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NJSPLS Working to Protect Your License

Wednesday, August 26, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rona Goldberg
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On August 3, 2020 The NJDEP proposed new rules regarding Watershed and Land Use Management.

Coastal Zone Management Rules

Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules

Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules

The proposal requires you to:

Submit comments by October 2, 2020, electronically at: The Department of Environmental Protection (Department or DEP) encourages electronic submittal of comments. In the alternative, comments may be submitted on paper to: Gary J. Brower, Esq. Attn.: DEP Docket No. 03-20-07 Department of Environmental Protection Office of Legal Affairs Mail Code 401-04L

This proposal improperly assigns survey tasks to persons or professions not licensed to practice land surveying.

NJSPLS Objections:

In several sections of the proposal the Department states that functions defined by law in New Jersey as the practice of land surveying may be performed by engineers. In New Jersey, an engineer may never offer or perform services defined as land surveying. Only a licensed Professional Surveyor may perform those tasks that are defined as land surveying.

SUBCHAPTER 27. PERMIT CONDITIONS; EXTENSION, MODIFICATION, TRANSFER, SUSPENSION, AND TERMINATION OF AUTHORIZATIONS AND PERMITS 7:7-27.3 Extension of an authorization under a general permit or of a waterfront development individual permit for activities waterward of the mean highwater line…

APPENDIX G THE MANAGEMENT AND REGULATION OF DREDGING ACTIVITIES AND DREDGED MATERIAL IN NEW JERSEY’S TIDAL WATERS ... Chapter III – Information Required of All Projects A – Background Information In order for the Department to determine what specific sampling and testing are required for a proposed dredging project and the management of the dredged material, background information must be submitted to the Department. The following information shall be submitted to Department for all applications:

1. (No change.)

2. A hydrographic survey of the dredging site taken within the past six months. All hydrographic surveys shall be performed by an ACSM (American Congress of Surveying and Mapping) certified hydrographer, a licensed land surveyor with five years hydrographic experience, or a professional engineer.

This section specifically contradicts the Statute that defines the practice of engineering and land surveying.

N.J.S.A. 45:8-28. Definitions

(e) The term "practice of land surveying" within the meaning and intent of this chapter shall mean any service or work the adequate performance of which involves the application of special knowledge of the principles of mathematics, the related physical and applied sciences and the relevant requirements of law to the act of measuring and locating distances, directions, elevations, natural and man-made topographical features in the air, on the surface of the earth, within underground workings, and on beds of bodies of water for the purpose of determining areas and volumes, and for the establishing of horizontal and vertical control as it relates to construction stake-out, for the monumentation of property boundaries and for the platting and layout of lands and subdivisions thereof and for the preparation and perpetuation of maps, record plats, field  notes, records and property descriptions in manual and computer coded form that represent these surveys. The practice of land surveying shall include the establishment and maintenance of the base mapping and related control for land information systems that are developed from the above referenced definition of the practice of land surveying.

The practice of Engineering and Surveying are defined by law, not by regulation. Administrative Code Regulations may clarify but may not expand or reduce the practice defined within the statute.

Only a licensed professional land surveyor may prepare hydrography, bathymetry, topography, or any of the other mapping services defined within the law.  NJDEP has no statutory authority to expand or reduce the role of the professional land surveyor in New Jersey.

The Statutory definition of Surveying was clarified in N.J.A.C 13:40-5.1 (n) Maps prepared to show hydrographic, bathymetric, topographic data or planimetric data shall be prepared by a licensed professional land surveyor and shall identify the vertical datum and include reference to a benchmark on the site. Such survey information may be transferred to construction plans or other drawings if duly noted as to the date of the survey, by whom, and for whom it was prepared.

If survey information is transferred to a drawing, N.J.A.C 13:40-7.2 requires that a signed and sealed copy of the survey shall be submitted to the reviewing governmental body with the site plan submission.

o) Existing flood elevations shall only be certified by a professional land surveyor.

The State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors determines who is qualified to practice as Professional Land Surveyors in New Jersey. Extensive education, experience, and examination are required for licensure.  Specifically, a four-year college degree in Land Surveying, three years of experience in a responsible position, and Examination (16 hours of national examination and 2 hours of New Jersey examination) are required. NJDEP has no statutory authority to define the qualifications of a Professional Surveyor in New Jersey. The Department’s proposed requirement of an additional five years of hydrographic experience beyond the requirements for licensure is unwarranted and unjustified by law.

New Jersey Law prohibits an ACSM certified hydrographer from performing any land surveying services in New Jersey if he is not licensed as a professional land surveyor in New Jersey.

NOTE: ACSM ceased to exist in 2012. NSPS, the National Society of Professional Surveyors assumed the responsibilities of ACSM (American Congress on Surveying and Mapping)


New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Submittal Standards for Surveyed Map Data, July 2017

On Pages 2 and 3, instructs:

Services That May Only Be Performed By A New Jersey Professional Land Surveyor As described by both New Jersey statute and regulations, there are services that may only be performed by a New Jersey professional land surveyor for inclusion on a cadastral survey (outline and references courtesy of the New Jersey Society of Professional Land Surveyors):

1. Any map or plan that shows:

a. Property lines (N.J.S.A. 45:8(e), N.J.A.C. 13:40-1.3 and N.J.A.C. 13:40-5.1)

b. Locations of existing buildings and/or physical features and/or improvements (N.J.S.A. 45:8-28(e))

c. Locations of existing utilities (N.J.S.A. 45:8-28(e), N.J.A.C. 13:40-1.3 and N.J.A.C. 13:40-5.1(g)4)

d. Locations of easements (N.J.A.C. 13:40-5.1(a) and N.J.A.C. 13:40-5.1(f)9)

e. Existing elevations, contours or topography (N.J.S.A. 45:8-28(e) and N.J.A.C. 13:40- 5.1(a)(n))

f. Hydrographic or bathymetric information (N.J.S.A. 45:28(e))

g. Post-construction conditions – horizontal and vertical (N.J.A.C. 13:40-7.2(a))

h. Wetlands delineation by metes and bounds or coordinate location (N.J.A.C. 13:40- 7.2(a))

2. FEMA Elevation Certificates (N.J.S.A. 45:8-28(e) and N.J.A.C. 13:40-1.3)

3. Major and minor subdivision plans (N.J.S.A. 46:26B-1, N.J.A.C. 13:40-1.3, N.J.A.C. 13:40- 5.1(m) and N.J.A.C. 13:40-7.4) 3

4. Determination of areas and volumes included as part of a land survey (N.J.S.A. 45:8(e) and N.J.A.C. 13:40-1.3)

5. Preparation and annual maintenance of tax maps (N.J.S.A. 19:23A-1.7 and N.J.A.C. 13:40- 5.1(k))

6. Preparation and maintenance of base mapping for Land Information Systems (N.J.S.A. 45:8- 28(e) and N.J.A.C. 13:40-1.3)

7. Foundation location surveys (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.18(b)1. ii (1) and N.J.A.C. 13:40-72(a))

Survey information may be transferred to another plan that is submitted to the Department if the following information is provided: 1. The surveyor who prepared the survey 2. The date of the survey 3. Who the survey was prepared for, and 4. A signed and sealed copy of the Survey attached to the submitted plan. (N.J.A.C. 13:40- 7.2(a)1 and N.J.A.C. 13:40-5.1(n))

NJDEP has published adequate survey requirements. This proposal should adhere to NJDEP’s existing standards.

Very Truly Yours,

Mark L. Husik, Executive Director NJSPLS