A fundamental step when presenting a land use application to your municipal zoning or planning board is first putting the public on notice of the application. Notice is a jurisdictional requirement that must be satisfied before a board may even consider your application. The Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) requires that notice be given by publication in the official newspaper of the municipality, if there be one, or in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality. The notice must be given at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing and also state:
- Date, time, and location of the hearing;
- The nature of the matters to be considered;
- Identification of the property proposed for development; and
- The location and times at which any maps and documents for which approval is sought are to be available.
The purpose of notifying the public of “the nature of the matters to be considered” is to ensure that members of the public are aware of the basic nature of the application so they can make an informed decision as to whether they should attend the hearing, or, at the least, look more closely at the plans or other documents on file. The details of the application contained in the notice do not need to include every legal nuance of the application. The description of the “nature of the matters” requires a “common sense” description so that a lay person without special knowledge can understand what is being proposed. For example, few people know the difference between a variance and a special exception, those details are not required in the notice. However, if someone is interested in those details, they can find them in the filed application, the location of which must be included in the notice.
If you or someone you know is intending on preparing an application for development and need help to ensure everything is prepared correctly, including putting the public on notice, please contact the attorneys at Lavery Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen, P.C. We have handled hundreds of applications and have provided notice to thousands of people. Our lawyers will provide you with sound advice which should ensure that your application is deemed complete, heard and voted upon as quickly as possible.