The Municipal Land Use Law is the New Jersey statue governing land subdivision and land use in the state. It is the cornerstone upon which all municipal land regulation is built. The underlying purposes of zoning and land regulation are focused in the public health, safety, morals and general welfare. The Municipal Land Use Law (“MLUL”) authorizes municipalities to adopt zoning regulations governing the density, lot area, floor area ratio, bulk and other related standards for commercial and residential properties.
In New Jersey, the municipal Planning Board prepares a master plan in conformity with the State Statutes. The governing body then adopts zoning standards which implement the master plan land use recommendations. Variances from specific compliance with the requirements of the zoning standards may be granted upon application to the municipal zoning board.
Municipalities also include in their zoning ordinances regulations governing such things as accessory structures (sheds, pools, etc.), outdoor storage and parking.
The enforcement of the local zoning ordinances is in the purview of the Zoning Officer, who is usually appointed by the governing body. Violation of the zoning ordinances may be addressed in Municipal Court or by injunctive relief at the Superior Court level.
The Planning Department assists in all land usage and future development cases. Applications for zoning variances, subdivisions and site plans are processed through this office. The Planning Department also helps to develop the Municipalities Master Plan and provides professional planning advice and service to the Planning Board, Zoning Board and Environmental Commission.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment is a municipal board established for the purpose of granting relief to homeowners, businesses, and other developers from the strict application of the Municipal Zoning Ordinance.
The Planning Board hears land development applications including Minor Subdivisions, Major Subdivisions and Site Plans. They also update ordinances and the Master Plan.