According to the Kingwood Township website, http://www.kingwoodtownship.com/Ordinances , tonight at 8 pm at the municipal building, the Township Committee will consider adopting three ordinances.
An ordinance is a law or regulation that governs the people who live in a community, or people who pass through, or own land there. Each municipality in the State of New Jersey has the right to adopt ordinances, provided they serve a legitimate public purpose and meet certain standards. According to the Township’s website, tonight’s ordinance changes land use regulations. A major section of one of the ordinances deals with the circumstances under which solar panels can be constructed or solar farms be operated. This ordinance requires the property owner who proposes to install a major solar panel operation on his property to dedicate permanently 50% of the land for open space. The remaining two ordinances govern the regulation of land use along Route 12.
The procedure to adopt ordinances is regulated by New Jersey State law. N.J.S.A. 40:49-2. The municipality must draft an ordinance, make it available for public inspection and then have a “first reading.” At that first reading the public has the right to comment or ask questions. A period of at least ten (10) days must pass to provide the opportunity for citizens to study the ordinance. The municipality then has a “second reading” at which the governing body considers adopting the ordinance. The “reading” must occur at a public meeting and the public must be given the opportunity to ask questions and to comment on the ordinance. The governing body members are required to analyze the comments and take them into consideration in good faith before voting. It may decide to amend the ordinance or adopt it as written.
Prior to the public hearing, the municipality has to evaluate whether and why the ordinance is needed. All of the municipality’s deliberations that are in writing, must be available for public inspection under the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. You, as a citizen, have a right to contact your municipal governing body and obtain copies of those records so you can make an informed presentation at the public hearing.
Ordinances which are proposed that govern the use of land, its subdivision and development regulations must go through a specific study process that involves the input of the planning board. We will provide information about that process in a future blog post.
If you have any questions about how your town makes laws, or if those laws have an adverse impact on you and you want to know if there is a way to challenge them, or to ask the municipality to have them changed, you can contact us for a complimentary consultation.
Gaetano M. De Sapio