Borough of Wrightstown, NJ
Burlington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 219-48 Planning Board.

A. 
Establishment. There is established in the Borough, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq., and in particular N.J.S.A. 40:55D-25, Subsection e, the Municipal Land Use Law, a Planning Board of nine members, consisting of following classes:
(1) 
Class I. The Mayor.
(2) 
Class II. One of the officials of the Borough other than a member of the Borough Council to be appointed by the Mayor.
(3) 
Class III. A member of the Borough Council to be appointed by the Borough Council.
(4) 
Class IV. Other citizens of the Borough, to be appointed by the Mayor. The members of Class IV shall hold no other municipal office, position or employment. No member of the Board of Education may be a Class IV member of the Board, except that in the case of a nine-member Board, one Class IV member may be a member of the Board of Education. For the purpose of this section, membership on a municipal Board or commission whose function is advisory in nature, and the establishment of which is discretionary and not required by statute, shall not be considered the holding of municipal office.
(5) 
Alternates. The Mayor shall appoint not more than two alternate members. The alternate members shall meet the qualifications of Class IV members of nine-member Planning Boards. Alternate members shall be designated at the time of the appointment by the Mayor as "Alternate No. 1" and "Alternate No. 2." Alternate members may participate in discussions of the proceedings but may not vote except in the absence or disqualification of a regular member of any class. A vote shall not be delayed in order that a regular member may vote instead of an alternate member. In the event that a choice must be made as to which alternate member is to vote, Alternate No. 1 shall vote.
B. 
Terms.
(1) 
The term of the member composing Class I shall correspond to his official tenure. The terms of the members composing Class II and Class III shall be for one year or terminate at the completion of their respective terms of office, whichever occurs first. The term of a Class IV member who is also a member of the Board of Education shall terminate whenever he is no longer a member of such other body or at the completion of his Class IV term, which ever occurs first. The terms of all Class IV members first appointed under this chapter shall be so determined that to the greatest practicable extent the expiration of such terms shall be distributed evenly over the first four years after their appointment, provided that the initial Class IV term of no member shall exceed four years. Thereafter, the Class IV term of each such member shall be four years.
(2) 
The terms of the alternate members shall be for two years, except that the terms of the alternate members shall be such that the term of not more than one alternate member shall expire in any one year; provided, however, that in no instance shall the terms of the alternate members first appointed exceed two years.
(3) 
All terms shall run from January 1 of the year in which the appointment was made.
C. 
Conflict of interest. No member or alternate member of the Board shall be permitted to act on any matter in which he or she has, either directly or indirectly, any personal or financial interest.
D. 
Vacancies. If a vacancy of any class shall occur otherwise than by expiration of term, it shall be filled by appointment as above provided for the unexpired term.
E. 
Removal. Any member or alternate member other than a Class I member, after a public hearing if he or she requests one, may be removed by the Borough Council for cause.
F. 
Organization of Board. The Board shall elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman from the members of Class IV and select a secretary who may be either a member of the Board or a Borough employee designated by it.
G. 
Board Attorney. There is created the office of Joint Land Use Board Attorney. The Board may annually appoint such attorney, who shall be licensed in the State of New Jersey, and who shall not be the Borough Attorney. The Board Attorney shall receive such compensation as fixed by the Board and shall not exceed the amount appropriated by the Borough Council for such purpose.
H. 
Experts and staff. The Board may also employ or contract for the services of experts and other staff and services as it may deem necessary. The Board shall not, however, exceed, exclusive of gifts or grants, the amount appropriated by the Borough Council for its use or funds received under N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53.1.
I. 
Powers and duties generally. The Board shall be authorized to adopt bylaws governing its procedural operation. It shall also have the following powers and duties:
(1) 
To make and adopt and from time to time amend a Master Plan for the physical development of the Borough, in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28.
(2) 
To administer the provisions of the land subdivision and site plan ordinance of the Borough in accordance with the provisions of such ordinance and the Municipal Land Use Law.
(3) 
To issue permits for conditional uses.
(a) 
The term "conditional use" shall mean a use permitted in a particular zoning district only upon a showing that such use in a specified location will comply with the conditions and standards of the location or operation of such use as contained in the Borough Zoning Ordinance, as amended, and upon the issuance of an authorization therefor by the Board.
(b) 
The Board shall either issue or deny issuance of a conditional use permit within 95 days of submission of a complete application therefor, by a developer to the Clerk, or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant. The review by the Board of a conditional use shall include any required site plan review. The time period for action by the Board on conditional uses shall apply to such site plan review.
(c) 
Failure of the Board to act within the period prescribed shall constitute approval of the application, and a certificate of the Clerk as to the failure of the Board to act shall be issued on request of the applicant, and it shall be sufficient in lieu of the written endorsement or other evidence of approval, herein required.
(4) 
To participate in the preparation and review of progress or plans required by state or federal law or regulation.
(5) 
To assemble data on a continuing basis as part of a continuing planning process and to submit a report annually to the Borough Council thereon.
(6) 
