Township of Chester, NJ
Morris County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 12-17-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-11]
A. 
This Part 11 shall apply to any application for development involving lands located within (or partially within) the Township Highlands Area (as illustrated in the attached Chester Township Zoning Map[1]) that seeks approval of a site plan, subdivision, or change in use, where approval of such application would:
(1) 
For nonresidential development, result in the ultimate disturbance of one acre or more of land and/or produce a cumulative impervious surface area of 1/4 acre, or more;
(2) 
In the case of residential development, create three or more dwelling units; or
(3) 
Introduce or expand on any of the following land uses/facilities:
(a) 
Landfills;
(b) 
Permanent storage or disposal of hazardous wastes, industrial or municipal sludge or radioactive materials, including solid waste landfills;
(c) 
Collection and transfer facilities for hazardous wastes, solid wastes that contain hazardous materials, and radioactive materials;
(d) 
Industrial treatment facility lagoons; or
(e) 
Any major or minor potential contaminant source (as identified in Appendix A and Appendix B[2] of this Part 11, respectively) on lands located within 200 feet of the wellhead of any public community well or public noncommunity well, as these are defined at § 113-421 below.
[2]
Editor's Note: Said appendixes are included as attachments to this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Zoning Map is included as an attachment to this chapter.
B. 
For purposes of this Part 11, the phrases "application for development," "Highlands Area," "residential development," "ultimate disturbance," and "cumulative impervious surface area" shall be defined as provided at § 113-421 below.
A. 
Consistency determinations required. No application for development included in § 113-416 above shall be deemed complete or considered for review by the applicable Township Land Use Board until and unless the applicant has obtained and provided a copy of:
(1) 
A consistency determination from the Highlands Council indicating that the application is consistent with the Highlands Regional Master Plan; or
(2) 
A consistency determination from the Highlands Council indicating that the application is not consistent with the Highlands Regional Master Plan, accompanied by a certification, as detailed in Subsection B below, by the applicant's professional(s) that the application has been revised since review by the Highlands Council to achieve consistency with the Highlands Regional Master Plan.
B. 
Findings of inconsistency. Where a Highlands Council consistency determination indicates that an application for development is inconsistent with the Highlands Regional Master Plan, no such application shall be deemed complete or considered for review by the applicable Township Land Use Board, until or unless the applicant has obtained from the professional(s) responsible for preparation of the applicant's plans, a certification indicating that to the best of the knowledge and abilities of such professional(s), the application has, since review by the Highlands Council, been revised to achieve consistency with the Highlands Regional Master Plan, and specifically describing the revisions made to achieve such consistency.
C. 
Checklist waiver. The Township may issue a waiver from the provisions of this section where it can be established by the applicant and can be verified by the designated representative(s) of the Township that:
(1) 
The activity, improvement or development proposed by the subject application for development has not yet been formally determined to be exempt from the Highlands Act (See § 113-420B below.), but eligibility for an exemption has been sufficiently established by the applicant; or
(2) 
The activity, improvement or development proposed in the application for development will neither encroach upon a Highlands resource or Highlands Resource Area, nor be of detrimental impact to any Highlands resource or Highlands Resource Area as these are identified and delineated in the Highlands Regional Master Plan. The applicant's professional(s) responsible for preparation of the applicant's plan shall establish compliance of the above through a formal certification specifically addressing the Highlands resources and Resource Areas and related policies and objectives as identified in Chapter 4 of the Highlands Regional Master Plan.
D. 
Highlands Council call-up. All municipal waivers or findings of application completeness issued pursuant to this section shall be issued in writing, inclusive of a statement indicating the rationale for the determination. All such determinations shall be subject to Highlands Council call-up review, and shall include conditions requiring same consistent with this subsection. The municipality shall, within five calendar days of issuance of all such determinations, provide a copy of the decision to the applicant and to the Highlands Council. The Highlands Council call-up review period shall expire 15 calendar days following its receipt of same. Upon determining to exercise this authority for call-up review, the Highlands Council shall transmit notice to the applicant and the municipality. Absent any such notification from the Highlands Council within that time frame, the application shall be considered complete, with the date of the waiver or finding of application completeness to be as of the date of first issuance by the municipality.
