Township of Bernards, NJ
Somerset County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. #585,§ 303A]
No member or alternate member of the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment shall act on any matter in which he has, either directly or indirectly, any personal or financial interest. Whenever any such member shall disqualify himself from acting on a particular matter, he shall not continue to sit with the Board on the hearing of such matter nor participate in any discussion relating thereto.
[Ord. #585, § 303B; Ord. #700, § 9]
a. 
Meetings of both the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be scheduled no less often than once a month and any meeting so scheduled shall be held as scheduled unless canceled for lack of applications for development to process.
b. 
Special meetings may be provided for at the call of the Chairman or on the request of any two Board members, and such meeting shall be held on notice to its members and the public in accordance with all applicable legal requirements.
c. 
No action shall be taken at any meeting without a quorum being present.
d. 
All actions shall be taken by a majority vote of the members of the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment present except as otherwise provided in this chapter or in the Municipal Land Use Law (P.L. 1975, c. 291), as amended. Failure of a motion to receive the number of votes required to approve an application for development pursuant to the exceptional vote requirements of this chapter or of Section 25 or Subsection 57d of the Municipal Land Use Law (P.L. 1975, c. 291), as amended, shall be deemed an action denying the application.
e. 
All regular meetings and all special meetings shall be open to the public and notice of all such meetings shall be given in accordance with and conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Law.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq.
[Ord. #585, § 303C]
Minutes of every regular or special meeting shall be kept and shall include the names of the persons appearing and addressing the Board and of the persons appearing by Attorney, the action taken by the Board, the findings, if any, made by it and reasons therefor. The minutes shall thereafter be made available for public inspection during normal business hours at the office of the Township Clerk. Any interested party shall have the right to compel production of the minutes for use as evidence in any legal proceeding concerning the subject matter of such minutes. Such interested party may be charged a fee for reproduction of the minutes for his use as provided for in the rules of the Board.
[Ord. #585, § 303D]
Fees for the rendering of any service by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment or any member of their administrative staffs which is not otherwise provided by this chapter may be provided for and adopted as part of the rules of the Board, and copies of the rules or of the separate fee schedule shall be available to the public.
[Ord. #585, § 303E]
a. 
Rules. A hearing shall be held on each application for development. The Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment, as the case may be, shall make the rules governing the conduct of such hearings.
b. 
Maps and Documents. Any maps and documents for which approval is sought at a hearing shall be on file and available for public inspection at least 10 days before the date of the hearing during normal business hours in the office of the Board Secretary. The applicant may produce other documents, records or testimony at the hearing to substantiate or clarify or supplement the previously filed maps and documents.
[Ord. #1429, 5-29-2001, amended]
c. 
Oaths. The officer presiding at the hearing or such person as he may designate shall have power to administer oaths and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant evidence, including witnesses and documents presented by the parties, and the provisions of the County and Municipal Investigations Law[1] shall apply.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 2A:67A-4 et seq.
d. 
Testimony. The testimony of all witnesses relating to an application for development shall be taken under oath or affirmation by the presiding officer and the right of cross examination shall be permitted to all interested parties through their Attorneys, if represented or directly, if not represented, subject to the discretion of the presiding officer and to reasonable limitations as to time and number of witnesses.
e. 
Evidence. Technical rules of evidence shall not be applicable to the hearing but the Board may exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence.
f. 
Records. Each Board shall provide for the verbatim recording of the proceedings by either stenographer, mechanical or electronic means. The Board shall furnish a transcript or duplicate recording in lieu thereof on request to any interested party at the party's expense, provided that the charge shall not be more than the maximum permitted in N.J.S.A. 2A:11-15. The transcript shall be certified in writing by the transcriber to be accurate.
[Ord. #585, § 303F; Ord. #849; Ord. #1041, §§ 1, 2; Ord. #1103, § 4]
a. 
Public notice of a hearing shall be given for the following applications for development:
1. 
Any request for a variance from the requirements of Article IV or any request for an exception from the regulations of Article V;
2. 
Any request for conditional use approval;
3. 
Any request for the issuance of a permit to build within the bed of a mapped street, public drainageway, flood control basin or public area reserved on the official map, or on a lot not abutting a street.
4. 
Any request for preliminary approval of a development plan with the exception of a minor subdivision not involving Paragraph a1 through 3 above. Public notice and public hearing shall not be required for such minor subdivision applications.
[Ord. #1429, 5-29-2001, amended]
5. 
Any request for final approval of a development plan for which public notice of the hearing on the final development plan has been made a condition of the preliminary approval.
b. 
The Secretary of the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment, as the case may be, shall notify the applicant at least two weeks prior to the public hearing at which the application will be discussed.
c. 
Whenever public notice is required for a hearing on an application for development, the applicant shall give notice thereof as follows:
1. 
Public notice shall be given by publication in the official newspaper of the municipality at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing.
2. 
