Borough of Hopewell, NJ
Mercer County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The authority to require site plan approval is contained in R.S. 40:55D-37 et seq.
[Ord. 292; Ord. 508; Ord. 597 ; Ord. 691]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Site Plan Ordinance of the Borough of Hopewell.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish rules, regulations, standards and procedures for review of all development other than single or two-family dwellings in order to:
a. 
Preserve existing natural resources and give proper consideration to the physical constraints of the land.
b. 
Provide for safe and efficient vehicular and pedestrian circulation.
c. 
Provide for appropriate screening, landscaping, signing and lighting.
d. 
Ensure efficient, safe and aesthetic land development.
e. 
Provide for compliance with appropriate design standards to ensure adequate light and air, proper building arrangements and minimum adverse effect on surrounding property.
f. 
Develop proper safeguards to minimize any adverse impact on the environment.
g. 
Ensure the provision of adequate water supply, drainage and stormwater management, sanitary facilities and other utilities and services.
h. 
Provide for appropriate recreation, open space and public use areas.
i. 
Insure protection of potable water supply reservoirs from pollution or other degradation of water quality resulting from the development or other uses of surrounding land areas, which provision shall be in accordance with siting, performance, or other standards or guidelines adopted therefor by the Department of Environmental Protection and Energy.
j. 
Insure conformity with the public safety regulations concerning stormwater detention facilities adopted pursuant to R.S. 40:55D-38 and reflected in stormwater management plans and stormwater management ordinances adopted pursuant to 40:55D-93 et seq.
a. 
Planning Board. The provisions of this chapter shall be administered by the planning board except as noted below.
b. 
Board of Adjustment. The provisions of this chapter shall be administered by the board of adjustment in applications before the board of adjustment involving a use variance, as provided for in R.S. 40:55D-70d of the Municipal Land Use Law.
Site plan approval shall not be required for detached single- or two-family dwelling unit buildings, or for conversion of a single-family dwelling to a two-family dwelling.
MAJOR SITE PLAN
Shall mean any site plans for the development of land not classified as a minor site plan.
MINOR SITE PLAN
Shall mean a development plan for one or more lots which proposes exterior alterations to an existing use, less than five additional parking spaces, less than 500 additional square feet of building gross floor area, and a total of not more than 10% of additional lot coverage; does not involve any new street or extension of any off-tract improvement; and contains all of the development information required, and in the format specified, under subsection 13-3.2.
[Ord. 292; Ord. 331; Ord. 508]
Unless exempted in section 13-1.4, a site plan shall be reviewed and approved by the approving authority, or waived as hereinafter provided, prior to the issuance of a building permit or certificate of occupancy for the following:
a. 
Any new structure or use.
b. 
Any addition to an existing structure or use.
c. 
Construction or addition to a parking lot which is not accessory to a one- or two-family dwelling, or the construction of any new ingress or egress to a public right-of-way.
d. 
Conversion of a one- or two-family dwelling to three or more dwelling units.
e. 
Any change in use of any nonresidential use unless the zoning officer determines that the new use is permitted by borough ordinance or prior planning or zoning board approvals and will not affect the existing drainages, circulation, lighting, buffering, landscaping, parking or other site considerations.
f. 
Any new multi-family structure or use.
g. 
Any addition to an existing multi-family structure or use. In addition, an applicant shall apply for a zoning permit, as referenced in section 10A-4.4, in connection with any proposed change in use.
The approving authority may waive site plan approval requirements upon a finding by the authority that the proposed construction or alteration or change of occupancy or use does not affect existing circulation, drainage, relationship of buildings to each other, landscaping, buffering, lighting or other considerations of site plan review, and all requirements of the zoning ordinance are met. The approving authority may waive the requirement for a public hearing, in its discretion, on any application.
The proposed structure or development shall meet all requirements of all applicable codes, ordinances and specifications of the municipality, county, state or federal governments or other agencies with jurisdiction over matters pertaining to site development, except as noted elsewhere in this chapter.
The site plan or subsequent amendments thereto shall be approved as hereinafter set forth. The approving authority, in approving such site plan, may impose reasonable and lawful conditions or requirements designated or specified on or in connection therewith, which conditions and requirements shall be provided and maintained as a condition to the establishment, maintenance and continuance of any use or occupancy of any structure to which they are appurtenant. The approving authority may require and accept, in accordance with the standards adopted by ordinance for the purpose of assuring the installation and maintenance of on-tract improvements, the furnishing of a performance guarantee and the provision for a maintenance guarantee in accordance with subsection 11-8.5. As to the required installation of improvements, the provisions set forth in subsection 11-10.2 shall apply.