The provisions of this section shall apply in addition to all requirements concerning public notice for applications for development as provided under the MLUL and required pursuant to the underlying municipal land use ordinances.
A. 
Notice to Highlands Council of application. The applicant for any application for development shall provide notice to the Highlands Council at least 10 days prior to the date on which the application is scheduled for consideration by the local board. A copy of the complete application shall accompany such notice regarding any application for development involving the potential disturbance of two acres, or more, or a cumulative increase in impervious coverage of one acre, or more. The applicant shall provide copies of any subsequent revisions to such applications to the Highlands Council at the same time these are provided to the reviewing board. If such plans or plats have been prepared in digital form, they shall be provided to the Highlands Council in a digital format that meets Highlands Council standards for such submissions.
B. 
Notice of decision required. The reviewing board shall provide a certified copy of the fully executed resolution memorializing its final decision regarding any application for development to the Highlands Council within 10 days of its adoption. This provision shall apply in all cases, whether the board approves the application for development, denies it, or approves it with conditions.
A. 
All board decisions pertaining to applications for development involving the ultimate disturbance of two acres or more of land or a cumulative increase in impervious surface by one acre or more, are subject to call-up and subsequent review by the Highlands Council in accordance with procedural requirements and time frames established pursuant to the Highlands Act. The Highlands Council may, on notice to the applicant within 15 calendar days of receipt of the memorializing resolution of the reviewing board, review and require a public hearing on the application. In that case, subsequent to the hearing the Highlands Council may approve the application for development, deny it, or issue an approval with conditions.
B. 
The following conditions of approval shall be attached to any application for development approved pursuant to the MLUL which involves lands within or partially within the Highlands Preservation Area.
(1) 
No land disturbance. No land disturbance approved in connection with an application for development involving the ultimate disturbance of two acres or more of land or a cumulative increase in impervious surface by one acre or more, shall occur until and unless, either:
(a) 
The Highlands Council call-up period has expired without issuance of a notice seeking review of the application by the Highlands Council; or
(b) 
The Highlands Council has issued notice, and has reviewed the approval pursuant to N.J.S.A. 13:20-17a(1) and has determined not to deny or modify the approval.
(2) 
Amendments. In the event that Highlands Council review of an approved application for development pursuant to this section results in a finding that the plans must be modified, the applicant shall amend the application accordingly and submit the amended application to the reviewing board for approval. Such submissions shall include the written findings and notice of decision of the Highlands Council and any subsequent approval by the applicable reviewing board shall incorporate any conditions imposed by the Highlands Council.
(3) 
Approvals conditioned on state approvals. All approvals shall be subject to the approval of any and all state agencies or other authorities having jurisdiction over any aspect or aspects of the approved application for development.
(4) 
As-built surveys required. Prior to issuance of any final certificate of occupancy or approval, or to the release of any performance bonding held in relation to the approved application for development, the applicant shall provide an "as-built" survey depicting the final site conditions.
(5) 
Submission of final plans/plats to highlands council. The applicant shall provide a copy of any final site plan or subdivision plat to the Highlands Council. If such plans or plats have been prepared in digital form, they shall be provided to the Highlands Council in a digital format that meets Highlands Council standards for such submissions in lieu of copies printed on paper.
A. 
Exclusions. The following specific improvements and related applications shall be excluded from the provisions of this Part 11:
(1) 
The reconstruction, within the same footprint, of any building or other structure lawfully existing as of the effective date of this Part 11, in the event of its destruction or partial destruction by fire, storm, natural disaster, or any other unintended circumstance.
(2) 
Any improvement or alteration to a building or other structure lawfully existing as of the effective date of this Part 11, where such improvement or alteration is necessary for compliance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or to otherwise provide accessibility to the disabled.
(3) 
Any agricultural or horticultural use or development that would not result in either:
(a) 
An increase, since the date of enactment of the Highlands Act (August 10, 2004), either individually or cumulatively, of new agricultural impervious cover of greater than 3% to the total land area of a farm management unit. Solar panels shall not be included in any calculation of agricultural impervious cover (all terms as defined in § 113-421, below); or
(b) 
Construction of three or more residential dwelling units (including accessory dwelling units or agricultural labor housing as provided for in the Code of Chester Township, Chapter 113, Land Use) served by individual on-site septic system(s).
