[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Paramus 4-8-2003 by Ord. No. 03-2. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Consultant for site plan review — See Ch. 17.
Land use procedures — See Ch. 77.
Land use fees — See Ch. 229.
Professional services — See Ch. 335.
Site plan review — See Ch. 371.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 387.
Zoning — See Ch. 429.
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided that it shall be effective for four years commencing 1-1-2003 and terminating on 12-31-2007. Thereafter, the Council shall determine whether such positions shall be continued.
There shall be a Public Advocate to the Board of Adjustment, and a Public Advocate to the Planning Board, both of whom shall be attorneys at law admitted to practice law in New Jersey, and who shall serve in one, but not both, positions.
The position of Alternate Public Advocate is hereby established to create a pool of attorneys who may serve as an alternate in the event of conflict, scheduling difficulties, or other just cause. There shall be no more than two Alternate Public Advocates in total.
The Public Advocate for the Board of Adjustment and the Public Advocate for the Planning Board shall be appointed by the Borough Council and shall report administratively to the Borough Attorney.
The Public Advocate to the Board of Adjustment and the Public Advocate to the Planning Board may appear before such Board, and before such federal, state, county, and municipal agencies and/or courts as the circumstances warrant in order to represent and advocate the public interest, not individual interests, in proceedings of substantial importance which he or she shall determine in his or her sole discretion warrant representation and advocacy, subject to this chapter.
Such advocate shall review applications initially determined by objective criteria to potentially involve the Public Advocate; review and prepare documents and inspections of developments under construction to the extent that this chapter determines it to be beyond the scope of the expertise of the professionals normally utilized by the municipality, or as may otherwise be provided for by law. To the extent that such public advocate is required to review applications, prepare documents, or otherwise perform services, it shall be at the cost and expense of the applicant. The rate for municipal work set by the Borough Council from time to time shall apply and be payable by voucher.
Each payment charged to the deposit for review of applications, review and preparation of documents and inspection of improvements shall be pursuant to a voucher from the professional, which voucher shall identify the personnel performing the service, and for each date the services performed, the hours spent to one-quarter-hour increments, the hourly rate and the expenses incurred. All professionals shall submit vouchers to the Chief Financial Officer of the municipality on a monthly basis in accordance with schedules and procedures established by the Chief Financial Officer of the municipality.
Substantial public importance shall be defined, or limited to, applications where the applicant is seeking relief in any one of the following areas:
Applicant is seeking a use variance.
Applicant is seeking a major subdivision.
Applicant seeks three or more variances.
Applicant seeks a variance for parking.
Applicant seeks a variance within a special improvement district.
Application of any nature involving property which is contiguous to, or proximate to, land located in any district adjoining parkland, wetlands, or a facility owned by the municipality or the Board of Education.
Any application in which the applicant seeks to vacate a street, road, right-of-way or similarly defined thoroughfare.
Any application in which the applicant seeks to create a street, road, right-of-way or similarly defined thoroughfare, even if on private property not then to be made a Borough street or road.
Application where a variance for density is being sought.
Application that has been bifurcated and where one part of the bifurcated application seeks relief set forth in these subsections.
Applicant's parcel is within 200 feet of a state highway or county road.
A developer's agreement is either contemplated by the respective Board or its counsel, or is likely to result on the basis of the past practice of the Board or the nature of the application, as the Public Advocate shall determine from time to time, provided the application also affects the health, safety or general welfare of the Borough of Paramus or its population, as the Public Advocate, or as provided by ordinance, so determines.
The Public Advocate shall fully participate in any matter before the Board when a majority of the Council so directs.
The Public Advocate shall fully participate in any matter before the Board when one vote less than a majority of those eligible to vote on such matter do request in a writing that the Secretary of such Board shall convey to the Public Advocate.
