[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Paramus 10-26-1999 by Ord. No. 99-32, effective 1-1-2001. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as "Contribution Disclosure Ordinance."
Municipal master plans include well-thought-out, long-term decisions about the development capacity of the community; and
Municipal master plans are implemented through the enactment of local land use ordinances; and
Deviations from these local ordinances, by way of variances pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d provide opportunities for significant private gain; and
Openness in government and a fair and impartial variance applications process are crucial to assuring the continuing integrity of the municipal master plan, its implementing ordinances and the integrity of the variance application process; and
Disclosure of political contributions by property owners, developers and professionals will enhance the Borough's existing commitment to openness in government and provide further guaranties for a fair and impartial variance application process, and
Therefore, it is accordingly found and determined that the paramount public interest in enhancing the Borough of Paramus's commitment to openness in government, in providing further guaranties for a fair and impartial variance application process and in promoting morals and the general welfare through the integrity of the municipal planning process requires the creation of this chapter of the Borough Code and 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 zoning variances.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- APPLICATION CHECKLIST
- The list of submission requirements adopted by ordinance and provided by the Borough, through its appropriate officials(s), to a developer, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.3.
- 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 this chapter, any such commitments or assumption shall be deemed to have been a contribution upon the date when such commitment is made or liability assumed.
- CONTRIBUTION DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
- 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. 19:25-10.1 to 19:25-10.4.
- 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.
- Any person or entity whose principals are required to be licensed by New Jersey law and who supplies legal representation, expert testimony and/or written reports in support of an application. Professionals shall include both any individuals supplying the representation, testimonies or reports, as well as the firms or entities in which said individuals practice and/or are employed.
Any applicant for a variance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d shall include in the application the following items: 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 to 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 into any of the categories established in the preceding sentence, the applicant shall include, in the application, a separate contribution disclosure statement for every owner of the property in question.
During the pendency of the application process and until final site plan approval is granted, any applicant for a variance, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d, shall amend its contribution disclosure statements to include continuing disclosure of all contributions within the scope of disclosure requirement of the above subsection.
The Borough's Application Checklist Ordinance, created pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.3, shall be amended to require contribution disclosure statements from any and all owners, developers or professionals applying for or providing testimony, plans or reports in support of any application for a variance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d.
The Borough's Zoning Board of Adjustment shall amend its application checklist to include the contribution disclosure statements specified in the above subsection.
An application shall not be deemed complete by the appropriate Borough administrative official or accepted for public hearing by the Borough's Zoning Board of Adjustment until the required contribution disclosure statements are submitted.
All contribution disclosure statements shall be available in the office of the Borough Clerk for review by any member of the public.
It is the intent of this chapter 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.