Township of Readington, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 8-2-2010 by Ord. No. 23-2010; 4-21-2014 by Ord. No. 08-2014; 5-2-2016 by Ord. No. 06-2016]
A. 
Except as otherwise provided, accessory buildings and/or structures on single-family residential lots shall be permitted in the side or rear yard of each property with a minimum setback equal to a minimum of 1/2 of the side and/or rear setback requirements for the principal structure. In the case of a lot with two front yards, an accessory building may be located in one of the front yards, provided that it is located no closer to the street than the front line of the house or 200 feet, whichever is less.
B. 
Accessory structures and buildings which are 650 square feet or larger located on single-family residential lots shall have a minimum front, side and rear yard setback equal to that required for the principal structure.
C. 
Maximum permitted floor area.
(1) 
The maximum footprint for accessory buildings and structures on single-family residential lots less than six acres in size shall not exceed 90% of the footprint of the principal building/structure of which such building/structure is accessory.
(2) 
Notwithstanding the provisions for existing undersized lots pursuant to § 148-49, accessory structures on single-family residential lots shall comply with the maximum permitted floor area as regulated in § 148-51C(1).
D. 
All farm and agricultural uses, including the growing of crops, nurseries and the raising and training of poultry, small animals and livestock, are permitted everywhere in the Township, subject to additional provisions set forth below:
(1) 
Said use is conducted upon a lot not less than five acres in area, except for the raising of fowl, small animals and livestock for purely personal, educational or recreational purposes, involving no nuisance or menace to the public health and subject to other applicable provisions of this section.
(2) 
No building, run or other enclosure for swine shall be closer to any property line than 200 feet. Not more than one adult swine shall be allowed for each acre contained in the property.
(3) 
No building for the shelter of 1,000 or more fowl of any kind or five or more adult dogs shall be closer to any property line than 200 feet.
(4) 
Buildings used for the shelter of fowl of any kind shall have a maximum usable floor area of 2,000 square feet for the first 10 acres and a maximum of 1,000 additional square feet for each additional acre.
(5) 
In all other cases, no building or enclosure for the shelter or retention of fowl or farm livestock of any kind shall be closer to any property line than 50 feet.
E. 
No accessory building may be located closer to the street than the front line of the house or 200 feet, whichever is closer, except that if erected on a corner lot, the accessory building or structure shall be set back from the side street to comply with the setback line requirements applying to the principal building for that side street.
F. 
Pools and permanent recreational facilities may not be located closer to the street than the front line of the house.
G. 
ECHO housing.
(1) 
ECHO dwellings shall be limited to a total of eight within the Township.
(2) 
ECHO dwellings are permitted only in conjunction with a principal single-family dwelling.
(3) 
Site plan approval is not required for an ECHO dwelling. Application for a permit shall be made to the Zoning Officer.
(4) 
ECHO dwellings are permitted on lots having a minimum lot size of one acre for lots with public sewer and 75,000 square feet for lots without public sewer.
(5) 
ECHO dwellings shall comply with the required minimum setbacks for the principal building.
(6) 
Sufficient capacity to treat wastewater from the ECHO unit, in addition to the principal residence, shall be documented.
(7) 
Sufficient potable water capacity to serve the ECHO unit, in addition to the principal residence, shall be documented.
(8) 
The exterior finish of an ECHO dwelling shall match or complement the appearance of the principal building.
(9) 
After removal of the ECHO dwelling, the land devoted to the use of the ECHO dwelling shall be restored to its original condition.
H. 
No construction permit shall be issued for the construction of an accessory building or structure, other than construction trailers, storage sheds or farm accessory buildings, prior to the issuance of a construction permit for the construction of the main building upon the same premises. If construction of the main building does not precede or coincide with the construction of the accessory building or structure, the Construction Official shall revoke the construction permit for the accessory building or structure until the construction of the main building has proceeded substantially toward completion.
I. 
The maximum height of accessory buildings shall be 25 feet or the height of the principal structure on the lot, whichever is less, unless otherwise specified in Articles IV and V, except that silos and barns for agricultural use associated with an agricultural operation shall have no height limitations.
J. 
A swimming pool shall not be counted as a structure in the F.A.R., but it must adhere to all other space regulations.
A. 
Permitted fences shall not require construction permits unless greater than six feet in height. Fences shall be situated on a lot in such a manner that the finished side of the fence shall face adjacent properties. No fence shall be erected of barbed wire, topped with metal spikes, nor constructed of any material or in any manner which may be dangerous to persons or animals, except that these provisions shall not apply to farms, and except further that permitted fences seven feet in height in nonresidential districts may be topped by a barbed wire protective barrier and except further that requirements of state or federal regulations shall prevail.
[Amended 4-21-2014 by Ord. No. 09-2014]
B. 