To annually prepare a program of Borough capital improvement projects projected over a term of six years, and amendments thereto, and recommend same to the Borough Council.
(7) 
To consider and report to the Borough Council within 35 days after referral, regarding any proposed development regulation submitted to it pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-26, Subsection a, and also to pass upon other matters specifically referred to the Board by the Borough Council pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-26, Subsection b.
(8) 
Exercise of the powers vested in the Zoning Board of Adjustment by N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70 as follow:
(a) 
Variances pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70, Subsection c, from lot area, lot dimensional setback and yard requirements, provided that such relief from lot area requirements shall not be granted for more than one lot.
(b) 
Direct, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-34 the issuance of a permit for a building or structure in the bed of a mapped street or public drainageway, flood-control basin or public area reserved pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-32.
(c) 
Direct, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-36, the issuance of a permit for a building or structure not related to a street. Whenever relief is requested pursuant to this subsection, notice of a hearing on the application for development shall include a reference to the request for a variance or direction for issuance of a permit as the case may be.
(d) 
This Board is a Joint Land Use Board created by Ordinance No. 1995-01, [1] and therefore has all of the powers of the Zoning Board of Adjustment as set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70. Whenever this Board is considering a use variance under N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70, Subsection d, the Class I and III members shall not participate.
[1]
Editor's Note: The preamble to this ordinance provided that it was adopted under the authority of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-25 of the Municipal Land Use Act, which allows a municipality having a population of 10,000 or less, by ordinance, to empower its Planning Board to exercise all of the powers of a board of adjustment.
(9) 
To perform such other advisory duties as are assigned to it by ordinance or resolution of the Borough Council for the aid and assistance of the Borough Council or other agencies or officers.
J. 
Time for decisions. The Board shall exercise its powers for the granting or denying of approval for minor or major subdivisions and for site plans in accordance with the time limitations set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:55D-76, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-73, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-67, Subsection a, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-50, Subsection b, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-48, Subsection c, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-46.1, Subsection a, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-47, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-46, Subsection c, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53, Subsection e, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-51, Subsection c, and N.J.S.A. 40:55D-61. Additionally, whenever the Board shall be called upon to exercise its ancillary powers before the granting of a variance, as set forth in § 219-48I, the Board shall grant or deny approval of the application within 95 days after submission by the developer of a complete application, or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant. Failure of the Board to act within the period prescribed shall constitute approval of the application and a certificate of the Board Secretary as to the failure of the Board to act shall be issued on request of the applicant.
K. 
Advisory committee. The Mayor may appoint one or more persons as a citizens advisory committee to assist or collaborate with the Board in its duties, but such person or persons shall have no power to vote or take other action required of the Board. Such person or persons shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor.
L. 
Rules and regulations. The Board shall adopt such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry into effect the provisions and purposes of this chapter. In the issuance of subpoenas, administration of oaths and taking of testimony, the provisions of the county and the Municipal Investigations Law of 1953, N.J.S.A. 2A:67A-1 et seq. shall apply.
M. 
Subdivision Committee. There is hereby established a Board Subdivision Committee, which shall consist of three members of the Board appointed by the Chairman, and which shall exercise such powers as established by ordinance.
N. 
Checklist for land subdivision and site plan review. At the time the applicant is furnished with the application for land subdivision and/or site plan approval, he or she shall be supplied with a checklist which shall set forth the specific documents that are required to be filed at the time of the submission of the application. Each checklist requirement shall be in accordance with the provisions of the land development chapters.
O. 
Determination of completeness of application. An application for land subdivision and/or site plan review approval shall be complete for purposes of commencing the applicable time period for action by the Board when so certified by the Board or its authorized committee or designee. In the event that the Board or its authorized committee or designee 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 set forth above which is provided to the applicant; and the Board or its authorized committee or designee has notified the applicant, in writing, of the deficiencies in the application within 45 days of the submission of the application. The applicant may request that one or more of the submission requirements be waived, in which event the Board's authorized committee or designee shall grant or deny the request within 45 days. 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 waive correction of any information found to be in error and require submission of additional information not specified in these chapters or any revisions in the accompanying documents, as are reasonably necessary to make an informed decision as to whether the requirements necessary for the approval of the application have been met. The application shall not be deemed incomplete for lack of any such additional information or any revisions in the accompanying documents as required by the Board.

