By Kevin Chambers, Ocean Grove resident and activist.
The State Legislature enacted the first zoning enabling and planning acts in 1928 and 1930, respectively. Within these acts the state mandated that municipalities may not exercise their authority in ways which conflict with authority exercised by county, state, or federal governments.
Since 1928, this act has made it illegal to land-lock* any property within the state of NJ. In other words, the Township was banned from writing into its zoning an ordinance that prohibits curb cuts or driveways. Also this prohibited the OGCMA from prohibiting any person from crossing their property to access their lot.
When the state enacted RSIS in 1968, it further required that all municipalities rewrite their zoning ordinances requiring that the definition for a conforming lot must now include on-site parking. This barred Neptune from using the 30×60 foot lot size or 1800 square foot lot size as a conforming lot size definition within its Master Plan and zoning ordinance. Since that time, Neptune has been in contempt of court with each of its hearings dealing with Ocean Grove.
Regardless of the illegal zoning Neptune has established for OG, state zoning law still requires parking, through either the ordinance or through a variance.
All applications for new construction must seek a variance within Neptune if their lot is less than 5,000 square feet, which is the legal definition for a conforming single family lot in Neptune. But no matter whether a variance is granted, Neptune’s zoning must include the right within its zoning to have a driveway. It cannot deny a driveway within its zoning; that is in violation of law and in contempt of court.
*In real estate, “landlocked” refers to a property that has no frontage or direct access to a public street, so the only way on or off the property is to cross land owned by someone else. Usually, a landlocked property gains street access through a legal permission called an easement.
CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL:
Clouds of myst’ry pouring confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages, trying to find the sun;
And I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll stop the rain.”