On any lot in any district, no wall or fence shall be erected or altered so that said wall or fence shall be over four feet in height in side and front yards and seven feet in height in rear yards with the following provisions and exceptions:
(1) 
A dog run may have fencing a maximum of seven feet in height, provided that such area is located in rear yards only and is set back from any lot line the distance required for accessory buildings in the zoning district as stipulated in Articles IV, V and/or VI.
(2) 
A private residential swimming pool area must be surrounded by a fence at least four feet, but no more than seven feet in height. Swimming pool areas shall be located in rear and side yards only. See § 148-58 for additional standards.
(3) 
A tennis court area, located in rear yards only, may be surrounded by a wire fence a maximum of 15 feet in height; said fence to be set back from any lot line the distance required for accessory buildings in the zoning district as stipulated in Article IV or § 148-51.
(4) 
No fence, wall or hedge may be placed within 50 feet of any intersection of street right-of-way lines or within any specified sight triangle easement.
(5) 
Shielding of mechanical equipment adjacent to a residential district shall be provided only by a surrounding masonry wall for sound deadening, whether on the roof or ground. Other mechanical equipment shall be screened from view by a surrounding wall of the same material or class of material as the walls of the main building.
(6) 
Deer fencing shall not exceed eight feet in height. Deer fences may be located within side and rear yards but may not be located closer to a public street than the front exterior wall of a principal building that is closest to said street. However, where a public street is not improved, a deer fence may be located within the front yard without reference to the location of a principal building.
[Added 4-21-2014 by Ord. No. 09-2014]
A. 
Requirements for all home occupations.
(1) 
Home occupations shall be contained within the principal dwelling structure of a single-family detached home.
(2) 
The following uses shall be prohibited as home occupations: welding, autobody repair, automobile repair, lawnmower/engine repair, boats/recreational vehicle repair, retail sales, kennels, veterinary office, dental and medical offices and real estate offices and any business or occupation requiring outside storing or parking of equipment.
(3) 
The home occupation shall be clearly incidental and subordinate to its use for residential purposes by its occupants.
(4) 
The residential character of the lot and building shall not be changed; no occupational sounds shall be audible outside the building; and no equipment shall be used which will cause interference with radio or television reception in neighboring residences.
(5) 
There shall be no exterior evidence of the home occupations. No merchandise, products, waste, equipment or similar material or objects shall be displayed, stored or otherwise located outdoors except as permitted by this chapter.
(6) 
The home occupation shall be limited to owner-occupied residences only.
B. 
Home occupations that exhibit all of the following shall not require site plan or conditional use approval:
(1) 
No person other than one member of the household residing on the premises shall be engaged in the occupation;
(2) 
The use of the property for the home occupations shall be clearly subordinate and ancillary to its use for residential purposes by its occupants and no area of the residence shall be dedicated solely for or used in the conduct of the home occupation;
(3) 
No goods, materials, equipment, supplies or other items of any kind shall be delivered to or from the subject property in connection with the home occupation except in the passenger automobile of the home occupation proprietor; and
(4) 
No clients, patrons, customers or other persons shall be permitted on the property in regards to the home occupations.
C. 
Home occupations that exhibit one or more of the following shall require minor site plan approval:
(1) 
No person other than one or two members of the household owning and residing in the premises shall be engaged in the occupation;
(2) 
The use of the property for the home occupations shall be clearly subordinate and ancillary to its use for residential purposes by its occupants. Up to 200 square feet of the principal dwelling unit may be dedicated solely for the conduct of the home occupation;
(3) 
No goods, materials, equipment, supplies or other items of any kind shall be delivered to or from the subject property in connection with the home occupation except in the passenger automobile of the home occupation proprietor or two-axle, four-wheel delivery service vehicles; and
(4) 
Clients, patrons, customers or other persons shall be permitted on the property in regards to the home occupation, provided that such visitation shall not create the need to park more than two vehicles at any time in addition to those ordinarily used by the residents of the home and said additional two vehicles shall be limited to passenger automobiles and must be parked off-street.
D. 
Home occupations that exhibit one or more of the following shall require site plan and conditional use approval:
(1) 
No person other than members of the household residing on the premises plus no more than one nonhousehold employee shall be engaged in the home occupation on the property.
(2) 
The use of the property for the home occupation shall be clearly subordinate and ancillary to its use for residential purposes by its occupants and shall not occupy more than 25% of the net habitable floor area of the primary residential structure on the property or 1,000 square feet, whichever is less.
(3) 
One unlighted nameplate identifying the home occupation, not exceeding one square foot in area, either attached to the residence or attached to a lamppost set back at least 15 feet from all street and property lines or attached to the mailbox post. All such signs shall be of professional quality.
(4) 
The home occupation shall not necessitate the need to park than two vehicles at any time in addition to those ordinarily used by the residents of the home, and said additional two vehicles shall be limited to passenger automobiles and must be parked off-street and screened from view from neighboring properties and the street.
E. 
Any business or occupation conducted in or from a single-family detached dwelling which does not meet the specific requirements hereinabove is not a home occupation.
