Township of West Orange, NJ
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-1]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as "The Land Subdivision Ordinance of the Township of West Orange."
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-2]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide rules, regulations and standards to guide land subdivision in the Township in order to promote its public health, safety, convenience and general welfare. It shall be administered to insure orderly growth and development, conservation, protection and proper use of land and adequate provision for circulation, utilities and services.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-3; Ord. No. 2464-15 § 6]
The approval provisions of this chapter shall be administered by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment in accordance with Sections 25-46.7b and 25-47.8d of Chapter 25, Land Use Regulations.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-4]
This chapter shall not be construed to repeal the Zoning Ordinance or any part thereof.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-5]
The following words, terms or phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed in this section:
APPROVING AGENCY
Shall mean the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment in accordance with subsections 25-46.7b and 25-47.8d of Chapter 25, Land Use Regulations.
DRAINAGE RIGHT-OF-WAY
Shall mean the lands required for the installation of storm water sewers or drainage ditches, or required along a natural stream or watercourse for preserving the channel and providing for the flow of water therein to safeguard the public against flood damage, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 58:1-1 to 58:1-34.
FINAL PLAT
Shall mean the final map of all or a portion of the subdivision which is presented to the Planning Board for final approval in accordance with these regulations, and meeting the requirements of Section 32-7 of this chapter, and which, if approved, shall be filed with the proper County Recording Officer.
LOT
Shall mean a designated parcel, tract or area of land established by a plat or otherwise, as permitted by law and to be used, developed or built upon as a unit.
MAJOR SUBDIVISION
Shall mean any subdivision not classified as a minor subdivision.
MASTER PLAN
Shall mean a composite of the mapped and written proposals recommending the physical development of the Township which shall have been duly adopted by the Planning Board.
MINOR SUBDIVISION
Shall mean any subdivision containing not more than two lots fronting on any existing street accepted by the Township and not involving any new street or road or the extension of municipal facilities and not adversely affecting the development of the remainder of the parcel or adjoining property and not in conflict with any provision or portion of the Master Plan, Official Map, Zoning Ordinance or this chapter.
OFFICIAL MAP
Shall mean a map adopted in accordance with Article 5. The Official Map, of the Municipal Land Use Law at N.J.S.A. 40:55D-32 et seq.
OWNER
Shall mean any individual, firm, association, syndicate, co-partnership or corporation having sufficient proprietary interest in the land sought to be subdivided to commence and maintain proceedings to subdivide the same under this chapter.
PERFORMANCE GUARANTEE
Shall mean any security which may be accepted in lieu of a requirement that certain improvements be made before the approving agency approves a plat, including performance bonds, escrow agreements, and other similar collateral or surety agreements.
PLAT
Shall mean the map of a subdivision.
PRELIMINARY PLAT
Shall mean the preliminary map indicating the proposed layout of the subdivision which is submitted to the approving agency for consideration and approval, and meeting the requirements of Section 32-7 of this chapter.
SKETCH PLAT
Shall mean the sketch map of a subdivision of sufficient accuracy to be used for the purpose of discussion and classification, and meeting the requirements of Section 32-7 of this chapter.
STREET
Shall mean any street, avenue, boulevard, road, lane, parkway, viaduct, alley or other way which is an existing State, County or municipal roadway, or which is shown upon a plat heretofore approved pursuant to law, or approved by official action, or which is shown on a plat duly filed and recorded in the office of the County Recording Officer prior to the appointment of a Planning Board and the grant to such Board of the power to revise plats, and includes the land between the street lines whether improved or unimproved, and may comprise pavement, shoulders, gutters, sidewalks, parking areas and other areas within the street lines.
SUBDIVIDER
Shall mean any individual, firm, association, syndicate, copartnership, corporation, trust or any other legal entity commencing proceedings under this chapter to effect a subdivision of land hereunder for himself/herself or for another.
SUBDIVISION
Shall mean the division of a lot, tract, or parcel of land into two or more lots, tracts, parcels or other divisions of land for sale or development; except that the following divisions shall not be considered subdivisions, provided that no new streets or roads are involved: divisions of land for agricultural purposes where the resulting parcels are five acres or larger in size, divisions of property by testamentary or intestate provisions, divisions of property upon court order, consolidations of existing lots by deed or other recorded instrument, and the conveyance of one or more adjoining lots, tracts or parcels of land, owned by the same person or persons and all of which are found and certified by the Construction Official/Zoning Officer to conform to the requirements of the municipal development regulations and are shown and designated as separate lots, tracts or parcels on the tax map or atlas of the municipality. The term "subdivision" shall also include the term "resubdivision."
TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Shall mean the Technical Advisory Committee established pursuant to subsection 25-51.15 of Chapter 25, Land Use Regulations.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-6]
The rules, regulations and standards contained in this chapter shall be considered the minimum requirements for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Township. Any action taken by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment under the terms of this chapter shall give primary consideration to the above mentioned matters and to the welfare of the entire community. However, if the subdivider or his/her agent can clearly demonstrate that, because of peculiar conditions pertaining to his/her land, the literal enforcement of one or more of these regulations is impracticable or will exact undue hardship, the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment may permit such exception or exceptions as may be reasonable and within the general purpose and intent of the rules, regulations and standards established by this chapter.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-7]
The information required to be submitted for any application for subdivision approval and the application procedures are included in Section 25-51 of the Land Use Regulations Ordinance, the Township of West Orange's Site Plan/Subdivision Checklist and the Application Form for the Planning Board or Zoning Board prepared by the Department of Planning and Development.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-7]
Prior to the granting of final approval, the subdivider shall have installed or shall have furnished performance guarantees for the ultimate installation of the following:
a. 
Streets.
b. 
Street signs.
c. 
Curbs or gutters.
d. 
Sidewalks, where determined.
e. 
Street lighting.
f. 
Shade trees to be as provided in subsection 32-10.4.
g. 
Topsoil shall not be removed from the site or used as spoil. Topsoil moved during the course of construction shall be redistributed so as to provide at least six inches of cover to all areas of the subdivision and shall be stabilized by seeding or planting.
h. 
Monuments to be of the size and shape required by N.J.S.A. 46:23-9.4, and to be placed in accordance with the Statute.
i. 
Water mains, culverts, storm sewers and sanitary sewers shall be properly connected with an approved system and shall be adequate to handle all present and probable future development.
j. 
Any provision to the contrary notwithstanding, sidewalks, rough road and curbing shall be installed and laid in accordance with the standards and specifications of the Township Engineer prior to the issuance of any certificate of occupancy. In the event that the developer is unable in the opinion of the Township Engineer, to install sidewalks, rough road or curbing by reason of prevailing weather conditions or for good cause shown, the Construction Official may, with the consent of the Township Engineer, issue certificates of occupancy in particular cases and upon terms and conditions set by the Township Engineer and the Construction Official. In any event, sidewalks shall be installed within 90 days from the issuance of certificates of occupancy.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-9.2]
All improvements listed in subsection 32-9.1 shall be subject to inspection and approval by the Township Engineer who shall be notified by the developer at least 24 hours prior to the start of construction. No underground installation shall be covered until inspected and approved.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-9.3]
In cases where reasonable and necessary need for an off-tract improvement or improvements is necessitated or required by the proposed development application and where no other property owners receive a special benefit thereby, the Planning Board, hereinafter "Board", shall require the applicant, as a condition of approval, at the applicant's expense, to provide for and construct such improvements as if such were on-tract improvements in the manner provided hereafter and as otherwise provided by law.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-9.4]
a. 
In cases where the need for any off-tract improvements are necessitated by the proposed development application and where the Board determines that properties outside the development will also be benefited by the improvement, the Board shall forthwith forward to the Township Council a list and description of all such improvements together with its request that the Township Council determine and advise the Board of the procedure to be followed in the construction or installation thereof.
The Board shall act upon the development application within the prescribed time period subject to:
1. 
Receipt of the Township Council's determination; or
2. 
Until the expiration of 45 days after forwarding of such list and description to the Township Council without such determination having been made.
b. 
The Township Council, within 45 days after receipt of the list and description, shall determine and advise the Board whether:
1. 
The improvement or improvements are to be constructed or installed by the Township.
(a) 
As a general improvement, the cost of which is to be borne at general expense, except as otherwise provided as to a contribution thereto by the applicant; or
(b) 
As a local improvement, all or part of the cost of which is to be specially assessed against properties benefited thereby in proportion to benefits conferred by the improvements in accordance with law, except as otherwise provided as to a contribution thereto by the applicant; or
(c) 
The improvement or improvements are to be constructed or installed by the applicant under a formula for partial reimbursement as hereinafter set forth.
c. 
