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New Jersey State’s New Construction Code Provides for Stricter Building Requirements in Coastal Areas

In September 2015, updates to the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code (“UCC”), N.J.A.C. 5:32, went into effect.  Of particular note in the UCC provisions now in effect are changes to the requirements for one- and two-family homes in coastal areas.  Specifically, homes in the “Limit of Moderate Wave Action” area (a/k/a “LiMWA” or, more commonly, “Coastal A Zone”) are subject to the same building standards as home in the so-called “Zone V.”

The Coastal A Zone and Zone V are commonly used terms in floodplain management used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) and other organizations to describe the flood risk in coastal areas.  Areas in Zone V are defined as having a one-percent-annual chance of flooding and also being subject to hazards from storm-induced waves due to their proximity to tidal waters.  Coastal A Zones, by contrast, are defined as the inland limit of the area expected to receive 1.5- to three-foot breaking waves during a one-percent-annual-chance flood even (Zone A areas, not to be confused with Coastal A Zones, have the same annual likelihood of flooding as Zone V areas but are further inland and not at risk of wave impact).  Previously, only homes in Zone V areas were required to include certain features designed to mitigate storm-related damage due to the additional risks of impact from storm waves and flooding.  Under the current UCC, however, homes in both Coastal A Zones and Zone V areas are now required to have these features, including construction on pilings and breakaway walls.  As a result, a much larger portion of New Jersey’s coastal areas are subject to the more stringent building standards.

The new regulations have already drawn the ire of residents living in Coastal A Zones, citing the costs of the required improvements to their homes.  Raising similar concerns, local officials in several New Jersey shore towns have asked the State to pull back on the new UCC requirements affecting Coastal A Zone homeowners.  The State’s response is yet to be seen.

© 2020 Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C. All Rights Reserved National Law Review, Volume V, Number 300


About this Author

Michael J. Gross, Giordano Law Firm, Environmental Attorney
Shareholder/Managing Partner

Mike, chair of the Environmental Law Practice Area, handles all aspects of New Jersey and federal environmental law, including permitting and litigation, CAFRA, sewage disposal and water supply, wetlands, riparian (tidelands) law, solid waste, flood hazard areas, siting of energy and other industrial facilities, site remediation, Pinelands, Highlands, cultural resources, stormwater, wastewater planning, water and air pollution. He also appears before planning and zoning boards and has handled complex construction litigation matters.

Mike is...

Paul H. Schneider, Giordano Law Firm, Litigation Attorney

Paul, Chair of the Environmental & Land Use Litigation Practice Area, focuses his practice in environmental, redevelopment, land use, regulatory, real estate and affordable housing law, and litigation. He also handles a wide variety of redevelopment matters as well as corporate and commercial litigation. In addition to handling major litigation before both the state and federal courts and the Office of Administrative Law, he has extensive experience before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the Appellate Division.

Paul represents real estate developers and other businesses in all types of environmental and land use matters, including permitting and compliance in the areas of water, wetlands, waste, and air; brownfields redevelopment; site remediation; and transactional. He also represents landowners in cost recovery actions, as well as in enforcement actions brought by government or environmental groups.

Steven M. Dalton, Giordano Law Firm, Attorney, Environmental - Land Use, Environmental - Site Remediation, Land Use & Development Law ,Cannabis Law, Real Estate, Renewable Energy, Environmental Law, Land Use Law, Litigation

Steve's primary practice is in Environmental Law. He is able to utilize his background in environmental sciences to anticipate, understand and address the issues that his clients confront. Steve assists business and individual clients in state and federal environmental permitting, regulatory compliance, solid and hazardous waste remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites, underground storage tank compliance, water and sewer rights and approvals, Tideland rights and approvals, and municipal land use matters.  Steve also assists clients with environmental aspects of real estate...

Marc D. Policastro Shareholder Giordano Law Firm, Business Attorney

Marc, Chair of the Environmental Department, is a transactional, business attorney, who focuses his practice in development, redevelopment, environmental compliance cases, corporate transactional matters, land use, zoning and business counseling. Admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York, he has represented numerous national developers, manufacturers, cogeneration facilities and utilities, automobile dealerships, lenders, borrowers and municipal boards in myriad land use contexts, including commercial and residential development and due diligence matters. He also focuses on complex...

Steven J. Corodemus Giordano, Halleran and Ciesla, Government Affairs/Transactional Land Use and Real Estate Development Government Affairs Land Use & Development Law Real Estate Cannabis Law Energy, Climate Change and Public Utilities
Of Counsel

Steve focuses his practice on government affairs, transactional, and real estate development. As Chairman of the law firm's Government Affairs Department, he seeks to identify expeditious resolution of client issues at all levels of government. He also works to assure clear and direct communications between his clients and government representatives. Furthermore Steve provides guidance to his clients through the administrative and legislative processes. He also counsels clients on anti pay to play compliance for clients doing business with federal, state, county and municipal governments....