A. 
Lots.
(1) 
Whenever the owner of a lot existing at the time of adoption of this chapter has dedicated or conveyed land to the Township in order to meet the minimum street width requirements of the Official Map or Master Plan of the Township, the Construction Official shall issue construction and occupancy permits for lots whose depth and/or areas are rendered substandard only because of such dedication and where the owner has no other adjacent lands to provide the minimum requirements.
(2) 
Any existing single-family detached dwelling as of enactment of this chapter may be expanded, renovated and repaired without violating this chapter or requiring a variance even though such existing single-family detached dwelling shall be situated on a lot which does not meet the applicable lot area or lot width requirements or both such requirements. Any additions to the existing structure that violates a setback requirement may be constructed to continue the existing building setback but shall not be permitted to encroach further into the required setback than the existing structure.
(3) 
Any vacant lot legally existing at the time of adoption of this chapter, whose area or dimensions do not meet the requirements of the district in which the lot is located, may have a construction permit issued for a single-family detached dwelling and its permitted accessory structure without an appeal for a variance relief and shall be considered conforming, provided that single-family detached dwellings are a permitted use in that district; the building coverage limit is not exceeded; parking requirements are met; the yard provisions are reduced by the same percentage that the area of such lot bears to the zone requirements, except that no side yard shall be less than 10 feet or front yard less than 25 feet.
B. 
Structures and uses.
(1) 
Any legally preexisting nonconforming use or structure existing at the time of the passage of this chapter may be continued upon the lot or in the structure so occupied and any such structure may be repaired in the event of partial destruction thereof, provided that no more than 60% of said structure is destroyed.
(2) 
Repairs and maintenance work required to keep a structure in sound condition may be made to a nonconforming structure or structure containing a nonconforming use. However, no such structure shall be enlarged, extended, constructed, reconstructed or structurally altered in any manner and no nonconforming use shall be changed or increased without an appeal for variance relief. A nonconforming use, if changed to a conforming use or more nearly conforming use, reduced in intensity or abandoned, shall not thereafter be changed back to any nonconforming use or restored to its original status.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection B(3), regarding abandonment of nonconforming uses and structures, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 18-2014.
One registered commercial vehicle of a rated capacity not exceeding seven feet high, eight feet wide and 22 feet long, owned or used by a resident of the premises, shall be permitted to be regularly parked or garaged on a lot in any residential district, provided that said vehicle is parked in a side or rear yard area, which area is screened from neighboring properties by plantings at least five feet in height. For purposes of this chapter, a commercial vehicle shall include vehicles containing advertising matter intending to promote the interest of any business, whether or not said vehicle is registered as a commercial vehicle with the New Jersey State Division of Motor Vehicles. One Readington Township school bus shall be permitted; all other buses shall be prohibited. Farms and construction sites shall be exempted from this provision.
Travel trailers and campers may be parked or stored in rear and side yards only. Their dimensions shall not be counted in determining building coverage and they shall not be used for temporary or permanent living quarters while situated on the lot.
[Amended 2-19-2002 by Ord. No. 2-2002]
Unless otherwise specified in this chapter such as ECHO housing, no more than one principal use, dwelling or building shall be permitted on one lot.
A. 
No private residential swimming pool shall be constructed or installed on any lot unless the lot contains a residence building. Pools shall occupy no more than 75% of the rear and/or side yard area(s) in which it is located and shall be located no closer to any lot line than the setback distance specified for accessory structures in Articles IV, V and VI as the case may be.
B. 
A private residential swimming pool area must be enclosed by a suitable fence at least four feet in height but no more than seven feet in height, with a self-closing and self-latching gate, and all latches and handles shall be a minimum of four feet above the ground or on the inside of the fence or in accordance with BOCA requirements, whichever is more restrictive.
C. 
No commercial swimming pool shall be constructed or installed unless approved by the Board as part of a site plan approval. Commercial swimming pools shall be classified into types in accordance with their particular use and shall meet the appropriate design standards as set forth by the National Swimming Pool Institute or BOCA Building Code, whichever is more stringent.
D. 
A swimming pool, whether permanent or temporary, shall not be counted as a structure in the F.A.R. but it must adhere to all other requirements for accessory structures.
E. 
Please see the Readington Township Swimming Pool Ordinance for additional regulations.
[Added 4-20-1998 by Ord. No. 9-98; amended 10-4-1999 by Ord. No. 24-99]
A. 