Notice shall be given to the owners of all real property as shown on the current tax duplicate or duplicates located within 200 feet in all directions of the property which is the subject of such hearing, whether located within or outside of the municipality in which the applicant's land is located, provided that this requirement shall be deemed satisfied by notice to the condominium association, in the case of any unit owner whose unit has a unit above or below it, or to the horizontal property regime, in the case of any co-owner whose apartment has an apartment above or below it. Such notice shall be given by serving a copy thereof on the owner as shown on the current tax duplicate or his agent in charge of the property or mailing a copy thereof by certified mail to the property owner at his address as shown on the current tax duplicate. A return receipt is not required.
Notice to a partnership owner may be made by service upon any partner. Notice to a corporation owner may be made by service upon its president, vice president, secretary or other person authorized by appointment or by law to accept service on behalf of the corporation. Notice to a condominium association, horizontal property regime, community trust or homeowners' association, because of its ownership of common elements or areas located within 200 feet of the property which is the subject of the hearing, may be made in the same manner as to a corporation without further notice to the unit owners, co-owners or homeowners on account of such common elements or areas.
Notice of a hearing requiring public notice pursuant to Paragraph a of this subsection shall be given to public utilities and cable television companies in accordance with Paragraph h of this subsection.
3. 
Notice of all hearings on applications for development involving property located within 200 feet in an adjoining municipality shall be given by personal service or certified mail to the Clerk of such municipality, which shall be in addition to the notice required to be given pursuant to Paragraph c2 above to the owners of lands in such adjoining municipality which are located within 200 feet of the subject premises.
4. 
Notice shall be given by personal service or certified mail to the County Planning Board of a hearing on an application for development of property adjacent to an existing county road or proposed road shown on the County Official Map or on the County Master Plan, adjoining other county land or situated within 200 feet of a municipal boundary.
5. 
Notice shall be given by personal service or certified mail to the Commissioner of Transportation of a hearing on an application for development of property adjacent to a state highway.
6. 
Notice shall be given by personal service or certified mail to the Director of the Division of State and Regional Planning in the Department of Community Affairs of a hearing on an application for development of a property which exceeds 150 acres or 500 dwelling units; such notice shall include a copy of any maps or documents required to be on file with the Township Clerk.
7. 
Notice of hearings on applications for approval of a major subdivision or a site plan requiring public notice pursuant to Paragraph c1 of this subsection shall be given, in the case of a public utility, cable television company or local utility which possesses a right-of-way or easement within the municipality and which has registered with the municipality in accordance with Paragraph d1 of this Subsection 21-6.6, by serving a copy of the notice on the person whose name appears on the registration form on behalf of the public utility, cable television company or local utility or mailing a copy thereof by certified mail to the person whose name appears on the registration form at the address shown on that form.
8. 
Notice pursuant to Paragraphs c3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 shall not be required unless public notice pursuant to Paragraph c1 and notice pursuant to Paragraph c2 are required.
d. 
1. 
Every public utility, cable television company and local utility interested in receiving notice pursuant to Paragraph c7 and which has any right-of-way or easement in the municipality may register with the Tax Assessor of the municipality. The registration shall remain in effect until revoked by the public utility, cable television company or local utility or by its successor in interest. Each registrant shall pay a registration fee of $10.
2. 
The Tax Assessor of the municipality shall adopt a registration form and shall maintain a record of all public utilities, cable television companies and local utilities which have registered with the municipality pursuant to Paragraph d1 of this subsection. The registration form shall include the name of the public utility, cable television company or local utility and the name, address and position of the person to whom notice shall be forwarded, as required pursuant to Paragraph c7. The information contained therein shall be made available to any applicant, as provided in Subsection 21-6.7.
e. 
All notices hereinabove specified in this subsection shall be given at least 10 days prior to the date fixed for hearing and the applicant shall file an affidavit of proof of service with the Board holding the hearing on the application for development.
f. 
Any notice made by certified mail as hereinabove required shall be deemed to be complete upon mailing.
g. 
All notices required to be given pursuant to the terms of this chapter shall state the date, time and place of the hearing, the nature of the matters to be considered and identification of the property proposed for development by street address, if any, and by reference to lot and block numbers as shown on the current tax duplicate in the Township Tax Assessor's office and the location and times at which any maps and documents for which approval is sought are available as required by law. Where a variance or exception is requested, the notice shall specifically stipulate the requirement and/or regulation from which relief is sought and, in the case of an exception, a description of the change requested.
h. 
For purposes of the notice requirements stated in this Subsection 21-6.6, the word "property", when referring to property of the applicant or property in which the applicant has an interest, is defined to mean the tax lot or lots on which the proposed development is to occur, together with any tax lot or lots, whether or not owned by the applicant, but on which is located any easement or right-of-way for vehicular traffic which is intended to serve the development.
[Ord. #585, § 303G; Ord. #858; Ord. #1041, § 3; Ord. #1103, § 5]
Upon the written request of an applicant, the Tax Assessor of the municipality shall, within seven days, make and certify a list from the current tax duplicates of names and addresses of owners to whom the applicant is required to give notice pursuant to Paragraph c of Subsection 21-6.6. In addition, the Tax Assessor shall include on the list the names, addresses and positions of those persons who, not less than seven days prior to the date on which the applicant requested the list, have registered to receive notice pursuant to Paragraph c7 of Subsection 21-6.6. The applicant shall be entitled to rely upon the information contained in such list, and failure to give notice to any owner or to any public utility, cable television company or local utility not on the list shall not invalidate any hearing or proceeding. For each block and lot as to which the Assessor is asked to provide a certified list, a sum of $0.25 cents per name or $10, whichever is higher, shall be charged as a fee.
