Development sign proposal expanded

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON — A local attorney asked the township to strengthen a proposal that seeks to notify neighbors about potential development.

Flavio Komuves said an ordinance proposed by the Township Council did not do enough for residents at last week’s Township Council meeting.

Councilman Parag Patel has sponsored legislation that would increase the area of notification in Edison to 300 feet and require the applicant to erect a sign on the property being developed.

Under current state law, when an application is heard before a Planning Board or Zoning Board, the applicant must send a certified notice at least 10 days before the hearing to everyone who owns land within a 200-foot radius.

Under the proposal, signs must include the name of the applicant and the telephone number of the board hearing the application, according to the ordinance. The sign must also be facing a roadway.

Ten days is an "inadequate time for people to receive the certified mail and to analyze the proposal," said Komuves, a township resident.

Those who wish to speak in opposition to an application, Komuves said, should have adequate time to hire professionals, such as planners and attorneys, to ensure their views are heard, if they wish to do so.

The amount of time is not enough for most interested parties to research the proposal, he said.

Notice should be sent to residents 10 days after filing an application with the board, he said. The notice would then be sent about 45 to 60 days prior to any hearing.

Township Attorney Louis Rainone said the township could not legally require an applicant to send notification letters to residents upon filing an application.

The notice is "a notice of a hearing, not a notice of an application," Rainone said.

The hearing date is not set by the time an application is filed. An applicant can not notify the public of a hearing date that has not been set, he said.

The township could require notification for the Technical Review Committee hearing, Rainone said. The committee is a joint committee of the Zoning and Planning boards which overviews projects before they come in front of one of the boards.

The township could also require a sign posted on the property within 10 days after an application is filed, Rainone said.

Since the state land use law only states that the applicant must send a letter to notify neighbors of a project 10 days prior to a hearing, the application must still be heard even if the sign is not erected, Rainone said.

If the sign is not put up, the appli­cant would have to pay a maximum fine of $1,000 for violating an ordi­nance, he said.

The proposed ordinance was sched­uled to undergo a public hearing and vote at the Feb. 11 regular council meeting. The ordinance was tabled and will be amended to include a re­quirement that the sign is to be erected 10 days after an application is filed.

A public hearing on the amended ordinance is scheduled for the Feb. 25 regular council meeting.