In its preparation of the set-aside of common open space and the purposes proposed for its use, the developer shall be guided by the recommendations contained within the Township Master Plan prepared by the Planning Board. High priority concerns include:
(1) 
The location and construction of adequate recreational facilities throughout the Township;
(2) 
The conservation of stream rambles throughout the Township for passive recreational use;
(3) 
The protection of environmentally fragile and important resource land area including aquatic buffer areas, one-hundred-year floodplains, wetlands and wooded acreage;
(4) 
The preservation at agriculture and prime agricultural lands and the consolidation of large contiguous agricultural tracts;
(5) 
The common open space shall include relatively large contiguous land areas for open space and/or recreational purposes, as appropriate for the particular development, and additional common open space shall be distributed throughout the development so that as many residential lots as is practicable have direct pedestrian access to the relatively large, contiguous land area;
(6) 
The common open space shall include a minimum buffer area of 50 feet along any tract boundary line, planted with suitable evergreen screening four feet high, eight feet on center in a staggered row.
(7) 
The Planning Board shall review the submitted common open space plan in the context of the particular development proposal, the particular characteristics of the subject land area and the ability, desirability and practicality of relating the proposed open space to adjacent and nearby lands. In any case, the lands shall be improved as may be necessary to best suit the purpose(s) for which they are intended.
B. 
Should the proposed development consist of a number of stages, the Planning Board may require that acreage proportionate in size to the stage being considered for final approval be set aside simultaneously with the granting of final approval for that particular stage, even though these lands may be located in a different section of the overall development.
C. 
Common open space may be deeded to the Township, another governmental agency or dedicated to an open space organization, with incorporation and bylaws to be approved by the Planning Board. If common open space is not dedicated and accepted by the Township or another governmental agency, the landowner shall provide for and establish an open space organization for the ownership and maintenance of the common open space. Such organization shall not be dissolved, nor shall it dispose of any common open space by sale or otherwise.
[Amended 9-5-2006 by Ord. No. 30-2006]
(1) 
If the applicant proposes that the common open space shall be dedicated to the Township, then the Planning Board shall forward such request with its recommendation to the Township Committee prior to the granting of preliminary plan approval of any development application containing common open space.
(2) 
All lands not offered to and/or not accepted by the Township shall be owned and maintained by an open space organization as provided in N.J.S.A. 40:55D-43 and stipulated herein.
(3) 
The applicant/developer shall notify the Township Committee at the time 50% of the units have sold; at such time, the homeowners' association/open space organization takes over the responsibility of maintaining the open space and commonly owned facilities.
D. 
In the event that the organization created for common open space management shall fail to maintain any open space or recreation area in a reasonable order and condition in accordance with the approved site plan, the Township may serve notice upon such organization or upon the owners of the development, setting forth the manner in which the organization has failed to maintain such areas in reasonable conditions and said notice shall include a demand that such deficiencies of maintenance be cured within 35 days thereof and shall set the date and place of a hearing thereon which shall be held within 15 days of the notice. At such hearing, the Township may modify the terms of the original notice as to the deficiencies and may give an extension of time not to exceed 65 days in which the deficiencies shall be cured.
(1) 
If the deficiencies set forth in the original notice or in modifications thereof shall not be cured within said 35 days or any extension thereof, the Township, in order to preserve the common open space and maintain the same for a period of one year, may enter upon and maintain such land. Said entry and said maintenance shall not vest in the public any rights to use the open space and recreation areas except when the same is voluntarily dedicated to public by the owners.
(2) 
Before the expiration of said one year, the Township shall, upon its initiative or upon the request of the organization theretofore responsible for the maintenance of said areas, call a public hearing upon 15 days' written notice to such organization and to the owners of the development, to be held by the Township, at which hearing such organization and owners of the development shall show cause why such maintenance by the municipality shall not, at the election of the Township, continue for a succeeding year. If the Township shall determine that such organization is ready and able to maintain such open space and recreation areas in reasonable condition, the Township shall cease to maintain such open space and recreation areas at the end of said year. If the Township shall determine such organization is not ready and able to maintain said open space and recreational areas in a reasonable condition, the Township may, in its discretion, continue to maintain said open space and recreation areas during the next succeeding year. Each year thereafter the Township may hold similar public hearings to determine whether the organization is ready and able to maintain the open space and recreation areas. The decision of the Township in any case shall constitute a final administrative decision subject to judicial review.
(3) 
The cost of such maintenance by the Township shall be assessed pro rata against the properties within the development that have a right of enjoyment of the open space in accordance with the assessed value at the time of imposition of the lien and shall become a lien and tax on said properties and be added to and be a part of the taxes to be levied and assessed thereon and enforced and collected with interest by the Township in the same manner as other taxes.
(4) 
Any open space organization initially created by the developer shall clearly describe in its bylaws the rights and obligations of the homeowners and tenants in the residential development and the articles of incorporation of the organization shall be submitted for review by the Planning Board prior to the granting of final approval by the Township.
[Amended 9-5-2006 by Ord. No. 30-2006]
[Added 10-21-1996 by Ord. No. 16-96; amended 4-20-1998 by Ord. No. 9-98]
A. 
In the case of any open space to be dedicated for farmland, passive, active recreational or other uses as part of an application for development, the developer shall be required to demarcate the boundary lines of the property to be dedicated for the open space and the nonopen space property.
