The Master Plan, Ordinances and the Law

The Master Plan is the legal foundation for a New Jersey municipality’s zoning ordinances. The Land Use Element, to be discussed by the Planning Board in upcoming meetings, is the core of the master plan. It defines “the existing and proposed location, extent and intensity of development of land to be used in the future for [all] types of … purposes.”  Municipal Land Use Law N.J.S.40:55-D-18. “Today there is no question but that the master plan is the cornerstone supporting the zoning of a municipality, and its importance cannot be overstated.” Cox and Koenig,  New Jersey Zoning and Land Use Administration, (2016), 8-2, p. 137. Creating the master plan and its component elements is the sole responsibility of the Planning Board. The Township Committee has no jurisdiction over what goes into the master plan. The Planning Board (and the Board of Adjustment) are  “… not considered municipal agencies or departments, but rather, the boards are quasi-judicial entities that have independent statutory authority and are considered a separate body politic (political unit).” http://loveandlonglaw.com/wp-content/uploads/LoveLong-article-for-web.pdf “In a municipality, only municipal planning boards and zoning boards of adjustment are vested with power to rule on zoning and planning matters. See N.J.S.A. 40:55D-23 et seq. and -69 et seq. These statutory powers may not be adulterated or interfered with by acts of local governing bodies or officials.”  DILLER & FISHER V, ARCH. REV. BD. 246 N.J. Super. 362, 367-368 (Law Div, 1990) Zoning Ordinances: The Township Committee has sole authority to create ordinances governing land use,. N.J.S.A. 40:55D-62a. However, The clear intent of Municipal Land Use Law is that zoning ordinances may only be...