In addition to referral of site plans to other agencies required by law to review site plans, the approving authority may refer plans to other local, county, state, federal, private or semi-public agencies for their recommendations within their particular fields of expertise.
The approving authority, when acting upon applications for preliminary site plan approval, shall have the power to grant such exceptions from the requirements of subsections 13-4.5 and 13-4.6 as may be reasonable and within the general purpose and intent of this chapter if the literal enforcement of one or more provisions of these subsections is impracticable or will exact undue hardship because of peculiar conditions pertaining to the land in question.
The planning board, when reviewing applications for site plans, shall have the power to grant certain variances in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 10A, Land Use Procedures.
Public notice shall be required for all site plans which include, as part of their application, requests for variances under this subsection. Such public notice shall be provided by the applicant in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 10A, Land Use Procedures.
a. 
Less Than 10 Acres and Less Than 10 Dwelling Units. Upon the submission of a complete application for a site plan for 10 acres of land or less than 10 dwelling units or less, the approving authority shall grant or deny preliminary approval within 45 days of the date of such submission or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant, except that if the application for site plan approval also involves an application for a relief pursuant to R.S. 40:55D-60, the approving authority shall grant or deny preliminary approval within 95 days of the date of submission of a complete application, or within such further time as may be consented to by the application. The time for the board's review shall not begin to run until the submission of a complete application with the required fee. If an application for development is found to be incomplete, the developer shall be notified in writing of the deficiencies therein by the board or the board's designee for the determination of completeness within 45 days of the submission of such application or it shall be deemed to be properly submitted.
b. 
More Than 10 Acres or More Than 10 Dwelling Units. Upon the submission of a complete application for a site plan for more than 10 acres or more than 10 dwelling units, the approving authority shall grant or deny preliminary approval within 95 days of the date of such submission or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant. The time for the board's review shall not begin to run until the submission of a complete application with the required fee. If an application for development is found to be incomplete, the developer shall be notified in writing of the deficiencies therein by the board or the board's designee for the determination of completeness within 45 days of the submission of such application or it shall be deemed to be properly submitted.
c. 
By Board of Adjustment. Upon submission to the board of adjustment of a complete application for site plan approval pursuant to R.S. 40:55D-76b, the board of adjustment shall grant or deny approval within 120 days of the date of such submission or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant. The time for the board's review shall not begin to run until the submission of a complete application with the required fee. If an application for development is found to be incomplete, the developer shall be notified in writing of the deficiencies therein by the board or the board's designee for the determination of completeness within 45 days of the submission of such application or it shall be deemed to be properly submitted.
An appeal from any final decision of the planning board may be taken to the borough council, provided such appeal shall be taken in accordance with R.S. 40:55D-17.
[Ord. 292; Ord. 383; Ord. 479; Ord. 691]
Applications for preliminary site plan review shall be filed, on forms provided, with the secretary of the planning board or zoning board at least 21 days prior to the scheduled meeting at which consideration is desired.
All major and minor site plans, as defined under subsections 13-1.5a and 13-1.5b, shall be prepared by a professional engineer or architect, and shall contain the required information and in the format specified on the checklist of submission requirements for each particular type of site plan. Checklists and site plan application forms are available from the Secretary of the Planning and Zoning Board at Borough Hall.
Specific design standards shall conform to applicable borough ordinances. In reviewing any site plan, and prior to approval thereof, the approving authority shall find that:
a. 
The design and arrangement of proposed buildings and parking areas includes consideration of an aesthetically pleasing design and efficient arrangement. Particular attention has been given to safety and fire protection, and the visual and functional impact of the proposal on surrounding development and contiguous and adjacent buildings and lands.
b. 
Buffering is located around the perimeter of the site to minimize the impact of headlights of vehicles, noise, light from structures, the movement of people and vehicles, and to shield activities from adjacent properties when necessary. Buffering may consist of fencing, evergreens, shrubs, bushes, deciduous trees or combinations thereof to achieve the stated objectives.
c. 
Landscaping is provided as part of the overall site plan design and is integrated into building arrangements, topography, parking, and buffering requirements. Landscaping may include trees, bushes, shrubs, ground cover, perennials, annuals, plants, sculpture, art and the use of buildings and paving materials in an imaginative manner.
d. 