B. 
The type of demarcation to be provided by the developer shall be determined by the Planning Board on a site-by-site basis. Such demarcation may consist of signage, fencing, monuments or vegetation as appropriate for the particular parcel in question.
C. 
Method of demarcation.
(1) 
If signage is chosen as the method of demarcation on open space to be dedicated to the Township, the sign shall state that it is being installed on the open space for the purpose of preventing trespass onto private property and prohibiting the use of motorized vehicles on the open space (in the case of open space for passive recreational and/or farmland purposes), except for those which are expressly needed for farming or Township uses.
(2) 
If signage is chosen as the method of demarcation on open space which shall be non-Township-owned, the sign shall state that it is being installed on the open space for the purpose of preventing trespass onto privately held open space.
D. 
Signage shall also specify that violation of this chapter may result in prosecution for criminal trespass under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3, 2C:18-4 and 2C:18-5 and any other applicable laws, statutes, ordinances and/or amendments thereto and the imposition of fines and/or penalties permitted by state law under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3, 2C:18-6 and any other applicable laws, statutes, ordinances and/or amendments thereto.
E. 
Areas shall be marked in locations on the open space parcel in accordance with the terms of the Planning Board approval. Additional locations may be required if determined to be appropriate by the Township Engineer for the particular parcel in question. If signs are erected, they shall face both the private and public holdings and shall either contain the wording attached hereto as Schedule A, which shall be the wording designated for signage on open space to be dedicated to the Township, or the wording on Schedule B attached hereto, which shall be the signage designated for open space to be owned by all others.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Schedules A and B are located at the end of this chapter.
F. 
The sign print shall be red lettering on a white background and the lettering shall be at least one inch in height. The signs shall be 18 inches by 24 inches or of an appropriate dimension to accommodate the height of the lettering. The sign shall be placed five feet off the ground, measuring from the ground to the bottom of the sign. The Planning Board shall have the ability to specify the composition of the signs, whether of permanent or temporary materials, or both, subject to specific site conditions.
G. 
The developer of the project shall be responsible for the cost, physical installation and maintenance, until the maintenance period is satisfied, of the signage, fencing, vegetation or other demarcation, and the cost of same may be incorporated in any bonds to be posted with the Township.
H. 
Once open space which is to be dedicated to the Township has been accepted by the Township and the maintenance period has been satisfied, the Township shall be responsible for maintenance of fencing, signage or other monumentation installed. However, if the open space is to be held in private ownership, then the private owner of the open space shall be responsible for such maintenance.
I. 
The intent of this chapter is to provide for the demarcation of all open space to be dedicated to the Township or to others, as part of an application for development. In the event any zoning ordinance sections regarding open space have not been specifically delineated, it shall be understood that the provisions of this chapter are also applicable to those sections.
J. 
The demarcation of open space under this chapter shall be noted on the developer's final plat. In addition, a notice shall be placed in all deeds for individual lots in the subdivision which are adjacent to open space to be dedicated to the Township or to another party (as applicable). The notice shall state that the property abuts open space dedicated or to be dedicated to the Township of Readington or to another party (as applicable) and that the line of open space shall be demarcated in accordance with the terms of the developer's subdivision approval and any and all applicable Township Zoning Ordinances or amendments thereto.
K. 
Nothing shall prevent the Township from installing signs, fencing or other forms of demarcation on open space which it already owns or has previously accepted for dedication.
[Added 8-2-2010 by Ord. No. 22-2010]
A. 
Maximum change in elevation: Except as provided for herein, changes in the elevation of existing land at any point shall not exceed two vertical feet.
B. 
Maximum percentage of lot area for topographic change: Except as provided for herein, no more than 35% of a lot/tract area may have topographic changes.
C. 
Topographic modification setback: Except as provided for herein, no changes in the elevation of existing land shall be permitted immediately adjacent to a property line, street right-of-way or tract boundary and shall only be conducted in accordance with the following schedule of required setback distances determined by lot size:
Topographic Modification Setbacks
Lot/Tract Size
(square feet)
Less than 43,560
43,560 to less than 108,900
108,900 to less than 217,800
217,800 to less than 435,600
Greater than 435,600
Minimum Setback
(feet)
5
10
15
20
25
D. 
Maximum slope transition: A maximum slope of 20% is permitted within 10 feet of a required minimum topographic modification setback, as measured to the interior of a property.
E. 
Retaining walls in setbacks: Retaining walls shall not be located within the topographic modification setback or the twenty-percent/ten-foot-wide slope transition adjacent to the topographic modification setback.
F. 
Retaining wall offset: A minimum offset of 10 feet shall be required between the exposed face of retaining walls (such as in a terrace development). Land between retaining walls shall be planted. The slope of land between retaining walls shall not exceed 10%.
G. 
Retaining walls at stormwater basins: Retaining walls shall not be utilized in the construction of stormwater basins.