If the Township Council shall determine that the improvement or improvements shall be constructed or installed under paragraph b. 1(a) above, the Board shall estimate with the aid of the Township Engineer, or such other persons as have pertinent information or expertise, the amount, if any, by which the total cost thereof will exceed the total amount by which all properties, including the proposed development, will be specially benefited thereby, and the applicant shall be liable to the Township for such excess. Further, the Township Council shall adopt an ordinance authorizing and providing for the financing of the improvement or improvements in a manner consistent with the obligation of the applicant for any excess of total cost over total benefits conferred, as set forth above.
d. 
If the Township Council shall determine that the improvement or improvements shall be constructed or installed under paragraph 32-9.4, b. 1(b) above, the Board shall, as provided in paragraph c above, estimate the difference between the total costs to be incurred and the total amount by which all properties to be benefited thereby, including the development property, will be specially benefited by the improvement, and the applicant shall be liable to the Township therefor, as well as for the amount of any special assessments against the development property for benefits conferred by the improvement or improvements. Further, the Township Council shall adopt an ordinance authorizing and providing for the financing of the improvement or improvements and the assessment of benefits arising therefor in a manner consistent with the obligation of the applicant with respect thereto, and proceedings under the ordinance shall be in accordance with law, except to the extent modified by the obligation of the applicant for any excess of total cost over total benefits conferred, as set forth above.
e. 
If the Township Council shall determine that the improvement or improvements are to be constructed or installed by the applicant under paragraph b, 1(c) above, the Board shall, in like manner, estimate the amount of such excess, and the applicant shall be liable to the Township therefor as well as for the amount of any special assessments against the development property for benefits conferred by the improvement or improvements. However, the applicant shall be entitled to be reimbursed by the Township for the amount of any special assessments against property other than the development property for benefits conferred by the improvement or improvements, such reimbursement to be made if and when the special assessments against such other property are received by the Township. Further, the Township Council shall adopt an ordinance authorizing and providing for the assessment against all properties, including the development property, of benefits conferred by the improvement or improvements, and proceedings under the ordinance shall be in accordance with law. However, any such assessment against the development property shall be marked paid and satisfied in consideration of the construction or installation of the improvement or improvements by the applicant.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-9.5]
a. 
In determining the allocation of costs for off-tract improvements as between the developer, other property owners and the Township, the Board shall be guided by the following factors:
1. 
The total estimated cost of off-tract improvements;
2. 
The increase in market values of the properties affected and any other benefits conferred;
3. 
The needs created by the application;
4. 
Population and land use projections for the land within the general area of the subdivision or site plan and other areas to be served by the off-tract improvements;
5. 
The estimated time for construction of the off-tract improvements; and
6. 
The condition and periods of usefulness of the improvements which may be based upon the criteria of N.J.S.A. 40A:2-22.
b. 
Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Board may take into account the following specific factors:
1. 
With respect to street, curb, gutter, sidewalk, street light, street sign and traffic light improvements, the approving authority may consider:
(a) 
Traffic counts;
(b) 
Existing and projected traffic patterns;
(c) 
Quality of roads and sidewalks in the area; and
(d) 
All such other factors as it may deem relevant to the needs created by the proposed development.
2. 
With respect to drainage facilities, the approving authority may consider:
(a) 
The relationship between the areas of the subdivision or site plan and the area of the total drainage basin of which the subdivision or site plan is a part;
(b) 
The proposed use of land within the subdivision or site plan and the amount of land area to be covered by impervious surfaces on the land within the subdivision or site plan; and
(c) 
The use, condition or status of the remaining land area in the drainage basin.
3. 
With respect to water, gas and electric supply and distribution facilities, the approving authority may consider the use requirements of the use proposed for the subdivision or site plan and the use requirements of all other properties to be benefited by the improvements.
4. 
With respect to sewerage facilities, the approving authority may consider:
(a) 
The anticipated volume of effluent from the use proposed for the subdivision or site plan and the anticipated volume of effluent from all other properties to be benefited by the improvements;
(b) 
The types of effluent anticipated and particular problems requiring special equipment or added costs.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-9.6]
a. 
Required. The applicant shall be required to provide, as a condition for final approval of his/her development application, a performance guarantee running to the Township as follows:
1. 
