year Metonic cycle (the National Tidal Datum Epoch). For the New Jersey coast, the two high waters of each tidal day are included in the mean. This datum is available from the Department, Bureau of Tidelands Management.
RIPARIAN ZONE
The land and vegetation within and adjacent to a regulated water. The extent of a riparian zone is determined in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:13 and Section IV of this ordinance.[1] Riparian zones exist along both sides of every regulated water and include the regulated water itself, except as provided at N.J.A.C. 7:13-2.3(c)1.
THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES
A species identified pursuant to the Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act, N.J.S.A. 23:2A-1 et seq., the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq. or the Endangered Plant Species List, N.J.A.C. 7:5C-5.1, and any subsequent amendments thereto.
TOP OF BANK
The upper limit of the bank of a regulated water, typically characterized by an observable change or break in the slope of the land or sometimes in a change in the type of vegetated community present along a water.
[1]
Editor's Note: So in original.
A. 
Riparian zones adjacent to all regulated waters shall be protected from avoidable disturbance and shall be delineated as follows:
B. 
Zone width.
(1) 
The riparian zone shall be 300 feet wide along both sides of any designated C1 water and along all tributaries situated upstream of a designated C1 water within the same HUC 14 watershed; or
(2) 
The riparian zone shall be 150 feet wide along both sides of regulated waters not designated as C1 waters flowing through an area that contains documented habitat for a threatened or endangered species of plant or animal, which is critically dependent on the regulated water for survival, and all upstream waters (including tributaries) within one linear mile as measured along the length of the regulated water. Threatened or endangered species critically dependent on the regulated water are determined via consultation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Land Use Regulation Program; or
(3) 
For all other regulated waters, a riparian zone 50 feet wide shall be established along both sides of the regulated water.
C. 
The portion of the riparian zone that lies outside of a regulated water is measured landward from the top of bank. If a discernible bank is not present along a regulated water, the top of bank is measured as follows:
(1) 
The feature's centerline, for a linear regulated water that has a drainage area of less than 150 acres; or
(2) 
The limits of the two-year flood, for a linear regulated water that has a drainage area of 150 acres or more; or
(3) 
The normal water surface limit, for:
(a) 
A linear fluvial regulated water that contains water at all times and has a drainage area of 10 square miles or more; or
(b) 
A nonlinear fluvial regulated water, such as a lake or pond; or
(4) 
The mean high-water line, for a nonlinear tidal regulated water, such as a bay or inlet; or
(5) 
The feature's centerline, for an amorphous or irregularly shaped feature, such as a wetland complex through which a regulated water flows but lacks a discernible or coherent channel.
D. 
A riparian zone is an overlay to the existing zoning districts. The provisions of the underlying district shall remain in full force except where the provisions of the riparian zone differ from the provisions of the underlying district, in which case the provisions that are more restrictive shall apply. These provisions apply to land disturbances resulting from or related to any activity or use requiring application to the Township of Lacey for any of the following permits or approvals: building permit, zoning variance, special exception, conditional use, site plan approval, subdivision approval. Projects or actions by the Township of Lacey, its agents or authorities that involve regulated activities in a riparian zone shall be in accordance with permits or other authorization issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13.
E. 
The applicant or designated representative shall be responsible for the initial determination of the presence of a riparian zone on a site, and for identifying the area on any plan submitted to the Township of Lacey in conjunction with an application for a construction permit, subdivision, land development, or other improvement that requires plan submissions or permits. This initial determination shall be subject to review and approval by the municipal engineer, governing body, or its appointed representative, and by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
F. 
The requirements of this section may be waived under the following circumstances:
(1) 
The proposed disturbance of a riparian zone is necessary to provide for public pedestrian access or water-dependent recreation that has been otherwise permitted under the Coastal Zone Management Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7; or
(2) 
The proposed disturbance is for redevelopment of that portion of a site within a designated riparian zone where the redevelopment activities do not propose any vegetation removal or creation of any impervious surfaces outside of the footprint limits of existing disturbance.
A. 
A riparian zone shall remain in a natural condition or, if in a legally disturbed condition, including agricultural activities, at the time of adoption of this chapter, may be restored to a natural condition. There shall be no clearing or cutting of trees and brush, except for removal of dead vegetation and pruning for reasons of public safety or for the replacement of invasive species with indigenous species. There shall be no altering of watercourses, dumping of trash, soil, dirt, fill, vegetative or other debris, regrading or construction.
B. 
No new construction, development, use, activity, encroachment, or structure shall take place in a riparian zone, except as specifically authorized in this section. The following activities and uses shall be permitted within a riparian zone, provided valid approvals for such uses within the riparian zone have been obtained under N.J.A.C. 7:13:
(1) 
Passive uses of open space that do not result in the removal of vegetation within a riparian zone. These uses may require approval by the Zoning Enforcement Officer or compliance with Township requirements. Such uses include wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves, forest preserves, fishing areas, game farms, fish hatcheries and fishing reserves, operated for the protection and propagation of wildlife, but excluding the erection of structures;
(2) 
Fences, for which a permit has been issued by the Construction Code Office, to the extent required by applicable law, rule or regulation;
(3) 
Crossings by farm vehicles and livestock, recreational trails, roads, railroads, stormwater lines, sanitary sewer lines, water lines and public utility transmission lines, provided that any disturbance to the riparian areas is subject to approval by the Zoning Officer; and
(4) 
The removal of dead trees which pose an imminent public safety hazard due to their proximity to roadways, private drives, and bicycle or pedestrian ways.
A. 
All encroachments proposed into any riparian zone, unless considered exempt, shall comply with the requirements of the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, and documented by the issuance of a flood hazard area authorization or permit.
B. 