H. 
Exemptions:
(1) 
The agricultural use of land.
(2) 
The use of land for gardening primarily for home consumption.
(3) 
The construction of a swimming pool, patio or deck on a lot occupied and used as a single-family dwelling.
(4) 
Landscape design on a lot occupied and used as a single-family dwelling.
(5) 
Activity that is part of a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) remediation project.
(6) 
Any activity that is part of a septic system repair, replacement and/or removal project that is not otherwise subject to site plan or subdivision approval.
(7) 
Vehicular access to a lot, site or tract that represents the minimum number of access points and the minimum size/scale of access in order to ensure compliance with Soil Conservation District requirements and minimum sight distance requirements as determined by the Township or Board Engineer.
[Added 10-1-2012 by Ord. No. 21-2012; 3-17-2014 by Ord. No. 04-2014; 8-6-2018 by Ord. No. 11-2018]
A. 
The purpose of this section is to permit renewable energy facilities in appropriate locations in the Township in a way that is consistent with duly enacted state legislation to facilitate alternative forms of energy production and to minimize potential land use conflicts and impacts associated with such facilities. This section is intended to accomplish the foregoing while also:
(1) 
Retaining prime agricultural soils for agricultural use by avoiding locating such facilities on lands within the Agricultural Development Area (ADA) and lands with significant areas of prime farmland soils and soils of statewide importance;
(2) 
Preserving the industry of agriculture and character of agricultural lands and districts by avoiding locating such facilities on lands adjacent to or across a public road from permanently preserved farmland;
(3) 
Preserving areas with an established rural, scenic or historic character by avoiding locating such facilities on land within areas of rural, scenic or historic character, particularly on land that is exposed to public view and where, by reason of topography or other natural features, the facility cannot be effectively screened from view;
(4) 
Protecting the quality of life in residential districts by avoiding the placement of accessory and principal renewable energy facilities in locations where they would be visible from adjacent residential uses and areas;
(5) 
Providing standards for buffering and visual screening of renewable energy facilities to protect surrounding properties from degradation of visual character and to mitigate the negative visual impacts of renewable energy facilities; and
(6) 
Providing for proper decommissioning and land restoration of the renewable energy facility after its useful life.
B. 
Building-mounted solar energy facilities shall meet the following requirements:
(1) 
The facility's maximum offset/height above a roof plane upon which it is mounted shall be 12 inches, unless it is visually screened by another architectural element, such as a parapet.
(2) 
The facility shall not exceed the applicable (principal or accessory) maximum permitted building height.
(3) 
Facilities on property located within local or state/national historic districts shall not be mounted on roofs or exterior building elevations that face public streets.
C. 
Ground-mounted solar energy facilities shall meet the following requirements:
(1) 
The facility shall not be located in a stream corridor, wetland transition area or areas with slopes of 15% or greater.
(2) 
The maximum height of the facility shall be eight feet.
(3) 
The facility shall not be located in a front yard (between the front facade of the principal building and a street).
(4) 
The facility shall conform to the minimum required side and rear yard setbacks for accessory buildings.
(5) 
The site shall meet the buffer standards of the zone district in which the facility is located and those in § 148-63, Buffers. Additionally, the site shall meet the standards in § 148-66, Landscaping.
(6) 
The facility shall provide one or more of the following beneath the structures: lawn, meadow grasses or an agricultural area for crops or grazing farm animals. Meadow grass plantings shall include wildflowers in addition to appropriate grass species.
(7) 
Where the prior use of a facility site consists of agriculture, the facility shall be installed such that it can be returned to active agricultural production after the useful life and removal of the facility. As such, site disturbance, including but not limited to grading, cut and fill, excavation, and soil compaction, shall be minimized; soil removal is prohibited.
(8) 
Ground-mounted solar energy facilities that are not accessory to a single-family or two-family residential use shall require major site plan approval and shall submit the following as part of the documentation for site plan approval:
(a) 
Location of proposed and existing underground or overhead utility or transmission lines.
(b) 
Location of any proposed or existing substations, inverters or transformers.
(c) 
Description of any necessary upgrades or modifications to existing substations and utility lines, both on and off site.
(d) 
Description of any new substations and utility lines, both on and off site.
(e) 
Description of how the energy generated by the facility will be connected to the electrical distribution or transmission facility or the electrical facility of the intended energy user.
(f) 
Location of existing hedgerows and vegetated windbreaks. Trees on the site that have a six-inch dbh or greater shall be identified by species and overall condition. An accurate canopy depiction shall be included.
(g) 
Photographic simulations of the views of the proposed facility from ground level from all public roads abutting the property and from adjacent residential uses.
(h) 
Maintenance plan which describes the applicant's approach to maintaining the facility after construction, including the panels and associated supporting structures, as well as the property on which the facility is installed.
(i) 
A decommissioning plan, pursuant to § 148-60.2H.
