LAN was retained by the Fair Lawn Board of Education to provide architecture and engineering services for an addition and renovation to the District’s Memorial Middle School. Due to the proximity of the school to the Passaic River and the flood hazard elevation, the addition to the school had to be located above the existing footprint of the school. LAN’s in-house land use team recognized these regulated areas early in the planning stages which helped them to properly analyze the project feasibility and minimize potential scheduling impacts.
LAN prepared a boundary and topographic survey to establish the on-site boundaries of various regulated areas and to evaluate the site-specific permitting constraints in accordance with the NJDEP requirements to prepare a Flood Hazard Area Verification and Freshwater Wetlands Letter of Interpretation (LOI) for a Line Verification. Nearly the entire site was located within the established flood hazard area being below the NJDEP design flood elevation and a portion of the existing school building encroached the floodway. These regulated areas presented substantial development constraints to achieve the project goals and meet various conditions to maintain consideration for public health, safety, and welfare, as well as the local environment.
LAN coordinated with the NJDEP to identify the permitting requirements and worked closely with the District to develop a project outline that would meet their goals. To gain proper authorization for the addition, a Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit with Hardship Exception was obtained. The hardship exception from the access requirements allowed Memorial Middle School, which is considered a “critical building,” to be served by existing roadways that are below the required elevation, which is typically difficult to get approved due to the additional application requirements and extensive information needed to meet all requirements. Several high-level meetings were held with the NJDEP administration where we presented a detailed analysis of potential flooding on the property and emergency preparedness plans, including identifying emergency egress from the building to a relocation site. The project on its own did not comply with the NJDEP regulations and the hardship waiver had to be requested. It is our understanding that this is one of the first few school projects that was approved by the NJDEP under the hardship waiver clause.
Fairlawn School District
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Land Use, Surveying