The Chatham Township Planning Board is a nine-member body with two alternates, all appointed by the Chatham Township Committee. One member is the Mayor or the Mayor’s designee (Class 1), one is a member of the Township Committee (Class 3), and one is another Township official other than a member of the Township Committee (Class 2). The other members (Class 4) are Township residents who volunteer their time. Two of the Class 4 members are designated as Chair and Vice-Chair. A professional staff consisting of an attorney, a professional planner, the Township Engineer, an Administrative Officer of the Township, and a Board Secretary assists the Planning Board. A list of current members of the Planning Board appears on this website.
The authority of the Planning Board is delineated in New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL)and court decisions interpreting it. In addition, development in the Township is governed by its Land Use Ordinance. All decisions by the Board comply with the MLUL, Chatham Township’s Land Use Ordinance, and other applicable laws and regulations.
The Planning Board is broadly responsible for a number of areas vital to the growth and development of the Township. Those areas include adopting and updating its Master Plan, approving development applications for subdivisions and site plans, reviewing other State or Federal programs or plans, assembling data for planning purposes and performing other advisory duties as assigned to it by the Township Committee to aid it in planning process.
THE MASTER PLAN
The Master Plan is central to the Township’s decisions about its planning and land development and how the Township meets the expectations of our citizens for present and future housing, circulation, community facilities, preservation and other land use issues. From time to time, the Board adopts and reviews elements of the Master Plan and makes changes to reflect changing conditions. The Master Plan can be viewed on this website.
APPROVAL OF DEVELOPERS’ APPLICATIONS
The Planning Board is responsible to approve applications for subdivisions and site plans. When reviewing subdivision and site plan applications, the Board can decide on variances (other than certain types referred to as subsection «« d » variances), which are exceptions to the applicable law, ordinances, or Master Plan. It also establishes procedures for the review of such development applications.
Board decisions are based on the materials presented to it by applicants, including developers, and their professionals (engineers and planners) through sworn testimony and any objectors and their professionals. Members of the public are also invited to question witnesses and give their own sworn testimony. The public can also be represented by counsel and professionals.
The Board may also ask a developer to host a site visit to which the public is also invited.
Minutes of Board meetings are drafted, maintained, and are available for public review. All decisions of the Planning Board are reduced to writing in the form of a Resolution.
PARTICIPATION AND RECUSAL
There must be a quorum of five board members for a hearing to be held. Decisions must be reached by at least five members who attended all the relevant hearings or who have read or listened to the transcripts of the hearing.
Board members must be fair and impartial in reaching their decisions. Therefore, a board member must recuse him/herself if there is any conflict, e.g. a personal or family interest in the matter or the member lives within 200 feet of the property.