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Section: Division of Smart Growth established in DEP.

Statute: 13:1D-145

5. a. There is established in the Department of Environmental Protection a Division of Smart Growth under the direction of a director, who shall be appointed by the Governor and report to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. The director shall review and take action on permits for which the applicant has requested expedited review pursuant to this section. b. The director shall coordinate and expedite the review of permits issued by the division with the Smart Growth Ombudsman appointed pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2004, c.89 (C.52:27D-10.3). c. (1) An applicant may request an expedited permit application review for a proposed project in a smart growth area. In order to qualify for expedited permit application review pursuant to this section, an applicant shall include with a permit application all necessary documentation, a request for expedited permit application review, and the permit fee established in accordance with subsection d. of this section. The permit application shall be signed by the applicant and by a professional qualified and registered in accordance with subsection e. of this section, certifying that a permit application is complete and that the statutory and regulatory requirements for the permit have been met by the applicant. A copy of the application and the request shall also be submitted to the ombudsman and to the clerk of the municipality and the clerk of the county in which the proposed project is located. A permit application that qualifies for expedited permit application review pursuant to this section shall be subject to the following time frames: (a) the division shall notify an applicant within 20 days after the filing date if the permit application lacks a submission identified on a checklist therefor, or a submission has not been completed. If an application, including the permit fee and all necessary documentation, is determined to be complete, or if a notice of incompleteness is not provided within 20 days after the filing of the application, the application shall be deemed complete for purposes of commencing a technical review. In the case of a permit application affecting wetlands, a complete application shall include an effective letter of interpretation issued by the department concerning the delineation of the wetlands; (b) (i) except as otherwise provided in subsubparagraph (ii) of this subparagraph, the division shall notify an applicant if the permit application is technically complete or issue a notice of deficiency within 45 days after the filing of the application. If an application is determined to be technically complete, or if a notice of deficiency is not issued within 45 days after the filing of the application, the application shall be deemed technically complete. A notice of deficiency shall itemize all deficiencies that must be addressed in order for the application to be determined technically complete. A notice of deficiency shall be deemed exclusive and further review for technical completeness shall be limited to the items so identified; (ii) in the case of water allocation permits issued pursuant to the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.) and P.L.1993, c.202 (C.58:1A-7.3 et seq.) for a diversion from an unconfined aquifer or surface water body and New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits issued pursuant to the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.) for a discharge of 1,000,000 gallons per day or greater, the division shall notify an applicant if the permit application is technically complete or issue a notice of deficiency within 60 days after filing of the application. If an application is determined to be technically complete, or if a notice of deficiency is not issued within 60 days after filing of the application, the application shall be deemed technically complete; (c) except as provided in subparagraphs (e) and (f) of this paragraph, the division shall take action on a technically complete permit application within 45 days, except that this time period may be extended for a 30-day period by the mutual consent of the applicant and the department. Except for any New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued pursuant to the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.) in the event that the department fails to take action on an application for a permit within the 45-day period specified herein, or within the periods set forth in subparagraphs (e) and (f) of this paragraph, then the application shall be deemed to have been approved; (d) if more than one notice of deficiency is issued by the division, the applicant may request an expedited hearing in accordance with section 14 of P.L.2004, c.89 (C.52:14F-17) to determine whether the application is technically complete; (e) in the cases of water allocation permits issued pursuant to the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.) and P.L.1993, c.202 (C.58:1A-7.3 et seq.) for a diversion from a confined aquifer and New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits issued pursuant to the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.) for a discharge of less than 1,000,000 gallons per day, after a permit application is deemed complete, and after a 30-day public comment period, the department shall take action on the permit within five days if minimal or no comments were received in the public comment period, or within 15 days if more than minimal comments were received in the public comment period; and (f) in the cases of water allocation permits issued pursuant to the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.) and P.L.1993, c.202 (C.58:1A-7.3 et seq.) for a diversion from an unconfined aquifer or surface water body and New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits issued pursuant to the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.) for a discharge of 1,000,000 gallons per day or greater, after a permit application is deemed complete, and after a 30-day public comment period, the department shall take action on the permit within five days if minimal or no comments were received in the public comment period, or within 45 days if more than minimal comments were received in the public comment period. (2) Nothing in this subsection shall supersede shorter periods for department action provided by applicable law. d. The direct and indirect costs of personnel, equipment, operating expenses, and activities of the division shall be funded solely through permit fees for expedited permits issued in the smart growth areas pursuant to this section. The department shall, in consultation with the ombudsman, establish permit fees necessary for the department to administer and enforce the expedited permit application review program established pursuant to this section. The fee schedule established pursuant to this subsection shall include the department's pro rata share of the budget of the Smart Growth Ombudsman. Within 30 days after the date of enactment of P.L.2004, c.89 (C.52:27D-10.2 et al.), the department, in consultation with the ombudsman, shall publish a schedule of permit fees in the New Jersey Register and may amend the fee schedule as necessary. The fee schedule may provide for increased fees for complex projects. e. (1) The Director of the Division of Smart Growth shall, within 120 days after the date of enactment of P.L.2004, c.89 (C.52:27D-10.2 et al.), develop a program for the qualification and registration of professionals who shall certify that a permit application is complete and that the statutory and regulatory requirements for the permit have been met by the applicant. The requirements for qualification and registration may include, but shall not be limited to, professional licensure relevant to the subject matter of the permit, a review of projects undertaken by the professional applying for qualification and registration, and a review of the nature of the professional's services provided on each project. (2) The director shall include in the program for the qualification and registration of professionals any standards or requirements necessary for proper administration and enforcement of the provisions of P.L.2004, c.89 (C.52:27D-10.2 et al.), and shall provide for the suspension or revocation of the qualification and registration of professionals as provided in this subsection. (3) Any person who negligently violates any requirement of the program established by the department for the qualification and registration of professionals may lose professional licensure for one year, may be barred from qualification and registration for a period of three years, and the firm with which that individual is associated may be barred from seeking qualification and registration for a period of three years. (4) If a person willfully or recklessly violates any requirement of the program established by the department for the qualification and registration of professionals, that individual shall lose professional licensure for one year, shall be permanently barred from qualification and registration, and the firm with which that individual is associated shall be permanently barred from seeking qualification and registration. (5) Prior to any suspension, revocation, or failure to renew a person's qualification and registration, the department shall afford the person or firm an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), except that, if the department has reason to believe that a condition exists which poses an imminent threat to the public health, safety or welfare, it may order the immediate suspension of qualification and registration pending the outcome of the hearing. f. The Director of the Division of Smart Growth, after consultation with the Smart Growth Ombudsman, may adopt rules and regulations in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) as appropriate to implement the requirements of this section and to encourage development in the smart growth areas. g. Nothing in this section shall be construed or implemented in such a way as to modify any requirement of law that is necessary to retain federal delegation to, or assumption by, the State of the authority to implement a federal law or program. h. Applications for an expedited permit application review pursuant to subsection c. of this section shall not be accepted until 120 days following the date of enactment of P.L.2004, c.89 (C.52:27D-10.2 et al.). Applications pending on the date of enactment of P.L.2004, c.89 (C.52:27D-10.2 et al.) shall, upon request of the applicant, be processed in the expedited permit application review program when it becomes effective. A permit application that is the subject of a request under this provision shall be transferred to the Division of Smart Growth for processing in accordance with P.L.2004, c.89 (C.52:27D-10.2 et al.). L.2004,c.89,s.5.

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