It is the intent of the Council of Paramus that the resources of the Public Advocate be devoted to the maximum extent possible to ensuring adequate representation of the interests of those residents whose interests would otherwise be inadequately represented in matters within the jurisdiction of the Planning and Zoning Boards, and to represent those interests or rights arising from the Constitution of the United States, decisions of court, common law, or other laws of the United States or of this state, inhering in the citizens of this state or in a broad class of such citizens.
The Public Advocate shall be appointed by the Borough Council, but shall not operate in any manner under the direction or control of the Mayor and Borough Council, except as to its financing, and as otherwise stated herein.
The Public Advocate shall exercise his or her discretion as to the importance and the extent of the public interest, and whether that interest would be adequately represented and advocated without his or her action.
It is intended that the creation of the position of Public Advocate shall be to insure that a full, fair and balanced record be made in such matters of substantial public importance, with all of the competent evidence bearing upon the issues being presented to the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment, tested as to its relevancy, competency, materiality, and credibility, so that such Boards and such other federal, state, county, and municipal agencies, the Borough Council (as applicable) and the courts (whether trial or appellate) will have the benefit of a fully developed record of the proceedings containing all of the testimony, and evidence, of a fair, unbiased and impartial decision in accordance with all of the applicable laws and rules, and to insure that the public interest, and not individual interests, will be adequately represented, and better served.
When the interests of consumers differ, the Public Advocate shall give priority to representing the interests of consumers in the following order:
This subsection does not require the Public Advocate to represent the interests of a consumer or group of consumers if the Public Advocate determines that such representation is adverse to the overall interests of the using and consuming public.
The Public Advocate may employ expert witnesses and pay appropriate compensation and expenses to employ the witnesses. The Public Advocate, as allowed by law, shall authorize and approve related necessary expenses of the Public Advocate. An escrow account shall be instituted by the Chief Financial officer for the payment of the expert witnesses and payment for that account. The escrow account shall be compensated as described in the Borough Land Use Ordinance. Experts shall be taken, when available, from the pool of experts first established by the Borough Council of Paramus and, in the event of conflict, from other approved sources subject to the Borough's usual emoluments.
The Public Advocate shall not appear before the Borough's Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment on any application other than those enumerated herein.
Compensation to the Public Advocate appearing before either the Board of Adjustment or the Planning Board shall be from escrow funds deposited by the applicant.
Litigation shall be paid as provided for in the municipal budget under the Legal Department, and as approved by resolution of the Borough Council.
The term of the Public Advocate shall expire annually on December 31.
The Public Advocate to each such Board may attend each work session, executive session, closed session, and public session of the Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board. The Public Advocate shall be entitled to speak, but not vote, at any such session that he or she attends. The Public Advocate may enter items into the permanent record of such Board upon application and approval of the Chair, and if not approved by the Chair or a majority of the Board, shall be entitled to make an offer of proof for the record, and/or fully describe that for which inclusion is sought. The Public Advocate shall be provided with the calendar for the Board as soon as the same is provisionally complete, a brief summary of the nature of each application (as is presently sent to each member of the applicable Board), the completed file of each applicant, including a copy of the application, survey and/or plans, and copies of all exhibits used, or to be used in connection with any application, subject to the rules of the applicable Board. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to provide the Public Advocate with a duplicate original application, together with all supporting documents, and copies of the exhibits used or to be used. If the Public Advocate shall require the use of a transcript, it shall be at the expense of the applicant and shall be produced electronically if requested, or on paper, and a copy also provided to the Board's Attorney for his or her personal use.
If the Public Advocate is not timely provided with the documentation required by this chapter to be provided by the applicant, the Public Advocate may request, in writing or on oral application, that the matter be carried to the next meeting of the applicable Board, the time therefor to be charged against the applicant. Any additional cost therefor, including review fees by other Borough professionals or appointees, shall be chargeable to the applicant's escrow deposit, and shall be paid by the applicant prior to memorialization of any determination by the Board and/or the granting of any permit authorized by law.
All resolutions of the Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board shall provide that before they shall have effect, all escrow fees and bills, including those of the Public Advocate, shall be paid by the applicant.