[Amended 4-12-1982 by Ord. No. 82-3; 10-24-1985 by Ord. No. 85-10; 12-27-1988 by Ord. No. 88-31; 2-13-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01; 2-13-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-07]
All references hereinafter to the “Planning Board” shall be retitled to the “Land Use Board of Independence Township.”
There is hereby established in the Township of Independence, Warren County, New Jersey, a Land Use Board of nine members consisting of the following four classes.
Class I: the Mayor.
Class II: one of the officials of the Township, other than a member of the Township Committee, to be appointed by the Mayor, provided that if there is an Environmental Commission, the member of the Commission who is also a member of the Land Use Board as required by N.J.S.A. 40:56A-1 shall be deemed to be a Class II Land Use Board member.
Class III: a member of the Township Committee appointed by it.
Class IV: other citizens of the municipality to be appointed by the Mayor. The members of Class IV shall hold no other municipal office, except that one member may be a member of the Environmental Commission and shall be deemed to be the Class II member of the Land Use Board. One member may be a member of the Historic Preservation Commission. One member may be a member of the Township Board of Education.
The Mayor may appoint to the Land Use Board not more than four alternate members to be designated to be known as Alternate No. 1, Alternate No. 2, Alternate No. 3, and Alternate No. 4. Alternate members shall meet the qualifications of class members. The terms of the alternate members shall be for two years, except that the term of not more than two alternate members shall expire in any one year; and provided further that in no instance shall the terms of the alternate members first appointed exceed two years. A vacancy occurring otherwise than by expiration of term shall be filled by the Mayor for the unexpired term only. Nothing herein shall affect the term of any present member of the Land Use Board, all of whom shall continue in office until the completion of the term for which they were appointed. All terms shall run from January 1 of the year in which the appointment was made.
No alternate member shall be permitted to act on any matter in which he has, either directly or indirectly, any personal or financial interest. An alternate member may, after public hearing if he requests one, be removed by the governing body for cause.
Alternate members may participate in discussions of the proceedings but may not vote except in the absence or disqualification of a regular member of any class. A vote shall not be delayed in order that a regular member may vote instead of an alternate member. In the event that a choice must be made as to which alternate member is to vote, Alternate No. 1 shall vote and thereafter, if needed, in the order as designated.
The term of the member composing Class I shall correspond to his official tenure. The terms of the members composing Class II shall be for one year or terminate at the completion of their respective terms of office, whichever occurs first. The term of a Class IV member who is also a member of the Board of Education shall terminate whenever he is no longer a member of such other body or at the completion of his Class IV term, whichever occurs first. The terms of all Class IV members first appointed under this chapter shall be so determined that to the greatest practicable extent the expiration of such terms shall be distributed evenly over the first four years after their appointment, provided that the initial Class IV term of no member shall exceed four years. Thereafter, the Class IV term of each such member shall occur otherwise than by expiration of the Land Use Board term, it shall be filled by appointment, as above provided, for the unexpired term.
No member of the Land Use Board shall be permitted to act on any matter in which he has, either directly or indirectly, any personal or financial interest. Any member other than a Class I member, after a public hearing if he requests one, may be removed by the Township Committee for cause.
When any hearing before the Land Use Board shall carry over two or more meetings, a member of the Board who was absent for one or more of the meetings shall be eligible to vote on the matter upon which the hearing was conducted, notwithstanding his absence from one or more of the meetings; provided, however, that such Board member has available to him a transcript or recording of the meeting from which he was absent and certifies, in writing, to the Board that he has read such transcript or listened to such recording.
The Land Use Board shall elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman from the members of Class IV and select a Secretary, who may or may not be a member of the Land Use Board or a municipal employee. It may employ, or contract for, and fix the compensation of legal counsel, other than the Township Attorney, a planning consultant, a civil engineer and other staff and services as it may deem necessary, not exceeding, exclusive of gifts or grants, the amount appropriated by the Township Committee for its use.
The Land Use Board shall follow the provisions of this chapter and shall accordingly exercise its power in regard to:
Variances and certain building permits in conjunction with subdivision, site plan and conditional use approval pursuant to § 255-30.
Variances pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70(c) from lot area, lot dimensional setback and yard requirements.
In particular cases for special reasons, granting a variance to allow departure from regulations pursuant to Article VIII of this act to permit: (a) a use or principal structure in a district restricted against such use or principal structure; (b) an expansion of a nonconforming use; (c) deviation from a specification or standard pursuant to Section 54 of P.L. 1975, c. 291 (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-67) pertaining solely to a conditional use; (d) an increase in the permitted floor area ratio as defined in Section 3.1 of P.L. 1975, c. 291 (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-4); (e) an increase in the permitted density as defined in Section 3.1 of P.L. 1975, c. 291 (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-4), except as applied to the required lot area for a lot or lots for detached one- or two-dwelling-unit buildings, which lot or lots are either an isolated undersized lot or lots resulting from a minor subdivision; or (f) a height of a principal structure which exceeds by 10 feet or 10% the maximum height permitted in the district for a principal structure. A variance under this subsection shall be granted only by affirmative vote of at least five members. Class I and Class III members shall not participate in the application for development which involves relief under this section.
Hearing and deciding appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that there is an error in any order, requirement, decision or refusal made by the administrative officer or based on or made in the enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance
Hearing and deciding requests for interpretation of the Zoning Map or Ordinance or for decisions upon other special questions upon which the Board is authorized to rule upon in accordance with the Municipal Land Use Law.
Directing, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-34, the issuance of a permit for a building or structure in the bed of a mapped street or public drainageway, flood control basin or public area reserved pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-32.
Directing, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-36, the issuance of a permit for a building or structure not related to a street.
The Land Use Board may:
Participate in the preparation and review of programs or plans required by state or federal law or regulations.
Assemble data on a continuing basis as part of a continuous planning process.
Perform such other advisory duties as are assigned to it by ordinance or resolution of the Township Committee or other agencies or officers.
Prior to the adoption of a development regulation, revision or amendment thereto, the Land Use Board shall make and transmit to the Township Committee, within 35 days after referral, a report, including recommendations concerning the proposed development regulation, revision or amendment. The Township Committee, when considering the adoption of a development regulation, revision or amendment thereto, shall review the report of the Land Use Board and may disapprove or change any recommendation by a vote of a majority of its full authorized membership and shall record in its minutes the reasons for not following such recommendations. Failure of the Land Use Board to transmit its report within the thirty-five-day period provided herein shall relieve the Township Committee from the requirements of this subsection in regard to the proposed development regulation, revision or amendment thereto referred to the Land Use Board.
Prior to the hearing on adoption of an ordinance providing for Land Use Board approval of either subdivisions or site plans, or both, or any amendment thereto, the Township Committee shall refer any such proposed ordinance or amendment thereto to the Land Use Board pursuant to Subsection A of this section.