SENATE, No. 2016

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 31, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BRIAN P. STACK

District 33 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     The “Save the Hudson River Palisades Act.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the Hudson River Palisades and supplementing Title 32 of the Revised Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Save the Hudson River Palisades Act.”

 

     2.    a.   The Legislature finds and declares that the Hudson River Palisades, consisting of solid stone cliffs several hundred feet high, overlooking Manhattan, New York, and ranging northward along the Hudson River through Hudson County and Bergen County and beyond, provides miles of natural landscape that existed long before the founding of the United States of America; and that the Hudson River Palisades is part of the heritage of this country and that this natural phenomenon provided a scenic background for millions of immigrants who entered the United States through the Port of New York and New Jersey.

     b.    The Legislature further finds and declares that the strength and stability of the Hudson River Palisades resulted from natural forces over millennia, forming particular cliff slopes that support parts of New Jersey communities located atop and along these cliffs, and protect the homes, businesses, community roads, and structures that run northward along its base.

     c.     The Legislature also finds and declares that real estate development in recent years has cut into the bottom of the cliff faces, defacing and altering slopes and their natural stability and beauty in exchange for commercial development, investment, and profit; that the installation of steel nets in some areas is necessary to protect against and prevent rockslides; that further destruction and damage to this natural historical environment could endanger the safety of the people and structures in these communities; and that such stone face slopes cannot be restored to their natural beauty.

     d.    The Legislature therefore determines it is necessary and in the best interest of the State to preserve and enhance the Hudson River Palisades as a prime natural resource of importance, for the residents of Hudson and Bergen counties and for the State of New Jersey, and to preserve the views from the top of the cliffs as well as to preserve the views of the cliffs themselves.

 

     3.    a.   No person may cut into, deface, or destroy any cliff slope, or cliff base, of the Hudson River Palisades, or any portion or part thereof, except as necessary in connection with development for public purposes or linear development, as authorized pursuant to subsection b. of this section.

     b.    No person may construct a development, except for development for public purposes or linear development, on any cliff slope or in the buffer area of any cliff slope edge or cliff base of the Hudson River Palisades.

     In the case of development for public purposes or linear development, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission shall be consulted prior to the commencement of any such development.

     The width of the buffers adjacent to the cliff slope edge and the cliff base shall be determined by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, as follows:

     (1)   No more than 50 feet or less than 25 feet at the cliff slope edge; and

     (2)   No more than 100 feet or less than 50 feet at the cliff base.

     c.     The Palisades Interstate Park Commission shall enforce the provisions of subsections a. and b. of this section.

     d.    Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter or obviate the requirements of any other applicable State or local laws, rules, regulations, development regulations, or ordinances.

     e.     As used in this section:

     “Development” means the same as that term is defined in section 3.1 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-4).

     “Hudson River Palisades” means the land lying between the top or steep edge of the Palisades or the crest of the slope in places where the steep Palisade rocks are absent and the high-water line of the Hudson River, from the New York state line on the north, to a line beginning at the intersection of the southern line of the old Fort Lee dock or landing with the high-water line of the Hudson River and running thence in a westerly direction and at right angles to said high-water line of the Hudson River to the east side of the river road running from Edgewater to Fort Lee, in Bergen County, and the cliff slopes between the Hackensack River and the Hudson River running from North Bergen Township to Jersey City, in Hudson County, on the south, and such lands or rights in lands belonging to persons other than the State, as may lie between the exterior bulkhead line established in the Hudson River and the high-water line of the Hudson River.

     “Linear development” means infrastructure, utilities and the rights-of-way therefor; gas and water pipelines and the rights-of-way therefor; and electric, telephone, and other transmission lines and the rights-of-way therefor.  Linear development shall not include residential, commercial, office, or industrial development.

 

     4.    a.   A person who violates subsection a. or b. of section 3 of this act shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     b.    In addition to any fine, fee, assessment, or penalty authorized under the provisions of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, a person who violates subsection a. or b. of section 3 of this act, or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto, shall be assessed a civil penalty of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each offense, to be collected in a civil action by a summary proceeding under the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).

     c.     If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it continues constitutes an additional, separate, and distinct offense.