The following conditions shall apply:
(1) 
All new major and minor subdivisions and site plans shall be designed to provide sufficient areas outside of the riparian zone to accommodate primary structures, any normal accessory uses appurtenant thereto, as well as all planned lawn areas and/or recreational areas.
(2) 
Portions of new lots created by subdivision or deed and of lots where new development is approved by the Township of Lacey within the riparian zone must be permanently restricted by deed or conservation restriction by the applicant or developer of lands and held by the Township of Lacey, its agent, or another public or private land conservation organization which has the ability to provide adequate protection to prevent adverse impacts within the riparian zone. A complete copy of the recorded conservation restriction that clearly identifies the deed book and pages where it has been recorded in the office of Ocean County Clerk must be submitted to the municipality. The applicant shall not commence with the project or activity within a riparian zone prior to the recordation of the deed or conservation restriction in the office of Ocean County Clerk and documenting the recordation of the deed or conservation restriction and approval of the plan or modification and receipt by evidence of permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to the Township of Lacey. The recorded conservation restriction shall be in the form approved by the municipality and shall run with the land and be binding upon the property owner and the successors in interest in the property or in any part thereof. The conservation restriction may include language reserving the right to make de minimus changes to accommodate necessary regulatory approvals upon the written consent of the municipality, provided such changes are otherwise consistent with the purpose and intent of the conservation restriction. The recorded conservation restriction shall, at a minimum, include:
(a) 
A written narrative of the authorized regulated activity, date of issuance, and date of expiration, and the conservation restriction that, in addition, includes all of the prohibitions set forth at N.J.S.A. 13:8B-2b(1) through (7);
(b) 
Survey plans for the property as a whole and, where applicable, for any additional properties subject to the conservation restrictions. Such survey plans shall be submitted on the surveyor's letterhead, signed and sealed by a properly licensed New Jersey surveyor, and shall include metes and bounds descriptions of the property, the site, the location of any monuments or pins found or set, and the areas subject to the conservation restriction in New Jersey State Plane Coordinates, North American Datum 1983, and shall depict the boundaries of the site and all areas subject to the conservation restriction as marked with flags or stakes on site. All such survey plans shall be submitted on paper and in digital CAD or GIS file on a media and format defined by the municipality. The flags, witness stakes, monuments or pins found or set shall be numbered and identified on the survey plan; and
(c) 
A copy or copies of deeds for the property as a whole that indicate the deed book and pages where it has been recorded in the office of the clerk of the applicable county or the registrar of deeds and mortgages of the applicable county.
(3) 
Any lands proposed for development which include all or a portion of a riparian zone shall, as a condition of any subdivision or any site plan approval, provide for the revegetation of any portions of the riparian zone which are not vegetated at the time of the such approval and/or which were disturbed by prior land uses, including for agricultural use. Said revegetation plan shall utilize tree and plant species native to Pinelands area and approved by the review board engineer.
Nonconforming structures and uses of land within the riparian zone are subject to the following requirements:
A. 
Legally existing but nonconforming structures or uses may be continued but not expanded.
B. 
Any proposed enlargement or expansion of the building footprint within a riparian zone shall comply with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, and are required to apply for necessary variance relief.
C. 
Encroachment within the riparian zone shall only be allowed where previous development or disturbance has occurred and shall be in conformance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13.
D. 
Discontinued nonconforming uses may be resumed if permitted by the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq.
A. 
Any use within a riparian zone shall comply with the standards in the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13.
B. 
For all riparian zones, any use or activity not specifically authorized by the requisite approvals pursuant to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, shall be prohibited within the riparian zone.
C. 
The following activities are prohibited in riparian zones unless specifically permitted pursuant to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13.
(1) 
Removal or clear-cutting of trees and other vegetation or soil disturbance such as grading soils, excavation of soils or filling with any material;
(2) 
Storage of any hazardous or noxious materials;
(3) 
Roads, parking lots or driveways, except where previously permitted or a pre-existing nonconforming use;
(4) 
Lawns or other landscaped areas.
A. 
Where a landowner or applicant disputes the boundaries of a riparian zone, the landowner or applicant shall submit evidence to Director of Community Development of the Township of Lacey that describes the riparian zone, presents the landowner or applicant's proposed riparian zone delineation, and presents all justification for the proposed boundary change and verification issued under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules at N.J.A.C. 7:13-6, that demonstrates approval of the plan or modification and/or evidence of permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
B. 
Inspections: Lands within or adjacent to an identified riparian zone shall be inspected by the Zoning Officer or appropriate personnel of the Township of Lacey or representative from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to ensure and document compliance with the provisions of this chapter when:
(1) 
A plan noting the limits of clearing on a subdivision or land development plan is submitted;
(2) 
A building permit is requested for a regulated activity in a riparian zone;
(3) 
A change or resumption of a nonconforming use is proposed within or directly adjacent to a riparian zone.
When a violation of this chapter is alleged and reported to the Township, a prompt investigation shall be made by the appropriate personnel of the Township of Lacey of any location or actor believed to be in violation hereof. If, upon inspection, a condition which is in violation of this chapter is discovered, the Township of Lacey shall notify the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection of the unauthorized activities in a riparian zone and may seek a civil action in the Special Part of the Superior Court, or in the Superior Court, if the primary relief sought is injunctive or if penalties may exceed the jurisdictional limit of the Special Civil Part, by the filing and serving of appropriate process. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to preclude the right of the Township of Lacey, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 26:3A2-25, to initiate legal proceedings hereunder in Municipal Court. The violation of any section or subsection of this chapter shall constitute a separate and distinct offense independent of the violation of any other section or subsection, or of any order issued, pursuant to this chapter. Each day a violation continues shall be considered a separate offense.