Check In on Planning & Zoning Offices … How are you doing?
Applications – Hopefully at this point all PB/ZB Administrators should have some handle as to the status of the applications already in the process. If you haven’t done so already, reach out via email (if you have remote access to your office system or have someone who is going into your office send them) and ask for an extension through July 31, 2020.
Does your town have a policy that no public can submit to the offices and requiring all submission must be done either electronically or by mail/UPS/Fed Ex etc.? Check with your supervisors/administration if this is something that can be considered.
Formal Hearings – Due to the restrictions on public gatherings, public hearings are still in limbo as the various legal teams, state and local, figure out compliance with OPMA & MLUL. If you are in contact with your Board attorneys, discuss the challenges you face on the municipal side:
- public access to view application prior to the hearing
- no electronic process to file applications
- controlling public comments during the webinars to ensure the Board hearings follow the MLUL/OPMA statutes
At this point, everyone is dealing with the new normal and it will take time to work out all of the details.
Emails – Many applicants and attorneys may seem overly pushy as to when to get back to business. You’ll receive inquires as to next hearing, when can the sign off occur, need a building permit – the list goes on and on.
This is a good opportunity for you to circle the wagons of your support groups – either by email or meeting electronically through Zoom. Schedule these meetings weekly. Talking through what is facing the office on a daily basis and how best to respond provides a tremendous amount of support and shows the public that they are not forgotten.
NJAPZA is here for you through these times … please reach out to us with your questions.