Department of Engineering, Construction Services, Code Enforcement and Community Development
Overview:The Department of Engineering, Construction Services, Code Enforcement and Community Development consists of four divisions and several boards, all related to the overall development of the Township. The Department includes engineering, planning, zoning, conservation, community development, construction services, affordable housing and code enforcement. It also provides administrative services to the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Environmental Commission. The purpose of these divisions and boards is to promote and ensure the reasonable and appropriate use of our lands and environmental resources.
The Division of Planning provides administrative services to the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Environmental Commission. The full-time staff of the division includes a licensed professional planner, a zoning officer, and a certified geographical information specialist. This division handles a number of functions, including the review of development applications and variance requests presented to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment, issuance of zoning permits, protection of trees under the woodlands management ordinance, administration of expenditures made under the Community Development Block Grant Program, overall coordination of the Township's affordable housing program, preparation and regular update of recommendations regarding the municipal Master Plan and development regulations ordinance, coordination with county and state long range planning objectives, technical assistance to the Environmental Commission, and coordination and technical advice regarding redevelopment areas in the township. In many respects, the Division of Planning is the research and recommendation arm of Township Council, providing information for council in order to assist the process of carrying out the policy objectives of the Township.
Zoning Permits:The Zoning Officer is responsible for the review of proposed developments to determine conformity with Township zoning laws. He also can assist in interpretations of the ordinance. Sheds, additions to single family homes, and new single family homes are generally able to be issued a permit if they conform to zoning laws. Commercial and multifamily residential developments generally require approval by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment prior to issuance of a zoning permit.
Planning Board:The Planning Board has jurisdiction to review and approve site plans, subdivisions, and dimensional variances requested as a part of those applications. Numerous functions are under the jurisdiction of the Planning Board in addition to the review of development applications, including the review of capital projects by various levels of government, preparation and adoption of a Master Plan guiding long-range goals and objectives for the Township, review and recommendation on amendments to land development and zoning regulations, and recommendations to Township Council on matters related to redevelopment.
Zoning Board of Adjustment:The Zoning Board of Adjustment hears and decides matters that are not consistent with the zoning regulations. Individual homes that do not meet the standards of the ordinance are heard by the board, and the board hears applications where uses are not permitted by the ordinance. The proceeding is quasi-judicial in nature, and it is the function of the board to protect the intent and purpose of the zone plan while at the same time providing relief where it is warranted. Strict statutory guidelines are followed in these matters. The board is also empowered to provide interpretations of the zoning ordinance, and to hear appeals where it is alleged that the Zoning Officer or other administrative agent of the Township has made an error in the administration of the ordinance.
Environmental Commission:The Environmental Commission has the responsibility to review and comment, where it deems appropriate, on development applications heard by the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment. It is also to maintain an inventory of natural resources in the Township, identifying those of unique environmental interest so they can be recommended for protection. Many of the functions of the commission are also carried out by regional, county and state agencies, including the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
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