Sanitary waste disposal and water supply has been reviewed by the borough engineer. Particular emphasis has been given to the adequacy of existing systems, and the need for improvements both on site and off site, to meet sewage needs and to maintain an adequate supply of water at sufficient pressure.
e. 
Surface drainage and soil erosion and sediment control proposals have been reviewed by the borough engineer. On and off site erosion shall not be caused or worsened either during or after construction. It has been demonstrated that surface drainage from the site will not increase the potential of area or downstream flooding.
f. 
The design and arrangement of pedestrian and vehicular traffic movement within and adjacent to the site has been reviewed with particular emphasis on the provision and layout of parking areas, off-street loading and unloading, movement of people, goods and vehicles from access roads within the site, between buildings, and between buildings and vehicles. For example, large parking areas should be subdivided by landscaped aisles for traffic control, pedestrian safety and aesthetic considerations.
g. 
Access to the site from adjacent roads has been designed so as to interfere as little as possible with traffic flow on these roads and to permit vehicles a convenient and safe ingress and egress to the site.
h. 
Signs have been designed so as to be harmonious with other signs on the site, and located so as to achieve their purpose without constituting hazards to vehicles and pedestrians.
i. 
Adequate lighting has been provided to ensure safe movement of persons and vehicles and for security purposes. Lighting standards shall be of a type and height acceptable to the approving authority. Directional lights shall be arranged so as to minimize glare and reflection on adjacent properties. All electric, telephone, and similar utilities shall be under ground whenever feasible.
j. 
Garbage disposal provisions are acceptable in terms of adequate storage facilities, vermin and rodent control, and aesthetic considerations. All systems shall meet municipal specifications as to installation and construction.
a. 
The requirements contained in Chapter 12, Zoning, as they relate to circulation, parking, performance standards, location of structures, setbacks, yards, bulk, height and coverage shall apply to site plan approval.
b. 
The design criteria established in Chapter 11, Land Subdivision, shall apply, where appropriate, to site plan approval.
c. 
Visual Design Considerations. Site plan design shall consider the Visual Design Plan of the 1997 Borough Master Plan and the following building design guidelines:
1. 
Building massing and scale:
(a) 
Buildings with expansive blank walls, and all curtain wall structures are prohibited.
(b) 
Flat, shed and mansard roofs are not recommended; gable roof designs are encouraged.
(c) 
A human scale should be achieved through the use of such scale elements as windows, doors, columns, and canopies.
2. 
Building materials:
(a) 
Building materials should be compatible with the predominant materials of adjacent structures. The recommended standard is painted clapboard.
(b) 
Aluminum siding, metal panels, and mirrored glass surfaces are prohibited.
(c) 
Metal awnings are discouraged. Awnings should be solid or striped canvas.
3. 
Nonresidential building details:
(a) 
If several storefronts are located in one building, they should be unified in design treatment; e.g., the design of windows and door openings, the use of materials and colors.
(b) 
All storefronts should include display windows with a sill height not more than two feet from grade.
(c) 
Surface detailing should be integral with the structure rather than applied for decorative purposes.
(d) 
Exterior mounted mechanical and electrical equipment shall be architecturally screened.
(e) 
The design of all street furniture (benches, phone booths, trash receptacles, etc.) should be consistent (design style, color, material) with overall building design concept.
4. 
Color:
(a) 
The painting of buildings in bold colors, patterns, checks, or using buildings as signs, is prohibited.
The approving authority may waive submission of any required exhibits in appropriate cases and for specific site plans.
A complete application for final approval shall consist of the following:
a. 
A properly completed final site plan application form and the required fee.
b. 
Fifteen copies of final site plans that are substantially the same as the approved preliminary site plans.
c. 
Proof that all taxes and assessments for local improvements on the property have been paid.
d. 
Bonds posted to ensure the installation of all on and off tract improvements in a form suitable to the borough engineer and the borough attorney.
e. 
All other necessary documentation as deemed necessary by the approving authority.
[Ord. 292; Ord. 383]
a. 
Purpose. This review is intended to eliminate unnecessarily detailed plan preparation for those plans eligible for waiver, and to also provide other applicants with planning board recommendations prior to required detailed plan preparation. However, an applicant may, at his option, omit this review stage and proceed directly to preliminary site plan review.
b. 
Filing; Contents of Sketch. Any applicant for sketch site plan review shall first file with the secretary of the planning board a completed application form and 15 copies of proposed site and building plans at least 21 days prior to the scheduled meeting at which consideration is desired.
c. 