(j) 
For all farm-scale renewable energy facilities site plan applications, sufficient documentation shall be provided to demonstrate to the approving authority that the requirements of the New Jersey State Agricultural Development Committee's Agricultural Management Practice for the Construction, Installation, Operation or Maintenance of Solar Energy Generation Facilities, Structures and Equipment on Commercial Farms are met.
D. 
Solar parking canopy facilities require major site plan approval and shall meet the following requirements:
(1) 
The horizontal area occupied by the facility shall be measured by the aggregate of all facilities constructed on a lot, including space between panels, excluding transmission lines and subterranean elements. (See diagram entitled "Area Measurement of Solar Facilities.")[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Said diagram is included as an attachment to this chapter.
(2) 
The horizontal area occupied by the facility shall contribute toward floor area and shall be included in the calculation of total floor area ratio. (See diagram entitled "Area Measurement of Solar Facilities.")
(3) 
The maximum permitted height of the facility shall be 20 feet.
(4) 
The facility shall not be located in a front yard (not located between the front facade of a principal building and a street).
(5) 
The facility shall conform to the minimum required side and rear yard setbacks for principal buildings in the zone in which it is located.
(6) 
The installation of the canopy shall not result in a reduction in the minimum required dimensions of parking stalls.
(7) 
The facility shall meet the lighting and landscape standards of the Land Development Code, with the exception of § 148-70A(3).
(8) 
Solar parking canopies shall submit the following as part of the documentation for major site plan approval:
(a) 
Location of proposed and existing underground or overhead utility or transmission lines.
(b) 
Location of any proposed or existing substations, inverters or transformers.
(c) 
Description of any necessary upgrades or modifications to existing substations and utility lines, both on and off site.
(d) 
Description of any new substations and utility lines, both on and off site.
(e) 
Description of how the energy generated by the facility will be connected to the electrical distribution or transmission facility or the electrical facility of the intended energy user.
(f) 
Photographic simulations of the views of the proposed facility from ground level from all public roads abutting the property and from adjacent residential users.
(g) 
Maintenance plan which describes the applicant's approach to maintaining the facility after construction, including the panels and associated supporting structures, as well as the property on which the facility is installed.
(h) 
A decommissioning plan, pursuant to § 148-60.2H.
E. 
Additional standards for all solar energy facilities.
(1) 
Sound-pressure levels generated by facilities at a property line shall not exceed 40 dba.
(2) 
Solar panels shall not be counted in the calculation of maximum impervious cover unless the area under the panels (excluding any footings) consists of an impervious material. The design of the facilities shall comply with all New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Township stormwater, grading and soil disturbance regulations, whichever is more restrictive.
(3) 
The use of concrete, asphalt or other impervious surface, including gravel, is prohibited on the site of ground-mounted facilities, except in the following locations:
(a) 
The mounting of inverters, transformers, power conditioning units, control boxes, pumps and other such facility components;
(b) 
The mounting of solar panels, films and arrays when used as ballast;
(c) 
Driveway aprons; and
(d) 
Portions of roads and driveways where necessary to provide stability for vehicles.
(4) 
All electrical and control equipment shall be labeled and secured to prevent unauthorized access.
(5) 
Transmission lines shall be underground.
(6) 
The only signs permitted on a solar energy facility or any associated building or structure are those depicting the manufacturer's or installer's identification, or appropriate warning signs, or owner identification.
F. 
Wind energy facilities.
(1) 
The minimum lot area upon which a wind energy facility is located shall be 20 acres.
(2) 
Sound-pressure levels at a property line shall not exceed 40 dba.
(3) 
Height of a wind energy facility shall be measured by the vertical distance from the ground to the tip of a wind generator blade when the tip is at its highest point.
(4) 
The maximum permitted height of the facility shall be the maximum permitted building height in the zone district in which it is located.
(5) 
The facility shall be set back from all property lines and utility lines a horizontal distance equal to 150% of the facility height. However, the minimum setback to a residential use or zone shall be 300 feet.
(6) 
Electrical distribution equipment (excluding switchgear stations) shall be set back a minimum of 150 feet, or not less than 200 feet from a residential use or district.
(7) 
Electrical distribution equipment shall be enclosed and secured with a fence or wall.
(8) 
Facilities shall not be located within a front yard.
(9) 
No portion of the wind generator shall extend into any public right-of-way, unless written permission is granted by the government entity with jurisdiction over the right-of-way, or any overhead utility lines, unless written permission is granted by the utility that owns and/or controls the lines.
(10) 
The facility shall be designed and installed so as not to provide step bolts, a ladder, or other publicly accessible means of climbing the tower, for a minimum height of eight feet above the ground.
(11) 
All electrical and control equipment shall be labeled and secured to prevent unauthorized access.
(12) 
The only signs permitted on a facility or any associated building or structure are those depicting the manufacturer's or installer's identification, appropriate warning signs, or owner identification.
(13) 
Transmission lines shall be underground.
