ASSEMBLY, No. 3262

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 27, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  CONNIE WAGNER

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman  TIMOTHY J. EUSTACE

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Johnson

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Amends “Flood Hazard Area Control Act” to require DEP to take certain actions concerning delineations of flood hazard areas and floodways.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning mapping of flood hazard areas and amending P.L.1962, c.19.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 3 of P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-52) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    a.  The department shall study the nature and extent of the areas affected by flooding in the State.  After public hearing upon notice, and pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), the department shall adopt rules and regulations which delineate as flood hazard areas such areas as, in the judgment of the department, the improper development and use of which would constitute a threat to the safety, health, and general welfare from flooding.  [Such] These delineations shall identify the various subportions of the flood hazard area for reasonable and proper use according to relative risk, including the delineation of floodways necessary to preserve the flood carrying capacity of natural streams.  The department shall update delineations of flood hazard areas as appropriate as provided in subsection b. of this section.  At a minimum, the department shall update its delineations of flood hazard areas at least once every 15 years.  The department may, after public hearing upon notice and pursuant to the [aforecited] “Administrative Procedure Act,” revoke, amend, alter, or modify such regulations if in its judgment the public interest so warrants.

     b.    (1) The department shall wherever practicable, make floodway delineations identical to the floodway delineations approved by the [Federal Government] Federal Emergency Management Agency for the National Flood Insurance Program.  Immediately upon adoption of a floodway delineation approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the National Flood Insurance Program, the department shall include the federal floodway delineation into the department’s flood hazard area delineation for that watercourse, provided that the department has determined that the federal floodway delineation is sufficient to carry and discharge the flood flow of the watercourse.

     (2)   Notwithstanding any other provision of law, or rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, a person may apply for a permit or other approval or authorization issued by the department pursuant to the “Flood Hazard Area Control Act,” P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.), for a site based upon a floodway delineation approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the National Flood Insurance Program, provided that (a) the federal floodway delineation is more recent than the department’s delineation for the same watercourse, and (b) the department has determined that the federal floodway delineation is sufficient to carry and discharge the flood flow of the watercourse and is at least as protective of the public safety, health, and general welfare as the department’s delineation.

     c.     The department shall establish a procedure for reducing any delineated flood hazard area when a change has been made which increases the flood carrying capacity of the concerned stream at that location.

(cf:  P.L.1979, c.359, s.4)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill amends the “Flood Hazard Area Control Act” to direct the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to take certain actions concerning delineations of flood hazard areas and floodways.

     Currently, the “Flood Hazard Area Control Act” requires the DEP to study the nature and extent of the areas affected by flooding in the State and to “delineate as flood hazard areas such areas as, in the judgment of the department, the improper development and use of which would constitute a threat to the safety, health, and general welfare from flooding.”  The act further provides that the DEP, wherever practicable, is to make floodway delineations identical to the floodway delineations approved by the federal government for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

     This bill directs the DEP to update its delineations of flood hazard areas as frequently as may be necessary to incorporate floodway delineations as provided by the bill, and at a minimum, at least once every 15 years.  Further, upon FEMA’s adoption of a new floodway delineation, the bill directs the DEP to incorporate that federal floodway delineation into the department’s flood hazard area delineation for that watercourse, provided that the DEP determines that the federal floodway delineation is sufficient to carry and discharge the flood flow of the watercourse.

     Lastly, the bill provides that a person may apply for a permit, or any other type of approval or authorization, issued by the DEP pursuant to the “Flood Hazard Area Control Act,” for a site based upon a floodway delineation approved by FEMA for the NFIP, provided that (1) the federal floodway delineation is more recent than the DEP’s delineation for the same watercourse, and (2) the DEP determines that the federal floodway delineation is sufficient to carry and discharge the flood flow of the watercourse and is at least as protective of the public safety, health, and general welfare as the department’s delineation.  Under the DEP’s current rules and regulations, if there is a DEP delineation of a particular flood hazard area and floodway, a permit applicant is required to use the DEP’s delineation even if there is a more recent FEMA delineation. This bill would allow for a more recent FEMA delineation to be used, provided that the DEP determines that the FEMA delineation is at least as protective as the department’s delineation.

     Over the years, many flood maps have become outdated due to urban growth, changes in river flows and coastlines, and even flood mitigation efforts.  Accurate and up-to-date delineations of floodways and flood hazard areas are essential to inform State and local officials and property owners of changing flood risks.  It is the sponsor’s intent that this legislation assist in that regard by requiring the DEP to quickly evaluate any newly released FEMA floodway delineations and to allow permit applicants to apply for a permit using the federal floodway delineation when it is at least as protective as the DEP’s delineation.