§ 219-49 Zoning Board of Adjustment.

A. 
Powers of the Board. When hearing traditional Zoning Board matters, the Board shall be authorized to adopt bylaws governing its procedural operation. It shall also have the following powers and duties:
(1) 
Hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that there is error in any order, requirement, decision or refusal made by an official based on or made in the enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance.
(2) 
Hear and decide requests for interpretation of the Zoning Map or Zoning Ordinance or for decision upon other special questions upon which the Board is authorized to pass by the Zoning Ordinance or Official Map Ordinance, if adopted.
(3) 
Where, by reason of exceptional narrowness, shallowness or shape of a specific piece of property or by reason of exceptional topographic conditions or physical features uniquely affecting a specific piece of property or by reason of an extraordinary and exceptional situation uniquely affecting a specific piece of property or the structures lawfully existing thereon, the strict application of any regulation pursuant to this zoning chapter would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties to or exceptional and undue hardship upon the developer of such property, grant, upon an application or appeal relating to such property, a variance from such strict application of such regulation so as to relieve such difficulties or hardship. Where in an application or appeal relating to a specific piece of property, the purposes of the zoning chapter would be advanced by a deviation from the zoning requirements and the benefits of the deviation would substantially outweigh any detriment, grant a variance to allow departure from the regulations of the zoning chapter; provided, however, that no variance enumerated in Subsection D, set forth below, shall be granted under this subsection, and provided further that the proposed development does not require approval by the Board of a subdivision, site plan or conditional use in conjunction with which the Board has power to review a request for a variance pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(4) 
In particular cases and for special reasons, grant a variance to allow departure from regulations pursuant to the zoning chapter to permit:
(a) 
A use or principal structure in a district restricted against such use or principal structure.
(b) 
An expansion of a nonconforming use.
(c) 
Deviation from a specification or standard, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-67, pertaining solely to a conditional use.
(d) 
An increase in the permitted floor area ratio as defined in these chapters.
(e) 
An increase in the permitted density, as defined in these chapters, except as applied to the required lot area for a lot or lots for detached one or two dwelling unit buildings, which lot or lots are either an isolated undersized lot or lots resulting from a minor subdivision. A variance under this subsection shall be granted only the by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the full authorized membership of the Board.
(f) 
No variance or other relief may be granted under the provisions of Subsection A(4)(a) through (d) of this subsection, unless such variance or other relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zoning Ordinance. Any application under any subsection of this section may be referred to an appropriate person or agency for its report, provided that such reference shall not extend the period of time within which the Board shall act.
(5) 
Direct issuance of a permit pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-34 for a building or structure in the bed of a mapped street or public drainageway, flood-control basin or public area reserved on the Official Map.
(6) 
Direct issuance of a permit pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-36 for a building or structure not related to a street.
(7) 
Grant, to the same extent and subject to the same restrictions as the Board, subdivision or site plan approval or conditional use approval pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-67 whenever the Board is reviewing an application for approval of a use variance.
B. 
Appeals and applications.
(1) 
Appeals to the Board may be taken by an interested party affected by any decision of a Borough official based on or made in the enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance or Official Map. Each appeal shall be taken within 20 days by filing a notice of appeal with the official from whom the appeal was taken, together with three copies of such notice with the Secretary of the Board. Such notice of appeal shall specify the grounds for the appeal. The official from whom the appeal is taken shall forthwith transmit to the Board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.
(2) 
Fifteen copies of an application for the exercise of the Board's power pursuant to Subsection A(2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) shall be filed with the Secretary of the Board.
[Amended 7-9-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-07; 8-13-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-11]
(3) 
At the time of filing the appeal or application, the applicant shall also file all relevant plot plans, maps or other papers required by the application forms and/or the instructions to applicants and/or as required by the Borough Engineer. The applicant shall obtain all necessary forms from the Secretary of the Board. The Secretary of the Board shall inform the applicant of the steps to be taken to initiate proceedings and of the regular meeting dates of the Board and shall furnish applicant with instructions and application forms.
(4) 
An appeal shall stay the decision appealed from, unless the official from whose decision the appeal is taken certifies to the Board after notice of appeal shall have been filed with him, that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would, in his opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property. In such case, the proceedings shall not be stayed other than by an order of the Superior Court of New Jersey upon notice to the official from whom the appeal is taken and on due cause shown.
(5) 
The Board may reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or may modify the action, order, requirement, decision, interpretation or determination appealed from, and, to that end, have all the powers of the official from whom the appeal was taken.
C. 
Expiration of variance. Any variance from the terms of the Zoning Ordinance granted by the Board permitting the erection or alteration of any structure or structures or a specified use of any premises shall expire, unless such construction, alteration or use shall have been actually commenced on, or in, each and every structure permitted by such variance, within one year from the date of authorization by the Board and diligently pursued to completion. The running of this period shall be tolled from the date of filing an appeal from the decision of the Board to a court of competent jurisdiction, until the termination in any manner of such appeal or proceeding.
D. 
Conditional approval. Whenever a review or approval of an application involving the County of Burlington is required by N.J.S.A. 40:27-6.3, in the case of a subdivision, or N.J.S.A. 40:27-6.6, in the case of a site plan, the Board shall condition any approval that it grants upon timely receipt of a favorable report on the application by the County Planning Board or approval by the County Planning Board by its failure to thereon within the required time. An application under this section may be referred to any appropriate person or agency for its report. Such reference shall not exceed the period of time within which the Board shall act.