 

     5.    a. In addition to the penalties provided in section 4 of this act, a person involved in the practice of architecture, building, construction, developing, engineering, real estate, or urban planning who violates subsection a. or b. of section 3 of this act, or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto, may have their professional license or certificate suspended or revoked, and the person may be barred from the practice of the profession in this State, by the appropriate professional licensing board or by a court, for a period of:

     (1)   at least three months and not more than one year for a first offense;

     (2)   at least one year and not more than two years for a second offense; and

     (3)   not less than two years for the third or any subsequent offense, unless the appropriate professional licensing board or a court determines that a permanent license or certificate forfeiture would be appropriate.

     b.    A professional license or certificate of a corporation, partnership, association or other entity may be suspended or revoked by the appropriate professional licensing board or by a court, for a period of not more than one year, if any officer, director, or member of the licensee or certificate holder committed any action which would be cause pursuant to this act for suspending or revoking a professional license or certificate issued to that individual.

     c.     If the professional license or certificate issued to an individual is suspended or revoked, the professional license or certificate issued to the corporation, partnership, association, or other entity may also be suspended or revoked by the appropriate professional licensing board or by a court, unless within the time fixed by the appropriate professional licensing board or court, in the case of a partnership, the connection therewith of the member whose professional license or certificate has been revoked shall be severed and that member's interest in the partnership and share in its activities brought to an end, or in the case of a corporation, association, or other entity, the offending officer or director shall be discharged and shall have no further participation in its activity. Officers and directors of the corporation shall be required to fully divest themselves of all stock, bonds or other corporate holdings.

     d.    The appropriate professional licensing board, or a court if applicable, may suspend or revoke the entire professional license or certificate of a person whose professional license or certificate is suspended or revoked for only one of its authorized activities.

     e.     The Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Community Affairs may withhold or delay the granting of any permit, or the consideration of any permit application, until the professional license or certificate of the practitioner has been reinstated, as determined by the appropriate professional licensing board or by a court.

 

     6.    The Palisades Interstate Park Commission, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Community Affairs, shall adopt any rules and regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), as are necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

     Notwithstanding any provision of P.L.1968, c.410 to the contrary, the commission, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Community Affairs, may adopt immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law such rules and regulations as the commission deems necessary to implement the provisions of this act, including adopting a definition for “cliff slope,” “cliff slope edge,” and “cliff base,” which shall be effective for a period not to exceed 180 days following the date of enactment of this act and may thereafter be amended, adopted or readopted by the commission in accordance with the requirements of P.L.1968, c.410.

 

     7.    This act shall take effect on the 60th day after the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, entitled the “Save the Hudson River Palisades Act,” would prohibit any defacement of or cutting into the cliff slope or base of the Hudson River Palisades, and would prohibit new development, except for linear development or development for public purposes, on any cliff slope or in the buffer area of any cliff slope edge or base in the Hudson River Palisades.

     Under the bill, the width of the buffers adjacent to the cliff slopes, at the cliff base and at the cliff edge, would be determined by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC), in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and would be no more than 50 feet or less than 25 feet at the cliff edge and no more than 100 feet or less than 50 feet at the cliff base.

     The PIPC would be authorized to enforce the provisions of this bill related to the defacement of any cliff slope or development on a cliff slope or in a buffer area.  A person who violates this bill would be guilty of a fourth degree crime, which carries a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000.  In addition to this penalty, a violator would be assessed a civil penalty of between $500 and $1,000 for each offense.  Each day during which the violation continues would constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense.

     Furthermore, a person involved in the practice of architecture, building, construction, developing, engineering, real estate, or urban planning who violates the provisions of this bill, or rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, may have their professional license or certificate suspended or revoked, and the person may be barred from the practice of their profession in this State by the appropriate professional licensing board or by a court for a period of:  between three months and one year for a first offense; between one year and two years for a second offense; and not less than two years for the third or any subsequent offense, unless the appropriate professional licensing board or a court determines that a permanent license or certificate forfeiture would be appropriate.

     Under this bill, a professional license or certificate of a corporation, partnership, association or other entity may be suspended or revoked by the appropriate professional licensing board or by a court if any officer, director, or member of the licensee or certificate holder committed any action which would be cause for suspending or revoking a professional license or certificate issued to that individual.  Further, the appropriate professional licensing board, or court if applicable, may suspend or revoke the entire professional license or certificate of a person whose professional license or certificate is suspended or revoked for only one of its authorized licensed activities.

     The DEP and the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) may withhold or delay the granting of any permit, or the consideration of any permit application, until the professional license or certificate of the practitioner has been reinstated, as determined by the appropriate professional licensing board or a court.  The PIPC, in consultation with the DEP and the DCA, would adopt any rules and regulations necessary under this bill.

     In recent years, the Hudson River Palisades have been defaced, altered, and affected by development, and the natural stability, beauty, and security of the cliff slopes cannot be fully restored to their natural state.  Further destruction and damage to this significant natural historical environment could endanger the safety of the people and structures in these communities; preserving and enhancing the Hudson River Palisades as a prime natural resource will secure and protect the people and the communities in this area, and will preserve the views of and from the cliffs of this geological treasure.