ASSEMBLY, No. 2486
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED NOVEMBER 7, 1996
By Assemblyman CARROLL
An Act creating a procedure for the review and approval of minor variance applications, amending and supplementing P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.).
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 3.2 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-5) is amended to read as follows:
3.2. "Maintenance guarantee" means any security which may be accepted by a municipality for the maintenance of any improvements required by this act, including but not limited to surety bonds, letters of credit under the circumstances specified in section 16 of P.L.1991, c.256 (C.40:55D-53.5), and cash.
"Major subdivision" means any subdivision not classified as a minor subdivision.
"Master plan" means a composite of one or more written or graphic proposals for the development of the municipality as set forth in and adopted pursuant to section 19 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-28).
"Mayor" means the chief executive of the municipality, whatever his official designation may be, except that in the case of municipalities governed by municipal council and municipal manager the term "mayor" shall not mean the "municipal manager" but shall mean the mayor of such municipality.
"Minor site plan" means a development plan of one or more lots which (1) proposes new development within the scope of development specifically permitted by ordinance as a minor site plan; (2) does not involve planned development, any new street or extension of any off-tract improvement which is to be prorated pursuant to section 30 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-42); and (3) contains the information reasonably required in order to make an informed determination as to whether the requirements established by ordinance for approval of a minor site plan have been met.
"Minor subdivision" means a subdivision of land for the creation of a number of lots specifically permitted by ordinance as a minor subdivision; provided that such subdivision does not involve (1) a planned development, (2) any new street, (3) approval by the county planning board, or (4) the extension of any off-tract improvement, the cost of which is to be prorated pursuant to section 30 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-42).
"Minor variance" means any variance, otherwise governed by the provisions of subsection c. of section 57 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-70), which has been so designated by ordinance as a minor variance, and which does not arise out of an application for development involving (1) a planned development, (2) any new street, (3) approval by the county planning board, or (4) any off-tract improvement, the cost of which is to be pro-rated pursuant to section 30 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-42).
"Municipality" means any city, borough, town, township or village.
"Municipal agency" means a municipal planning board or board of adjustment, or a governing body of a municipality when acting pursuant to this act and any agency which is created by or responsible to one or more municipalities when such agency is acting pursuant to this act.
"Nonconforming lot" means a lot, the area, dimension or location of which was lawful prior to the adoption, revision or amendment of a zoning ordinance, but fails to conform to the requirements of the zoning district in which it is located by reason of such adoption, revision or amendment.
"Nonconforming structure" means a structure the size, dimension or location of which was lawful prior to the adoption, revision or amendment of a zoning ordinance, but which fails to conform to the requirements of the zoning district in which it is located by reasons of such adoption, revision or amendment.
"Nonconforming use" means a use or activity which was lawful prior to the adoption, revision or amendment of a zoning ordinance, but which fails to conform to the requirements of the zoning district in which it is located by reasons of such adoption, revision or amendment.
"Official county map" means the map, with changes and additions thereto, adopted and established, from time to time, by resolution of the board of chosen freeholders of the county pursuant to R.S.40:27-5. "Official map" means a map adopted by ordinance pursuant to article 5 of P.L.1975, c.291.
"Offsite" means located outside the lot lines of the lot in question but within the property (of which the lot is a part) which is the subject of a development application or contiguous portion of a street or right-of-way.
"Off-tract" means not located on the property which is the subject of a development application nor on a contiguous portion of a street or right-of-way.
"Onsite" means located on the lot in question.
"On-tract" means located on the property which is the subject of a development application or on a contiguous portion of a street or right-of-way.
"Open-space" means any parcel or area of land or water essentially unimproved and set aside, dedicated, designated or reserved for public or private use or enjoyment or for the use and enjoyment of owners and occupants of land adjoining or neighboring such open space; provided that such areas may be improved with only those buildings, structures, streets and off street parking and other improvements that are designed to be incidental to the natural openness of the land.
(cf: P.L.1991, c.256, s.1)
2. Section 7.3 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-14) is amended to read as follows:
7.3 Any notice made by certified mail pursuant to sections 7.1 and 7.2 of [this act] P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-12) and (C.40:55D-13) and section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be deemed complete upon mailing.
(cf: P.L.1975, c.291, s.7.3)
3. (New section) A municipality may, by ordinance, authorize the zoning officer to grant approval of minor variances.
Within 15 days of determining that an application for a minor variance is complete pursuant to section 5 of P.L.1984, c.20 (C.40:55D-10.3), the zoning officer shall either approve or disapprove the application. If the zoning officer: (1) determines that the application does not meet the definition of a minor variance; or (2) disapproves the application, the application shall be referred to the board of adjustment for consideration as a variance pursuant to subsection c. of section 57 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-70). A determination by the zoning officer that the application does not meet the definition of a minor variance or the disapproval of an application for a minor variance by the zoning officer shall not be appealable to Superior Court.
If the zoning officer is satisfied that the application fulfills the definition of a minor variance and meets both the positive and negative criteria for variance relief set forth in section c. of section 57 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-70), the zoning officer may provisionally grant variance relief, subject to the procedure set forth hereunder.
The applicant, upon receipt of the provisional grant of the variance by the zoning officer, shall provide notice to owners of all real property as shown on the current tax duplicates, located in the State and within 200 feet of the property which is the subject of the hearing, to the municipal clerk, and any other person or entity entitled to notice pursuant to section 7.1 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-12), via certified mail, which notice shall set forth the nature of the application, the reason why variance relief is requested, the address of the property, the address and hours of the office in which the application and supporting documents are filed and can be reviewed, and such other information as the municipality may by ordinance or regulation require. In addition, such notice shall prominently state:
"This matter has been deemed a minor variance by the zoning officer of the (municipality). This is the only notice that you will be given of this application. If you object to the variance being sought, you must notify the zoning officer in writing within 10 days of the date of this notice or the variance will be granted without further action. If you object, the matter will be considered by the board of adjustment."
The applicant shall provide proper proof of mailing to the zoning officer.
In the event that no written objection is received to the application within 10 days of the date of mailing, the zoning officer shall issue a certificate memorializing the variance. The failure on the part of any person to object to the variance as herein provided shall bar such person from any further appeals relating to such approval.
4. This act shall take effect 90 days next following enactment.
This bill would establish a "de minimus" variance, authorize municipalities to define its parameters and allow the zoning officer to grant approvals of these variance applications without the resort to public hearings by either planning or zoning boards.
Under the "Municipal Land Use Law," municipalities are authorized to define, by ordinance, a "minor site plan" and "minor subdivision" and to waive public hearings on applications for development which fall into these categories. The law defines what these applications are not, but leaves up to the municipality what constitutes a "de minimus" subdivision or site plan application. Both definitions exclude from the definition of "minor" a planned development application and one which involves a new street or extension of an off-tract improvement.
This bill would define as a "minor variance" one which does not involve a planned development, any new street, the extension of any off-tract improvement, and approval by the county planning board.
Establishes expedited procedure for approval of minor variances under "Municipal Land Use Law."