[Ord. #585, § 303H; Ord. #700, § 10]
a. 
Any member of a municipal agency who was absent for one or more of the meetings at which a hearing was held shall be eligible to vote on the matter upon which the hearing was conducted, notwithstanding his absence from one or more of the meetings; provided, however, that such member has available to him the transcript or recording of all of the hearing from which he was absent and certifies in writing to the municipal agency that he has read such transcript or listened to such recordings.
b. 
The Planning Board or Board of Adjustment shall include findings of fact and conclusions based thereon in each decision on any application for development and shall reduce the decision to writing. The Planning Board or Board of Adjustment shall provide the findings and conclusions through:
1. 
A resolution adopted at a meeting held within the time period provided in this chapter for action by the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment on the application for development; or
2. 
A memorializing resolution adoption at a meeting held not later than 45 days after the date of the meeting at which the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment voted to grant or deny approval. Only the members of the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment who voted for the action taken may vote on the memorializing resolution, and the vote of a majority of such members present at the meeting at which the resolution is presented for adoption shall be sufficient to adopt the resolution.
An action pursuant to Subsection 21-6.2, Paragraph d (resulting from the failure of a motion to approve an application) shall be memorialized by resolution as provided above, with those members voting against the motion for approval being the members eligible to vote on the memorializing resolution. The vote on any such resolution shall be deemed to be a memorialization of the action of the municipal agency and not to be an action of the municipal agency.
c. 
A copy of the decision shall be mailed by the municipal agency within 10 days of the date of decision to the applicant, or if represented, then to his Attorney, without separate charge. A copy of the decision shall also be mailed to all persons who have requested it and who have paid the fee prescribed by the municipal agency for such service. A copy of the decision shall also be filed in the office of the Township Clerk, who shall make a copy of such filed decision available to any interested party upon payment of a fee calculated in the same manner as those established for copies of other public documents in the municipality.
d. 
The date of adoption of a resolution memorializing an action shall constitute the date of decision for purposes of the mailings, filings and publications required under this Subsection and Subsection 21-6.9 hereinbelow.
[Ord. #585, § 303I]
A brief notice of every final decision shall be published in the official newspaper of the municipality. Such publication shall be arranged by the secretary of the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment, as the case may be, without separate charge to the applicant. The notice shall be sent to the official newspaper for publication within 10 days of the date of any such decision.
[Ord. #585, § 303J]
Every application for development submitted to the Planning Board or to the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be accompanied by proof that no taxes or assessments for local improvements are due or delinquent on the property which is the subject of such application; or, if it is shown that taxes or assessments are delinquent on said property, any approvals or other relief granted by the Board shall be conditioned upon either the prompt payment of such taxes or assessments, or the making of adequate provision for the payment thereof in such manner that the municipality will be adequately protected.
[Ord. #585; § 303K]
If a development plan requires approval by a governmental agency other than the municipal agency, the municipal agency shall process the application in accordance with the terms of this chapter and shall condition its approval upon the subsequent approval of such other governmental agency. If a developer submits an application proposing a development which is barred or prevented, directly or indirectly, by a legal action instituted by any state agency, political subdivision or other party or by a directive or order issued by any state agency, political subdivision or court of competent jurisdiction, the municipal agency shall process the application in accordance with the terms of this chapter and shall condition its approval upon the removal of such legal barrier to development.
[Ord. #700, § 11; Ord. #1456, 4-10-2001, amended]
An application for development shall be complete for purposes of commencing the applicable time period for action by the Board when so certified by Board resolution. The Board shall consider the completeness of all applications within 45 days of the date of submission. In the event that the Board does not certify the application to be complete within 45 days of the date of its submission, the application shall be deemed complete upon the expiration of the forty-five-day period for purposes of commencing the applicable time period unless the application lacks information indicated on the checklist attached as the Appendix to this article which shall be provided to the applicant at the time of application; and the Board, pursuant to Section 21-51 of this chapter, in the event that the applicant has requested waiver(s) of any requirement(s) has notified the applicant, in writing, of the deficiencies in the application within 45 days of submission of the application. The applicant may request that one or more of the submission requirements be waived, in which event the Board shall grant or deny the request within 45 days. The procedure for such requests shall be as specified in Section 21-51 of this chapter. Nothing herein shall be construed as diminishing the applicant's obligation to prove in the application process that he is entitled to approval of the application. The Board may subsequently require correction of any information found to be in error and submission of additional information not specified in the ordinance or any revisions in the accompanying documents, as are reasonably necessary to make an informed decision as to whether the requirements necessary for approval of the application for development have been met. The application shall not be deemed incomplete for lack of any such additional information or any revisions in the accompanying documents so required by the municipal agency.