Assemblywoman CAROL A. MURPHY
District 7 (Burlington)
Assemblyman WAYNE P. DEANGELO
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Clarifies that application to collocate wireless communications equipment be reviewed by administrative officer.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning the collocation of wireless communications equipment, and amending P.L.1975, c.291 and P.L.2011, c.199.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 9 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-18) shall be amended to read as follows:
9. Enforcement. The governing body of a municipality shall enforce this act and any ordinance or regulation made and adopted hereunder. To that end, the governing body may require the issuance of specified permits, certificates or authorizations as a condition precedent to (1) the erection, construction, alteration, repair, remodeling, conversion, removal or destruction of any building or structure, (2) the use or occupancy of any building, structure or land, and (3) the subdivision or resubdivision of any land; and shall require the issuance of a zoning permit as a condition precedent to the collocation of wireless communications equipment pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2011, c.199 (C.40:55D-46.2). The governing body of a municipality shall establish an administrative officer and offices for the purpose of issuing such permits, certificates or authorizations; and may condition the issuance of such permits, certificates and authorizations upon the submission of such data, materials, plans, plats and information as is authorized hereunder and upon the express approval of the appropriate State, county or municipal agencies; and may establish reasonable fees to cover administrative costs for the issuance of such permits, certificates and authorizations. The administrative officer shall issue or deny a zoning permit within 10 business days of receipt of a request therefor. If the administrative officer fails to grant or deny a zoning permit within this period, the failure shall be deemed to be an approval of the application for the zoning permit. In case any building or structure is erected, constructed, altered, repaired, converted, or maintained, or any building, structure or land is used in violation of this act or of any ordinance or other regulation made under authority conferred hereby, the proper local authorities of the municipality or an interested party, in addition to other remedies, may institute any appropriate action or proceedings to prevent such unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, conversion, maintenance or use, to restrain, correct or abate such violation, to prevent the occupancy of said building, structure or land, or to prevent any illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about such premises.
(cf: P.L.2001, c.49, s.1)
2. Section 1 of P.L.2011, c.199 (C.40:55D-46.2) is amended to read as follows:
1. a. An application [for development] for a zoning permit to collocate wireless communications equipment on a wireless communications support structure or in an existing equipment compound shall not be subject to site plan or other land use board review, and shall be approved by the administrative officer pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-18), provided the application meets the following requirements:
(1) the wireless communications support structure shall have been previously granted all necessary approvals by the appropriate approving authority;
(2) the proposed collocation shall not increase (a) the overall height of the wireless communications support structure by more than ten percent of the original height of the wireless communications support structure, (b) the width of the wireless communications support structure, or (c) the square footage of the existing equipment compound to an area greater than 2,500 square feet;
(3) the proposed collocation complies with the final approval of the wireless communications support structure and all conditions attached thereto and does not create a condition for which variance relief would be required pursuant to P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), or any other applicable law, rule or regulation.
b. For purposes of this section:
"Equipment compound" means an area surrounding or adjacent to the base of a wireless communications support structure within which is located wireless communications equipment.
"Collocate" means to place or install wireless communications equipment on a wireless communications support structure.
"Wireless communications equipment" means the set of equipment and network components used in the provision of wireless communications services: including, but not limited to, antennas, transmitters, receivers, base stations, equipment shelters, cabinets, emergency generators, power supply cabling, and coaxial and fiber optic cable, but excluding wireless communications support structures.
"Wireless communications support structure" means a structure that is designed to support, or is capable of supporting, wireless communications equipment, including a monopole, self-supporting lattice tower, guyed tower, water tower, utility pole, or building.
(cf: P.L.2011, c.199, s.1)
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill clarifies current law by providing that certain applications to collocate wireless communications equipment on preexisting support structures be processed administratively and be approved by permit. A 2011 amendment to the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL), P.L.2011, c.199 (C.40:55D-46.2), provided that an application to collocate wireless communications equipment on a preexisting wireless communications support structure is not subject to site plan review if: (1) the support structure has been previously granted all necessary approvals, (2) the proposed collocation will not increase the support structure’s height by more than ten percent or expand the width of any existing equipment compound beyond 2,500 square feet, and (3) the support structure will be substantially consistent with the terms and conditions of the underlying approvals.
Consistent with P.L.2011, c.199, most municipalities assign review of collocation applications to an administrative officer for review and, if an application satisfies the three conditions set forth in the 2011 amendment to the MLUL, an administrative approval. However, some municipalities require zoning boards of adjustment to review all collocation applications to determine whether they satisfy the conditions set forth in the 2011 amendment to the MLUL. Subjecting collocation applications which are statutorily exempt from site plan review to zoning board of adjustment review and approval is inconsistent with current law and undermines the purposes of the 2011 amendment by imposing undue costs and delays on an applicant.
This bill addresses this issue by specifying that collocation applications are to be submitted to an administrative officer for review, and that an administrative officer may approve a collocation application by issuing a zoning permit. If an administrative officer determines that an application does not meet the requirements of the 2011 amendment, the administrative officer would deny the application.