Planning Boards are responsible for generating and updating a community's Master Plan. Other functions of the Planning Board involve subdivision and site plan review, creation of the official map and associated zoning ordinances and review of the capital improvements program for the Township. The Board is also empowered to review and approve "C" variances (departures from zoning ordinances) in conjunction with development applications. The Planning Board is involved in review of other state or federal programs or plans. The Board also assembles data for planning purposes and performs other advisory duties upon request by the Township Committee.
The Master Plan is a comprehensive, long-range plan intended to guide the growth and development of a community. It contains elements that provide for future economic development, housing, recreation, open space, transportation, community facilities and land use.
A primary element of the Master Plan is the Land Use Plan. This element serves as the basis for development of the Township's zoning ordinances, a set of local regulations that provides for controls on how the land in Jefferson is developed, occupied or utilized. The Land Use Plan is also implemented through a zoning map of zone categories as recommended in the Land Use Plan. Some areas in the Township have been upgraded in zoning protections due to extensive wetlands, environmental issues and/or lack of sewer service in area.
The Board is heavily involved in reviewing major subdivisions and site plans and finalizing the land use regulations that will support the zoning ordinances of the community. Subdivision review is required whenever any lot, tract or parcel of land is divided into two or more lots, tracts and parcels. Site plan reviews are required when someone proposes development for anything other than an individual lot application for detached one or two dwelling units.
Plans for development are available for public inspection in the Land Use Department located at the Municipal Building. The Planning Board meets regularly. Public participation is always encouraged and welcomed at these meetings.
For additional information on Planning and Zoning Boards, please visit the New Jersey Planning Officials site.