Township of Bernards, NJ
Somerset County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. #1745, 9-28-2004, adopted]
This section shall be known as the "Contribution Disclosure Ordinance."
[Ord. #1745, 9-28-2004, adopted]
Whereas, municipal Master Plans include well thought out, long-term decisions about the development capacity of community; and whereas municipal Master Plans are implemented through the enactment of local land use ordinances; and whereas, deviations from these local ordinances by way of variances pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d and N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70c, exceptions and waivers pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-51, provide opportunities for significant private gain; and whereas, applicants for planned developments, as defined in N.J.S.A. 40:55D-6, often deviate from the goals of the municipal Master Plan and provide opportunities for significant private gain; and whereas, openness in government and a fair and impartial variance, waiver and exception and planned development application process is crucial to assuring the continuing integrity of the municipal Master Plan, its implementing ordinances and the integrity of the variance application process; and whereas, disclosure of political contributions by property owners, developers and professionals will enhance the township's existing commitment to openness in government and provide further guarantees for a fair and impartial variance, waiver and exception application process; and whereas, disclosure of political contributions by property owners, developers and professionals will effectuate the purposes of the Municipal Land Use Law to promote morals and the general welfare; therefore, it is accordingly found and determined that the paramount public interest in enhancing the township's commitment to openness in government, in providing further guarantees for a fair and impartial variance, waiver and exception application process, and in promoting morals and the general welfare through the integrity of the municipal planning process requires the supplementation of the municipal application checklist to mandate the listing of specified political contributions made by property owners, developers and the professionals whose services they use in applications for major variances, waivers and exceptions.
[Ord. #1745, 9-28-2004, adopted]
APPLICATION CHECKLIST — The term "application checklist" means the list of submission requirements adopted by ordinance and provided by the municipal agency to a developer pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.3.
CONTRIBUTION
The term "contribution" means every loan, gift, subscription, advance or transfer of money or other thing of value, including any item of real property or personal property, tangible or intangible (but not including services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a part or all of their time on behalf of a candidate, committee or organization), made to or on behalf of any candidate, candidate committee, joint candidates committee, political committee, continuing political committee or political party committee and any pledge, promise or other commitment or assumption of liability to make such transfer. For purposes of reports required under the provisions of the ordinance, any such commitment or assumption shall be deemed to have been a contribution upon the date when such commitment is made or liability assumed.
CONTRIBUTION DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
The term "contribution disclosure statement" means a list specifying the amount, date and the recipient of any and all contributions made to or on behalf of any candidate, candidate committee, joint candidates committee, political committee, continuing political committee or political party committee of, or pertaining to, this municipality, made up to one year prior to filing the variance application and/or during the pendency of the application process, and required to be reported pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-1 et seq.
DEVELOPER
The term "developer" means a developer as defined by N.J.S.A. 40:55D-4, i.e., the legal or beneficial owner or owners of a lot or of any land proposed to be included in a proposed development, including the holder of an option or contract to purchase, or other person having an enforceable proprietary interest in such land.
PROFESSIONAL
The term "professional" means any person or entity whose principals are required to be licensed by New Jersey law and who supplies legal representation, expert testimony or written reports in support of an application. Professionals shall include both any individuals supplying the representation, testimonies or reports and the firms or entities in which said individuals practice.
[Ord. #1745, 9-28-2004, adopted]
a. 
Disclosure requirements.
1. 
Any applicant for a variance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d or a variance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70c in conjunction with any application for a subdivision not considered a minor subdivision pursuant to local ordinance or a site plan not considered a minor site plan pursuant to local ordinance as well as any application for a subdivision not considered a minor subdivision pursuant to local ordinance or site plan not considered a minor site plan pursuant to local ordinance requiring waivers or exceptions pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-51 shall include in the application contribution disclosure statements for all developers; all associates of said developers who would be subject to disclosure pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-48.1 or 40:55D-48.2; and all professionals who apply for or provide testimony, plans or reports in support of said variance and who have an enforceable proprietary interest in the property or development which is the subject of the application or whose fee in whole or part is contingent upon the outcome of the application. Regardless of whether the owner of the property which is the subject of the variance application falls in any of the categories established in the preceding sentence, the applicant shall include in the application a contribution disclosure statement for said owner.
2. 
During the pendency of the application process until final site plan approval is granted, any applicant required to comply with this section shall amend its contribution disclosure statements to include continuing disclosure of all contributions within the scope of disclosure requirement of the above paragraph.
b. 
Inclusion of Contribution Disclosure Statements as an Element of the Application Checklist.
1. 
An application checklist ordinance is hereby adopted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.3 to require that the contribution disclosure statements specified in Paragraph a of this section be submitted by the applicant for all applications for variance relief pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d as well as for relief pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70c or N.J.S.A. 40:55D-51 in applications for site plan and subdivision approval not considered to be minor site plans or minor subdivisions pursuant to local ordinance.
2. 
The municipal Planning Board and Board of Adjustment shall amend its application checklist for variances pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d as well as for relief pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70c or N.J.S.A. 40:55D-51 in applications for site plan and subdivision approval not considered to be minor site plans or minor subdivisions pursuant to local ordinance to include the contribution disclosure statements specified in Paragraph a of this section.
3. 
An application shall not be deemed complete by the administrative official or accepted for public hearing by the municipal agency until the required contribution disclosure statements are submitted.
c. 
Availability of the Disclosure Statement. All contribution disclosure statements shall be available in the office of the administrative officer for review by any member of the public.
d. 
Intent of the Disclosure Statement. It is the intent of this section that the disclosure statement shall serve to inform the public and not serve as evidence relevant to the decision criteria for variance applications pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d as well as for relief pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70c or N.J.S.A. 40:55D-51 in applications for site plan and subdivision approval not considered to be minor site plans or minor subdivisions pursuant to local ordinance.