§ 219-50 General provisions applicable to Joint Land Use Board.

A. 
Conflicts of interest. No member of the Board shall act on any matter in which he or she has either directly or indirectly any personal or financial interest. Whenever any such member shall disqualify him or herself from acting on a particular matter, he or she shall not continue to sit with the Board on the hearing of such matter nor participate in any discussion or decision relating thereto.
B. 
Meetings.
(1) 
Meetings of the Board 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. Regular meetings of the Board shall be scheduled so as not to conflict with the regularly scheduled meetings of the Borough Council.
(2) 
Special meetings may be provided for at the call of the Chairperson or on the request of any two Board members, which meeting shall be held on notice to its members and the public in accordance with all applicable legal requirements.
(3) 
No action shall be taken at any meeting without a quorum being present, which shall be defined as the majority of the full authorized membership of the Board.
(4) 
All actions shall be taken by majority vote of a quorum except as otherwise required by statute.
(5) 
All regular meetings and all special meetings shall be open to the public. Notice of all such meetings shall be given in accordance with the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act. An executive session for the purpose of discussing and studying any matters to come before either Board shall not be deemed to be a regular or special meeting.
C. 
Minutes. 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 actions taken by the Board, the findings made by it, if any, and reasons therefor. The minutes shall thereafter be made available for public inspection during normal business hours at the office of the Borough 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 their use as provided for in the rules of the Board.
D. 
Fees. Fees for applications or for the rendering of any service by the Board or any member of the administrative staff which is not otherwise provided by ordinance may be provided for and adopted as part of the rules of the Board, subject to the approval of the Borough Council. Copies of such rules or of the separate fee schedule shall be available to the public. The Board may waive any fee, in the event of an application on behalf of a nonprofit or religious corporation or association or as required by another statute.
E. 
Hearings.
(1) 
Rules. The Board may make rules governing the conduct of hearings which rules shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq., or of this chapter.
(2) 
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 parties, and pursuant to the provisions of the county and Municipal Investigations Law, N.J.S.A. 2A:67A-1 et seq., shall apply.
(3) 
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.
(4) 
Evidence. Technical rules of evidence shall not be applied to the hearing, but the Board may exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence.
(5) 
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 his expense.
F. 
Notice requirements for hearing. Whenever a hearing is required on an application for development pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq., the applicant shall give notice thereof as follows:
(1) 
Notice of hearings on applications for development involving property located within 200 feet of an adjoining municipality shall be given by personal service or certified mail to the Clerk of such municipality.
(2) 
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 Official County Map or on the County Master Plan, adjoining other county land or situated within 200 feet of a municipal boundary.
(3) 
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.
(4) 
Notice shall be given by personal service or certified mail to the State Planning Commission of a hearing on an application for development of property which exceeds 150 acres or 500 dwelling units. The notice shall include a copy of any maps or documents required to be on file with the Municipal Clerk pursuant to Subsection B of Section 6 of the act (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10).
(5) 
Notice of hearings on applications for approval of a major subdivision or a site plan not defined as a minor site plan under this act requiring public notice pursuant to Subsection A of this section 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 Section 5 of P.L. 1991 c. 412 (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-12.1), by:
