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State law in New Jersey requires planning and zoning board applicants to publish notice of their applications in major newspapers and to mail notices to property owners within 200 feet of their property of their application.

Current state law requires the applicants to place the notices in the mailbox 10 days prior to the public hearing.

In Lakewood, the Zoning Board meets on Monday night and the Planning Board meets on Tuesday. Therefore, many of the notices - which are sent via Certified Mail - initially arrive in the mail over Shabbos and are then redelivered on Monday because the Certified Mail requires the resident to sign for delivery.

As previously reported here on FAA News, bipartisan legislation which was introduced back in May 2022 would further protect New Jerseyans by extending the time required for public notice of land use applications to 21 days from the current 10.

The bill (S-2435) is sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) and Senator Joe Cryan (D-20).

Today, the bill finally cleared its first major hurdle as it received favorable consideration from the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

“Too often, entire neighborhoods are altered forever by large developments that affect traffic patterns, environmental conditions, and the quality of life, and these changes are approved before residents even know what hit them. People deserve sufficient opportunity to understand the scope of proposed developments that could alter their neighborhoods and communities.” Senator Bucco said. “Unfortunately, the current 10-day notice isn’t enough time to review the often-complex proposals and respond effectively."

“People have a right to know what’s going on in their own neighborhoods,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “By increasing the public notice period from 10 days to 21 days, residents and local entities will have a more adequate opportunity to participate in the process.”

"No one should feel like they didn’t have an opportunity to make their voice heard in their community, especially when it comes to matters that can drastically impact their quality of life,” Bucco added. “Extending the public review period will help foster a more collaborative and transparent dialogue between residents, their representatives, and developers. Greater transparency will be good for our communities.”

A sister bill (A4473) awaits consideration from the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.

The bill would need to clear the full Senate and Assembly before it can head to the governor's desk to become law.

Senator Bucco said that with the bill's "growing bipartisan support," he is hopeful legislative leadership will move forward with his bill to help residents keep up to date with potential real estate development in their communities.

The Township of Morris, on May 18, 2022 adopted a resolution supporting S-2435 and urging elected representatives in the State Senate to support its passage.

The Morris Township resolution noted that the New Jersey League of Municipalities voted in 2019 “to support and encourage the introduction of a state bill … to require applicants to send written notice of a public hearing postmarked at least 21 days prior to the scheduled public hearing.”

“No one deserves to be kept in the dark when it comes to development projects that have the potential to drastically impact their daily lives,” said Morris Township Mayor Mark Gyorfy. “Providing greater clarity to residents in advance of pending development hearings will empower communities to better-shape what the future holds for their towns.”

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Shabsi said...

This bill is sorely needed and would greatly benefit the public. As it currently stands, the developer sends out his notice at the 10-day mark and quite often by the time it gets delivered to the neighbors they barely have an opportunity to study and understand the scope and impact of the application. It really isn't fair and should be fixed to 21 days.

chatz said...

I always found it interesting that certain developers have being able to claim that they sent Notices even though none of the neighbors ever actually receive them. There's definitely some kind of shtick they do. (I'm pretty sure Adam Pfeffer can shed some light on this one for the right price.)

chaim said...

they specifically send out the notice on shabbos