(14) 
Visual screening of the site shall include an opaque fence or wall with a minimum height of six feet and a fifty-foot screening buffer pursuant to § 148-63.
(15) 
There shall be no increase in illumination levels at property lines and no visible light source from adjacent properties or public streets/rights-of-way, except for security/emergency lighting.
(16) 
Lighting of the wind generators shall be prohibited unless such lighting is required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
(17) 
The facility shall be a neutral color that is appropriate for its location and will allow the tower to be as unobtrusive as possible, unless otherwise required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
(18) 
Facilities shall comply with the applicable Federal Aviation Administration regulations and must receive any necessary Federal Aviation Administration permits.
(19) 
Facilities shall comply with the applicable Department of Environmental Protection regulations and must receive any necessary permits from the Department of Environmental Protection.
(20) 
Wind energy facilities shall require major site plan approval and shall submit the following as part of the documentation for site plan approval:
(a) 
Location of proposed and existing underground or overhead utility or transmission lines.
(b) 
Location of any proposed or existing substations, inverters or transformers.
(c) 
Description of any necessary upgrades or modifications to existing substations and utility lines, both on and off site.
(d) 
Description of any new substations and utility lines, both on and off site.
(e) 
Description of how the energy generated by the facility will be connected to the electrical distribution or transmission facility or the electrical facility of the intended energy user.
(f) 
Photographic simulations of the views of the proposed facility from ground level from all public roads abutting the property and from adjacent residential uses.
(g) 
Maintenance plan which describes the applicant's approach to maintaining the facility after construction, including the wind generator and associated supporting structures, as well as the property on which the facility is installed.
(h) 
A decommissioning plan, pursuant to § 148-60.2H.
G. 
Abandonment. A renewable energy facility that is out-of-service for a continuous eighteen-month period shall be deemed to have been abandoned.
(1) 
The Township may issue a notice of abandonment to the owner of a renewable energy facility that is deemed to have been abandoned. The notice shall be sent return receipt requested.
(2) 
The owner shall have the right to respond to the notice of abandonment within 30 days from notice receipt date.
(3) 
If the owner provides information that demonstrates the renewable energy facility has not been abandoned, the Township shall withdraw the notice of abandonment and notify the owner that the notice has been withdrawn.
(4) 
If the Township determines that the renewable energy facility has been abandoned, the owner of the renewable energy facility shall remove the renewable energy facility and properly dispose of the components at the owner's sole expense within six months after the owner receives the notice of abandonment.
(5) 
In the event that the owner fails to remove the renewable energy facility, the Township or its employees or contractors may enter the property to remove the renewable energy facility (but shall not be obligated to remove same); and in the event that the Township performs the removal, all costs of such removal shall be reimbursed to the Township by the owner. In the event the owner fails to reimburse the Township, the Township may place a lien on the property in the amount of the costs of said removal; and in the event that the Township incurs any additional costs in enforcing the lien or collecting the money owed, the owner shall be obligated to reimburse the Township for the additional costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees.
H. 
Decommissioning plan. All applications for accessory ground-mounted or stand-alone renewable energy facilities shall be accompanied by a decommissioning plan to be implemented upon abandonment in conjunction with removal of the facility. Before beginning any decommissioning activities, the applicant shall submit a performance bond, in a form and amount satisfactory to the Township Attorney, which shall be based upon an estimate approved by the Township Engineer assuring the availability of adequate funds to restore the site to a useful nonhazardous condition in accordance with the decommissioning plan. The plan shall include the following provisions:
(1) 
Deactivate, disconnect and remove all structures, unless otherwise noted herein.
(2) 
Restore the surface grade and soil after removal of aboveground structures and equipment, including but not limited to removal of all components of the facility within the top 12 inches of the soil profile.
(3) 
Soil replacement, as necessary, within the top 12 inches of the soil profile shall be comprised of topsoil meeting the texture of loam as described in the USDA soil classification system, and the pH shall be in the range of 6.5-7. Tests shall be reviewed and approved by the Township.
(4) 
All land shall be decompacted where necessary to promote healthy plant growth prior to installation of topsoil and vegetation, subject to approval of the Township. Tests are to be reviewed and approved by the Township.
(5) 
Restoration of soil areas with native grasses, agricultural crops or plant species suitable to the area and which do not include any invasive species;
(6) 
Provide quantities take-offs, unit prices and overall cost estimates for decommissioning in current dollars as well as projections for 15 years and 25 years.
(7) 
The plan may provide for restoration of agricultural crops or forest resource land.
(8) 
The plan may provide for the retention of access roads, fences, gates, buildings and buffer plantings at the discretion of the Township.
(9) 
If the property owner fails to remove the facility and restore the facility in accordance with the decommissioning plan, the Township may perform in place of the owner. All costs incurred by the Township in connection with same shall be a first-priority lien enforceable pursuant to municipal tax lien statutes.