B. 
Exemptions. Any activity, improvement or development project listed and demonstrated to constitute a Highlands Act exemption shall be exempt from the provisions of this Part 11. Formal demonstration of a Highlands Act exemption for an application for development involving lands located (or partially located) in the Highlands Area shall consist of one of the following:
(1) 
State agency determination. State agency determinations shall include either a Highlands applicability determination (HAD) issued by the NJDEP for a Preservation Area proposal, or a Highlands exemption determination issued by the Highlands Council for a Planning Area proposal, in either case, indicating that the proposal qualifies as a Highlands Act exemption.
(2) 
Municipal determination. Pursuant to Township Ordinance No. 2013-10, entitled "Township of Chester Highlands Area Exemption Ordinance,"[1] effective as of December 17, 2013, for any application under this Part 11 involving Highlands Act Exemption No. 4, 6, 7, or 8, the applicant may request and shall be deemed to have satisfied the evidentiary requirement by obtaining a municipal exemption determination issued by the municipal exemption designee, provided such determination indicates that the proposal qualifies as a Highlands Act exemption. The applicant may rely upon the findings of a municipal exemption determination to the same extent and with the same protections as would apply in the case of a Highlands exemption determination issued by the Highlands Council, or of a HAD issued by the NJDEP.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 106, Highlands Area Exemptions.
For the purpose of this Part 11, the following terms, phrases, words, and their derivations shall have the meanings stated herein unless their use in the text of this Part 11 clearly demonstrates a different meaning. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words used in the plural number include the singular number, and words used in the singular number include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
AGRICULTURAL IMPERVIOUS COVER
Agricultural or horticultural buildings, structures or facilities with or without flooring, residential buildings and paved areas, but not meaning temporary coverings.
AGRICULTURAL OR HORTICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Construction for the purposes of supporting common farm-site activities, including, but not limited to, the production, harvesting, storage, grading, packaging, processing, and the wholesale and retail marketing of crops, plants, animals, and other related commodities and the use and application of techniques and methods of soil preparation and management, fertilization, weed, disease, and pest control, disposal of farm waste, irrigation, drainage and water management, grazing; and agricultural labor housing as provided for in the Code of Chester Township, Chapter 113, Land Use.
AGRICULTURAL OR HORTICULTURAL USE
The use of land for common farm-site activities, including, but not limited to, the production, harvesting, storage, grading, packaging, processing, and the wholesale and retail marketing of crops, plants, animals, and other related commodities and the use and application of techniques and methods of soil preparation and management, fertilization, weed, disease, and pest control, disposal of farm waste, irrigation, drainage and water management, grazing; and agricultural labor housing as provided for in the Code of Chester Township, Chapter 113, Land Use.
APPLICANT
A developer submitting an application for development.
APPLICATION FOR DEVELOPMENT
The application form and all accompanying documents required by ordinance for approval of a subdivision plat, site plan, planned development, conditional use, zoning variance, or direction of the issuance of a permit pursuant to Section 25 or Section 27 of P.L. 1975, c. 291 (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-34 or 40:55D-36).
DISTURBANCE
The placement of impervious surface, the exposure or movement of soil or bedrock, or the clearing, cutting, or removing of vegetation.
DISTURBANCE, ULTIMATE
The total existing or proposed area of disturbance of a lot, parcel, or other legally designated (or otherwise legally recognized) tract or subdivision of land, for the purpose of, and in connection with, any human activity, property improvement, or development, including the surface area of all buildings and structures, all impervious surfaces, and all associated land disturbances such as excavated, filled, and graded areas, and all lawn and landscape areas. Ultimate disturbance shall not include areas of prior land disturbance which at the time of evaluation:
A. 
Contain no known man-made structures (whether above or below the surface of the ground) other than such features as old stone rows or farm field fencing; and
B. 