Time for and Effect of Approval. At a public hearing of the planning board, and within 45 days of sketch plan filing, the board shall, by formal vote, either waive site plan approval requirements or conditionally approve sketch plan for preliminary review. If site plan approval requirements are waived, the sketch plan shall be so validated and notification of such waiver shall be sent to the building inspector together with one copy of the validated plan.
If no action is taken within 45 days of sketch plan filing or if the sketch plan is conditionally approved for preliminary review the applicant shall prepare a preliminary site plan for submittal to the planning board. In its conditional approval of a sketch plan, the planning board may direct the applicant to make changes in the preliminary plan in conformance with the design standards and related standards of subsections 13-3.3 and 13-3.4. Conditional approval of a sketch plan for preliminary review does not give the applicant permission to proceed with construction.
a. 
Time Periods. The time for preliminary site plan review shall not begin to run until the submission of a complete application and fee. Unless the applicant is informed in writing by the secretary of the planning board within 45 days of the actual submission of the application that such application is incomplete, as determined by the planning board or by the site plan review committee, such application shall be deemed complete on the date submitted.
b. 
Referral of Application by Planning Board. The secretary of the planning board shall immediately transmit copies of such plans and request comments from the following:
Building inspector
Engineer
Planner
County planning board
Board of health
c. 
Considerations of Planning Board. At a public meeting, the planning board shall consider the site plan submission and the comments. The planning board shall be guided in its action by the design and related standards of subsections 13-3.3 and 13-3.4. The applicant shall have the right to appear before the planning board and be heard with respect to the submission.
d. 
Actions by Planning Board. After completion of its review, the planning board shall approve or disapprove the submission, stating its findings and the reasons for its actions. Approval may be made conditional upon the applicant's adoption of specified changes in the site plan and submission of an amended site plan indicating the changes.
The action of the planning board shall be noted on the site plan. If the planning board disapproves a site plan, the stated reasons for disapproval shall be remedied prior to further consideration. If the planning board requires a substantial change in layout, the applicant may be required to submit a new site plan, which shall be proceeded on as in the case of the original filing except that an additional fee not be required.
e. 
Rights Under Preliminary Approval. Preliminary approval of a site plan shall confer upon the applicant the following rights for a three-year period from the date of preliminary approval:
1. 
The general terms and conditions on which preliminary approval was granted shall not be changed, including but not limited to use requirements; layout and design standards for streets, curbs and sidewalks; lot size; yard dimensions and off-tract improvements; natural resources to be preserved on the site; vehicular and pedestrian circulation; parking and loading; screening; landscaping and location of structures; exterior lighting both for safety reasons and street lightings. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the borough from modifying by ordinance such general terms and conditions of preliminary approval as they relate to public health and safety.
2. 
The applicant may submit for final approval on or before the expiration date of preliminary approval the whole or a section of sections of the preliminary site plan.
3. 
The applicant may apply for and the approving authority may grant extensions on such preliminary approval for additional periods of at least one year but not to exceed a total extension of two years, provided that if the design standards have been revised by ordinance, such revised standards may govern at the discretion of the approving authority.
Where review or approval of the application by the County Planning Board is required by R.S. 40:27-6.6. the approving authority shall condition any approval that it grants upon the timely receipt of a favorable report by the County Planning Board. The absence of a report from the County Planning Board within the review period shall be considered an approval by the County Planning Board.
a. 
Time for Approval. The planning board shall grant final approval if the board finds that the detailed drawings, specifications and estimates of the application for final approval conform to ordinance requirements for final approval and the conditions of the preliminary approval. Final approval shall be granted or denied within 45 days after submission of a complete application to the secretary of the planning board, or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant.
b. 
Failure to Render Decision. Failure of the planning board to act within the period prescribed shall constitute final approval as submitted. An applicant may request a certificate of the secretary of the planning board as to the failure of the planning board to act, and it shall be sufficient evidence of approval.
c. 
Final Plan Review Waiver. The approving authority may grant final approval at the time of preliminary approval provided that all of the requirements for final approval are met at the time of preliminary approval.
d. 
Effect of Final Approval. The zoning requirements applicable to the preliminary approval first granted and all other rights conferred upon the applicant pursuant to paragraph 13-3.2f, whether conditionally or otherwise, shall not be changed for a period of two years after the date of final approval. If the applicant has followed the standards prescribed for final approval, the reviewing board may extend such period of protection for extensions of one year, but not to exceed three extensions. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the granting of final approval terminates the time period of preliminary approval pursuant to subsection 13-3.2 for the section granted final approval.
