The Hazlet Township Committee introduced an ordinance at their Jan. 14 meeting that would, if adopted, combine the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment into one.
In effect, the ordinance would dissolve the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board would absorb their responsibilities, Township Attorney Ronald Cucchiaro said. The new board would become officially known as the Township of Hazlet Land Use Board.
Cucchiaro explained that there is both an economic and town planning benefit to combining the two boards.
"You are now the body adopting the master plan and also making determinations about use variances, so I think you have a greater appreciation for what the intent of the master plan is when you have a joint board," he said. "I think there is a greater consistency when the same body is doing the master plan and also making decisions on variances."
"From an economic benefit, you meet less evenings so there are less costs associated with running the building," he said.
According to the proposed ordinance, the board would contain a total of nine members consisting of four different classes. Class I refers to the mayor or the mayor's designee; Class II refers to a municipality official other than a committeemember; Class III refers to a member of the committee; Class IV refers to citizens of the municipality.
The Township Committee will be able to appoint four alternative Class IV members to the Land Use Board if it is created. These members can participate in discussions of board proceedings but will not be able to vote unless a board member is absent or disqualified, according to the ordinance.
For now, the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment will continue to meet as scheduled and perform their respective duties, Cucchiaro said.
The public is encouraged to attend a hearing on the proposed ordinance on Tuesday, Feb. 5 to ask questions or share their opinions.