If you want to build a new structure or renovate an existing structure, you have to submit an application to the Planning Board. The application can either be a site plan, sub division, conditional use, or variance application. In addition to approvals for changes to the structure, the application can also address the length of the setbacks and driveway and the number of parking spaces. If the application cannot be approved due to the building codes then the business can apply for a variance from the Planning Board. Application packets can be obtained from the Planning Board Secretary and are returned to the secretary when completed. Included in the application are the architectural plans and other plans from licensed contractors. Once the application is submitted, the Borough’s Construction Official looks over the application and the other borough departments (such as Engineering, the Police and Fire Department) can look over the application to see how it pertains to them. These departments submit their findings and recommendations to the planning board. The borough gets 45 days to review the application. Once the Borough Departments have reviewed the application, a hearing must be scheduled within a second 45 day period. The business has to publish a legal notice in the newspaper and mail a certified mailing to property owners that are within 200 feet of the property requesting approval. The business gets a listing of the property owners with the application from the planning board. The business must send this mailing within at least ten days of the hearing. The hearing is limited to three hours. This means that more than one meeting could be necessary. The business is represented by an attorney and the hearing usually involves bringing in experts, such as a planner or engineer, to describe the plan in detail. The final step is that the Planning Board votes on the application, and the majority rules. Then the board adopts a resolution of do’s and don’ts. The Planning Board Attorney writes a summary of the hearing and conditions that must adhered to. A resolution is written which memorializes the determination of the board. This is voted on after the summary is written. During construction the town engineer monitors the job. There is a final inspection and a certificate of occupancy must be issued to move into the new space. In order to facilitate this process, building codes are in a book which can be purchased from the planning board.
Planning Board Contact: Margaret Koontz 908-665-1400