[Ord. 292; Ord. 425]
Every developer, as a condition for approval of a site plan, shall be required to pay his pro-rata share of the cost of providing reasonable and necessary street improvements and water, sewerage and drainage facilities, and easements therefor, located outside the property limits of the development but, necessitated or required by construction or improvements within such development. The off-tract improvements for which the developer must contribute shall be based on the circulation plan and the utility service plan elements of the borough master plan. The requirements and standards regarding installation and proration of costs set forth in subsection 11-10.5 of the borough land subdivision ordinance, with regard to off-tract improvements, shall be applicable to site plans as well. Where a developer pays the amount determined as his pro-rata share under protest, he shall institute legal action within one year of such payment in order to preserve the right to a judicial determination as to the fairness and reasonableness of such amount.
The approving authority may require the construction or installation of improvements as set forth in chapter II. Land Subdivision. Prior to the issuance of a building permit, and/or certificate of occupancy, the approving authority shall require the installation or construction of such improvements or the posting of performance guarantees in the form of cash and bond, adequate to cover the cost of all such improvements and inspection fees.
All requirements of the Land Subdivision Chapter shall be met with respect to the form of performance guarantees, installation of construction, inspections, acceptance and provision for maintenance bonds.
[Ord. 349; Ord. 383]
The fee for sketch site plans, waived site plan, preliminary site plan and final site plan approvals shall be specified in Chapter 10A, subsection 10A-4.4b.
[Ord. 292; Ord. 334; Ord. 736]
Approved development plans (including, but not limited to site plans, subdivision plans, architectural plans and elevations, variance plans and board resolutions, including all conditions and obligations set forth in resolutions) shall be binding upon the applicant. Any changes from the approved development plans shall require resubmission and reapproval by the planning board. The zoning officer is hereby given the duty, power and authority to enforce this chapter.
No building permit shall be issued for any development which is or has been the subject of a development application until both a zoning permit and a temporary certificate of conformance have been issued by the zoning officer. An applicant must first obtain a permanent certificate of conformance before applying for a certificate of occupancy or certificate of approval.
A temporary certificate of conformance shall be issued by the zoning officer only after:
a. 
The applicant receives development plan approval (site plan, subdivision, variance or other required approval).
b. 
The applicant has satisfied all preconstruction conditions in the resolution of approval, including the provision of performance guarantee and developer's agreement.
c. 
All incomplete site improvements which were required by the final approval which may not have been previously guaranteed shall have a performance guarantee posted in accordance with this chapter.
The temporary certificate shall be granted for a specified period of time not exceeding one year. This period of time may be extended for good cause upon application to the zoning officer. The zoning officer shall extend the temporary certificate where the development approvals are vested within a period of protection as provided for under the Municipal Land Use Law.
A permanent certificate of conformance shall be issued by the zoning officer only after:
a. 
All site improvements have been completed in accordance with the approved development plans and any approved amendments thereto.
b. 
The applicant's or developer's engineer has certified in writing that all improvements have been constructed and installed and are operating in accordance with the approved development plans and any approved amendments thereto.
c. 
Written confirmation from the borough engineer that all improvements have been constructed and installed and are operating in accordance with the approved development plans and any approved amendments thereto.
d. 
Maintenance guarantee, if required, has been posted.
e. 
All inspection fees or other outstanding fees have been paid.
f. 
All other conditions required by the planning board have been met.
a. 
If at any time any person fails to adhere to any of the conditions of the approved development plans, this shall be construed as being in violation of this chapter and shall reasonably be grounds for the revocation of the temporary certificate of site plan conformance until compliance is achieved. Revocation shall be by written notice sent by certified mail by the zoning officer. However, the zoning officer may make the same effective at a future date, and if prior to said date such compliance is achieved, the notice may be withdrawn.
a. 
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 chapter or other regulation made under authority conferred hereby, or fails to adhere to any of the conditions in the approved development plans or set forth in the resolution of approval, the zoning officer, or an interested party, in addition to other remedies, may institute appropriate action or proceeding 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.
b. 
For each and every violation of any provision of this chapter the owner, contractor, or other persons interested as general agent, architect, building contractor, owner, tenant, or any other persons who commit, take part, or assist in any violation of this chapter, or who may maintain any building or premises in which any violation of this chapter shall exist, and who shall have refused to abate the violation within five days after written notice shall have been served upon him either by mail or by personal service, shall for each and every violation be subject to imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days or by a fine not exceeding $500 or both. Each day, in excess of five days after such written notice is served, that such violation continues, shall be considered a separate and specific violation of this chapter.