If the improvement is to be constructed by the applicant under subsection 32-9.1 above or under subsection 32-9.4, a performance bond with surety in an amount equal to the estimated cost of the improvement, or as to any part of the improvement, or as to any part of the improvement that is to be acquired or installed by the Township under subsection 32-9.3, a performance bond equal to the estimated cost of such acquisition or installation by the Township;
2. 
If the improvement is to be constructed by the Township as a general improvement under subsection 32-9.4, a performance bond equal to the amount of the excess of the estimated cost of the improvement over the estimated total amount by which all properties, including the development property, will be specially benefited thereby; and
3. 
If the improvement is to be constructed by the Township as a local improvement under subsection 32-9.4, a performance bond equal to the amount referred to in the preceding paragraph a, 2 immediately above, plus the estimated amount by which the development property will be specially benefited by the improvement.
4. 
All estimates of cost shall be made by the Township Engineer. All improvements shall be made on or before an agreed date.
b. 
Form; Term; Reduction of Amount.
1. 
Form. The performance guarantee may be in the form of a performance bond, which shall be issued by a bonding or surety company approved by the Township Council, or of a certified check, returnable to the subdivider after full compliance, or by any other type of surety approval by the Township Attorney. The performance guarantee shall be approved by the Township Attorney as to form, sufficiency and execution.
2. 
Term. The performance guarantee shall run for a period to be fixed by the Planning Board, but in no case for a term of more than three years. However, with the consent of the owner and of the surety, if there be one, the Township Council may, by resolution, extend the term of such performance guarantee for the additional period not to exceed three years.
3. 
Reduction of Amount. The amount of the performance guarantee may be reduced by the Township Council by resolution when portions of the required improvements have been installed.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-9.7]
If the required improvements have not been installed in accordance with the performance guarantee, the obligor and surety shall be liable thereon to the Township for the reasonable cost of the improvements not installed, and upon receipt of the proceeds thereof, the Township shall install such improvements.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-9.8]
All moneys paid by an applicant pursuant to this chapter shall be paid over to the Township Treasurer, who shall provide a suitable depository therefor. Such funds shall be used only for the improvements for which they are deposited or improvements serving the same purpose.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-9.9]
In any case in which an applicant shall deposit money with the Township for the completion of an improvement that is to be constructed pursuant to this chapter by the Township, the applicant shall be entitled to a full refund of such deposit if the Township Council shall have enacted an ordinance authorizing the improvement within five years after the date of all other development improvements are completed.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-9.10]
Upon completion of off-tract improvements required pursuant to this chapter, the applicant's liability hereunder shall be recalculated in accordance with the actual, as compared with the estimated cost of the improvements. To the extent that such recalculation shall increase the amount of any cash deposit made by the applicant hereunder, the applicant shall forthwith pay the amount of such increase to the Township. To the extent that it shall decrease the amount thereof, the Township shall forthwith refund the amount of such decrease to the applicant. In cases where improvements are specially assessed against all benefited properties, recalculation shall be made by the Township assessing authority in the course of the special assessment proceedings. In other cases, it shall be made by the Township Engineer.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-10.1]
The subdivider shall observe the requirements and principles of land subdivision in the design of each subdivision or portion thereof, as set forth in this section or the New Jersey Residential Site Improvement Standards (N.J.A.C. 5:21-1 et seq.).
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-10.2]
The subdivision plat shall conform to design standards that will encourage good development patterns within the Township. Where an Official Map or Master Plan, or both, has been adopted, the subdivision shall conform to the proposals and conditions shown thereon. The streets, drainage rights-of-way, school sites, public parks and playgrounds shown on an officially adopted Master Plan or Official Map shall be considered in approval of subdivision plats. Where no Master Plan or Official Map exists, street and drainage rights-of-way shall be shown on the final plat in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:55-1.20 and shall be such as to lend themselves to the harmonious development of the Township and to enhance the public welfare in accordance with the design standards set forth in subsections 32-10.3 and 32-10.7.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-10.3]
a. 
In large scale development, easements along rear property lines or elsewhere for utility installation may be required. Such easements shall be at least 15 feet wide and shall be located on consultation with the companies or Township departments concerned.
b. 
