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Posts Tagged ‘Neptune Land Use laws’

Ocean Grove citizens refrain from swimming.  Shouldn’t everyone, including Township officials,  follow the Town’s land use laws? Photograph by Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net

By Jack Bredin, Blogfinger researcher and reporter and Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.net

Police power comes to the State of New Jersey from the federal government

The State can use its police power to adopt municipal land use law as well as state regulations and procedures for the development of land within the State

When the State grants a municipal charter to a municipality, it also delivers police power to the community along with the charter.

Municipal police power can only be activated at a meeting of the elected governing body when it is called to order with a majority of its members present, and the public and the press have  been invited to attend.

The town can then create a police department and adopt a zoning ordinance that is consistent with NJ State municipal land use law “to protect the health, safety, and general welfare” of the citizens.

Although it is not required, the town also has the option of creating a planning board to act on their behalf in matters of planning,  zoning,  site plan, and subdivision approval.

The planning board must then adopt a “master plan,” and the zoning ordinance must be consistent  with the master plan.

The governing body must also appoint a zoning board of adjustment.

This may all sound confusing, but a lot of work by state land use attorneys, the town attorney, the planning board, and their professional planners goes into this fine-tuned process.

In the end, the master plan is the official guide for the development of the town, and it is to be used by the governing body, the board of adjustment, the residents and developers.  Anyone can get a copy of the master plan at the town clerk’s office.

And anyone, including developers, who come bearing gifts and  would like the town to tailor the master plan and zoning ordinances to fit their development plans should make their proposal in person with their professionals  at a public meeting and not in back of a limo heading towards a cozy steak house.

Sometimes such a scenario results, like magic, in such a proposal being placed on the agenda. Such manipulation creates “the perception of impropriety.”

Also, when a town employee or professional grants a zoning approval (as with Mary’s Place) or changes the tax map without the authority to do so, it raises ethical questions.

The same applies to questionable approvals of all kinds, such as for undersize lots, ignoring code violations that might result in demolition by neglect, subdivisions recorded on the tax map without an actual subdivision approval, and variances granted without an application.

Could all of these phony maneuvers affect “the health, safety and general welfare” even when a building does not burn down?  Of course they can, because when the local government doesn’t protect the citizens’ best interest,  all sorts of public harm could result, as in the worsening pollution of Wesley Lake.

We the people should not have to fight with local government to enforce the law.  Elected officials, according to Gov. John Kasich, former presidential candidate and author of a new book*, have an obligation “to take us to a better place and to build a team with the citizens.”    He says, “Our leaders need a good head and a good heart.”

Are we getting all that in Ocean Grove? Are our elected officials acting in our best interest?   Or do they seem to prefer being invisible while they manipulate the land use laws?

 

JOHN C. REILLY  from the soundtrack of the film “Chicago.”

 

*  John Kasich.  Two Paths: America Divided or United.

 

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