(a) 
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
(b) 
Mailing a copy thereof by certified mail to the person whose name appears on the registration form at the address shown on that form.
(6) 
The applicant shall file an affidavit of proof of service with the municipal agency holding the hearing on the application for development in the event that the applicant is required to give notice pursuant to this section.
(7) 
Notice pursuant to Subsection F(4), (5), and (6) of this section shall not be deemed to be required, unless public notice pursuant to Subsection F(1) and notice to Subsection F(2) of this section are required.
G. 
List of property owners furnished. Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-12, Subsection c, the Borough Tax Assessor shall, within seven days after receipt of a request and upon receipt of payment of a fee as set forth in § 219-60, make and certify a list from the current tax duplicate of names and addresses of owners whom the applicant is required to give notice pursuant to Subsection F.
H. 
Decisions.
(1) 
Each decision on any application for development shall be set forth in writing, which shall include findings of fact and conclusions based thereon. The Board shall provide the findings and conclusions through:
(a) 
A resolution adopted at meeting held within the time period for action by the Board on the application for development; or
(b) 
A memorializing resolution adopted at a meeting held not later than 45 days after the date of the meeting at which the Board voted to grant or deny approval. Only the members of the municipal agency 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 a resolution. An action resulting from the failure of a motion to approve an application shall be memorialized by resolution as provided above, with those members who voted against the motion of 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 Board and not to be an action of the Board. However, the date of the adoption of the resolution shall constitute the date of the decision for purposes of mailings, filings and publications required by this chapter and N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10. If the Board fails to adopt a resolution or memorializing resolution as hereinabove specified, any interested party may apply to the Superior Court in a summary manner for an order compelling the Board to reduce its findings and conclusions, in writing, within the stated time and the cost of the application, including attorney's fees, shall be assessed against the Borough.
(2) 
A copy of the decision shall be mailed by the Board 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 set forth in N.J.S.A. 47:1A-2. A copy of the decision shall also be filed in the office of the Borough Clerk, who shall make a copy of such filed decision available to any interested party upon payment of the fee set forth in N.J.S.A. 47:1A-2.
I. 
Publication of decision. A brief notice of every final decision shall be published in the official newspaper of the Borough. Such publication shall be arranged by the Secretary of the Board, who shall charge the applicant for the cost of such publication. Notice shall be sent to the official newspaper for publication within 10 days of the date of any such decisions.
J. 
Records retained by Borough Clerk. Upon the conclusion of any matter coming before the Board, or upon appeal before the Borough Council, a copy of each application, supporting documentation, minutes of hearings, correspondence, decisions and other information relevant to the determination shall be maintained in the office of the Borough Clerk for a period of not less than five years, which shall be considered a public record with the meaning of N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.
K. 
Payment of taxes. Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-39, every application for development submitted to the Board 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.

§ 219-51 Appeals.

Appeals from Joint Land Use Board Decisions are filed with the Superior Court.

§ 219-52 Effective date.

This chapter shall take effect on September 3, 1998, after final adoption and publication in the manner prescribed by law.