Consist of exposed rock outcroppings, or areas which, through exposure to natural processes (such as weathering, erosion, siltation, deposition, fire, flood, growth of trees or other vegetation) are no longer impervious or visually obvious, or ecologically restored areas which will henceforth be preserved as natural areas under conservation restrictions.
FARM MANAGEMENT UNIT
A parcel or parcels of land, whether contiguous or noncontiguous, together with agricultural or horticultural buildings, structures and facilities, producing agricultural or horticultural products, and operated as a single enterprise.
HIGHLANDS ACT
The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, P.L. 2004, c. 120, as amended, codified in part at N.J.S.A. 13:20-1 et seq.
HIGHLANDS APPLICABILITY DETERMINATION (HAD)
The determination made by the NJDEP of whether a project proposed for the Preservation Area is a major Highlands development, whether any such major Highlands development is exempt from the Highlands Act, and whether the project is consistent with the applicable areawide water quality management plan.
HIGHLANDS AREA
That portion of the municipality for which the land use planning and regulation are in conformance with, or are intended or proposed to be in conformance with, the Highlands Regional Master Plan, specifically in the context of this Part 11, the Township of Chester Highlands Preservation Area and Planning Area.
HIGHLANDS COUNCIL
The New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council.
HIGHLANDS REGION
All that area within the boundaries of the municipalities listed in Subsection a of Section 7 of the Highlands Act.
IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
Any structure, surface, or improvement that reduces or prevents absorption of stormwater into land, including, but not limited to, porous paving, paver blocks, gravel, crushed stone, decks, patios, elevated structures, and other similar structures, surfaces, or improvements.
IMPERVIOUS SURFACES, CUMULATIVE
The total area of all existing or proposed impervious surfaces situated or proposed to be situated within the boundary lines of a lot, parcel, or other legally recognized subdivision of land, expressed either as a measure of land area such as acreage, or square feet, or as a percentage of the total lot or parcel area.
MAJOR POTENTIAL CONTAMINANT SOURCES (PCS)
Land uses and activities determined by the Highlands Council to pose a major risk of groundwater contamination. (See Appendix A.[1])
MINOR POTENTIAL CONTAMINANT SOURCES (PCS)
Land uses and activities determined by the Highlands Council to pose a minor risk of groundwater contamination. (See Appendix B.[2])
MUNICIPAL LAND USE LAW (MLUL)
The New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq.
NJDEP
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
NJDEP PRESERVATION AREA RULES
The regulations established by the NJDEP to implement requirements of the Highlands Act, titled "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act Rules," and codified at N.J.A.C. 7:38-1 et seq.
PLAN CONFORMANCE
The process by which a municipality revises the master plan, development regulations and other regulations related to the development and use of land to conform them to the goals, requirements, and provisions of the Regional Master Plan in accordance with the Highlands Plan Conformance Guidelines.
PLANNING AREA
Lands within the Highlands Region not within the Preservation Area (N.J.S.A. 13:20-7).
PRESERVATION AREA
That portion of the Highlands Region so designated by Subsection b of Section 7 of the Highlands Act.
PUBLIC COMMUNITY WELL
A well that provides water to a public water system serving at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serving at least twenty-five-year-round residents.
PUBLIC NONCOMMUNITY WELL
A well that is not a public community well and that provides water to a public water system regularly serving at least 25 individuals for at least 60 days in any given calendar year.
REGIONAL MASTER PLAN (RMP)
The Highlands Regional Master Plan or any revision thereof adopted by the Highlands Council pursuant to N.J.S.A. 13:20-8.
SOLAR PANEL
An elevated panel or plate, or a canopy or array thereof, that captures and converts solar radiation to produce power, and includes flat plate, focusing solar collectors or photovoltaic solar cells and excludes the base or foundation of the panel, plate, canopy, or array. (As defined by the Highlands Act, N.J.S.A. 13:20-1 et seq., as amended.)
STRUCTURE
A combination of materials to form a construction for occupancy, use or ornamentation whether installed on, above, or below the surface of a parcel of land.
[1]
Editor's Note: Said appendix is included as an attachment to this chapter.
[2]
Editor's Note: Said appendix is included as an attachment to this chapter.