Where a subdivision is traversed by a watercourse, drainageway channel or street, there shall be provided a stormwater easement or drainage right-of-way conforming substantially with the lines of such watercourse and such further width or construction, or both, as will be adequate for the purpose. The Planning Board may prescribe such rules and conditions as it deems fit to properly control such watercourse, drainageway or stream.
c. 
Natural features such as trees, brooks, hilltops and views shall be preserved whenever possible in designing any subdivision containing such features.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-10.4]
Shade trees shall be located on the street line so as not to interfere with utilities or sidewalks or as determined by the Township Engineer, and shall be of one of the following types or species: Maples, Oaks, Ashes, Locusts, Gingko (male), Lindens, Crab Apples, Callery Pears, Crataegus, Japanese Cherry, Hornbeam, Gums, Kentucky Coffee Trees, Amur Cork Trees and Chinese Scholar.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-11.1]
If, before favorable referral and final approval have been obtained, any person transfers or sells or agrees to sell, as owner or agent, any land which forms a part of a subdivision on which the Planning Board or the Township Council is required to act, such person shall be subject to the penalty provided by law.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-11.2]
In addition to the penalty set forth in subsection 32-11.1, if the streets in the subdivision are not such that a structure on the land in the subdivision would meet requirements for a building permit under N.J.S.A. 40:55-1.32 of the Official Map and Building Permit Act (1953) the Township may institute and maintain a civil action.
a. 
For injunctive relief.
b. 
To set aside and invalidate any conveyance made pursuant to such a contract or sale if a certificate of compliance has not been issued in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:55-1.24, provided that the Planning Board or a committee thereof meets regularly on a monthly or more frequent basis and that the Township Council has adopted standards and procedures in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:55-1.20.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-11.3]
In any civil action referred to in subsection 32-11.2, the transferee, purchaser or grantee shall be entitled to a lien upon the portion of the land from which the subdivision was made that remains in the possession of the subdivider or his/her assignees or successors. The lien shall secure the return of any deposit made or purchase price paid, and also a reasonable search fee, survey expense and title closing expense, if any. Any such action must be brought within two years after the date of the recording of the instrument of transfer, sale or conveyance of the land, or within six years, if unrecorded.
See also Chapter 25, Land Use Regulations, subsection 25-8.14, Recycling Facilities.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-13.1]
As used in this section:
MULTIFAMILY HOUSING DEVELOPMENT
Shall mean a building containing three or more dwelling units occupied or intended to be occupied by persons living independently of each other, or a group of such buildings;
RECYCLING AREA
Shall mean space allocated for collection and storage of source separated recyclable materials.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-13.2]
There shall be included in any new multifamily housing development that requires subdivision or site plan approval an indoor or outdoor recycling area for the collection and storage of residentially-generated recyclable materials. The dimensions of the recycling area shall be sufficient to accommodate recycling bins or containers which are of adequate size and number, and which are consistent with anticipated usage and with current methods of collection in the area in which the project is located. The dimensions of the recycling area and the bins or containers shall be determined in consultation with the municipal recycling coordinator, and shall be consistent with the district recycling plan adopted pursuant to section 3 of P.L. 1987, c.102 (N.J.S.A. 12:1E-99.13) and any applicable requirements of the Municipal Master Plan, adopted pursuant to section 26 of P.L. 1987, c.102.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-13.3]
The recycling area shall be conveniently located for the residential disposition of source separated recyclable materials, preferably near, but clearly separated from, a refuse dumpster.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-13.4]
The recycling area shall be well lit, and shall be safely and easily accessible by recycling personnel and vehicles. Collection vehicles shall be able to access the recycling area without interference from parked cars or other obstacles. Reasonable measures shall be taken to protect the recycling area, and the bins or containers placed therein, against theft of recyclable materials, bins or containers.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-13.5]
The recycling area or the bins or containers placed therein shall be designed so as to provide protection against adverse environmental conditions which might render the collected materials unmarketable. Any bins or containers which are used for the collection of recyclable paper or cardboard, and which are located in an outdoor recycling area, shall be equipped with a lid, or otherwise covered, so as to keep the paper or cardboard dry.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-13.6]
Signs clearly identifying the recycling area and the materials accepted therein shall be posted adjacent to all points of access to the recycling area. Individual bins or containers shall be equipped with signs indicating the materials to be placed therein.
[Ord. No. 2357-12 § 32-13.7]
Landscaping and/or fencing shall be provided around any outdoor recycling area and shall be developed in an aesthetically pleasing manner.