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December 16, 2017
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Land Use  
Frequently Asked Questions  
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   Land Use
      - Do I need approval for new or changes to existing signage?
      - Do I need Board approval to open a business in an existing building?
      - How do I know if the location I am considering is located in the Historic Business District or Main Street Corridor?
      - How long will it take to get an approval?
      - What is the Main Street Corridor and how does it affect my ability to make improvements to my property?
      - What types of documentation are required for the various Land Use Applications to the Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board?
      - When is Historic Preservation Commission approval required?
 


    Land Use
          Do I need approval for new or changes to existing signage?
 

Change of signage due to change of business use or ownership is part of the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment application.  If the business is located in the Historic Business District, Historic Preservation Commission review is also required (See HPC forms).  If the business is in the East Business District or the Limited Business District review by the Main Street Corridor committee may be required.  In all cases after the required board, commission or committee review, a sign permit is required from the construction office.



          Do I need Board approval to open a business in an existing building?
 

Yes.  All changes of occupancy in an existing building require Planning Board or Board of Adjustment approval.  The proposed use should first be reviewed with the Zoning Officer.  If it is a permitted use, an application (See Forms Center) must be made to the Planning Board for Site Plan approval or for Waiver of Site Plan depending on the facts of the case.  If it is a non-permitted use, a “d” variance (Use Variance) would have to be sought from the Board of Adjustment, along with Site Plan approval or waiver.



          How do I know if the location I am considering is located in the Historic Business District or Main Street Corridor?
 

To determine if the location is located in one of the overlay districts, you can get an initial idea by viewing the Zoning Map in the Engineering Forms section or by visiting the Master Plan Historic Preservation section. Before you take any final decisions, you should verify with the Zoning Officer.



          How long will it take to get an approval?
 

There is no guarantee that approval will be given.  Procedurally, however, after review of applications for completeness, presentation of the proposal and/or formal hearing, the Boards and Commissions make decisions based on Borough Ordinances and New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law.  Timeframes for decisions are outlined in the Municipal Land Use Law. They vary by application and are subject to the Board calendar at the time of application.

In some cases of change of permitted use, the Planning Board has authorized its Technical Review Committee to review the application and make a decision.  In most cases this expedites the process.  The applicant should keep in mind, however that if there are any complexities or should the Planning Board want to hear the application, the process might be extended. 



          What is the Main Street Corridor and how does it affect my ability to make improvements to my property?
 

Main Street is the major thoroughfare through town and provides a streetscape which defines Mendham Borough, not only to people passing through, but to residents as well.  Main Street contributes to the present and future historic character of the Borough.  The Historic District Overlay Zone and the Historic Business Zone Ordinances are designed to preserve the character of Main Street within the center of town. The Main Street Corridor Ordinance and the proposed expansion of the Historic District help to preserve the character end to end.

The Main Street Corridor is defined in the Borough Master Plan and runs from the eastern boundary of the Historic District along both sides of Main Street to Cold Hill Road.  In December 2007, the Borough Council adopted an ordinance for special civic design elements for the Main Street Corridor. 

The purpose of the ordinance is to help maintain the village streetscape through design features and location of structures in support of the Historic Business Zone and the Historic District Overlay Zone.  The details of the ordinance can be viewed by visiting the Historic Preservation Commission web page and clicking on Ordinance 6-07.

The ordinance contains provisions for commercial and residential reviews of external improvements.  In the case of Planning Board and Board of Adjustment applications, the ordinance will be implemented by those Boards respectively.  In the case of  improvements requiring permits only, a Main Street Corridor Design Review Committee will provide the review before permits will be issued. 

In most cases, the design criteria are voluntary for residences and binding for commercial properties.  Zoning regulations for locations of structures are applicable to both.  Any questions dealing with your specific property should be directed to the Zoning Officer.



          What types of documentation are required for the various Land Use Applications to the Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board?
 

The Borough of Mendham has developed a Land Use Application Checklist that is inclusive of all application types.  By referring to the checklist in the Land Use Forms section, and then identifying the application type and selecting the information identified with the dots, the applicant can determine the extent of the requirements.  If the property is a rental, the landlord’s assistance is generally necessary. Depending on the type of application, the applicant may require the assistance of an attorney, architect, engineer or other professional.  This checklist is completed by the applicants and must be submitted with the documentation and the application when filing.



          When is Historic Preservation Commission approval required?
 

Historic Preservation Commission approval is required for businesses and residences in the Historic District making any external improvements requiring building permits.  The Historic Preservation Commission reviews all “permit only” applications and determines approval.  In the case of Planning Board or Board of Adjustment applications, the Historic Preservation Commission makes a recommendation to the appropriate Board which has the ultimate authority.  Examples of some of the approvals required can be viewed in the HPC forms section under “HPC review requirement examples”.



 




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