Zoning regulates land use by designating districts -- such as residential, business and industrial -- where specific uses are permitted and others prohibited. The idea is to avoid incompatible activities in proximity to one another and to enhance and preserve the livability of our community.
Zoning is an important way in which residents of the Township can work together to encourage beneficial land use patterns for the present and future occupants of Cherry Hill. Compliance by all can result in maintenance of a high quality of life, stable property values and physical integrity of the environment.
The Department of Community Development issues zoning approvals for building homes, additions, decks, fences, pools, patios, sheds, ponds, and driveways. To be approved, applicants must provide a property survey and complete a zoning approval form. When a Business wants to locate within the Township, Community Development must also issue a zoning approval to occupy the facility. The proposed use of the facility/building is reviewed for consistency with the Township Zoning Ordinance. After review and approval from Community Development, applicants are required to apply with the Code Enforcement/Inspections Department.
Any questions concerning zoning classification, setback requirements, minimum lot requirements, permitted uses for a property, and zoning violations can be addressed to this department.
THE LEGAL BASIS OF ZONING
In New Jersey, municipalities are given zoning authority by a state statute called "The Municipal Land Use Law" (MLUL). Local government may adopt a zoning ordinance and establish a Zoning Board of Adjustment to hear and decide variance requests and interpret the Zoning Ordinance.
The Municipal Land Use Law (NJSA 40:55D-2) lists the following purposes of Zoning:
- To encourage municipal action to guide the appropriate use or development of all lands in this State, in a manner which will promote the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare.
- To secure safety from fire, flood, panic, and other natural and manmade disasters.
- To provide adequate light, air, and open space.
- To ensure that the development of individual municipalities does not conflict with the development and general welfare of neighboring municipalities, the county, and the State as a whole.
- To promote the establishment of appropriate population densities and concentrations that will contribute to the well-being of persons, neighborhoods, communities, and regions, and preservation of the environment.
- To encourage the appropriate and efficient expenditure of public funds by the coordination of public development with land use policies.
To provide sufficient space in appropriate locations for a variety of agricultural, residential, recreational, commercial, and industrial uses and open space, both public and private, according to their respective environmental requirements in order to meet the needs of all New Jersey citizens.
- To encourage the location and design of transportation routes which will promote the free flow of traffic while discouraging location of such facilities and routes which result in congestion or blight.
- To promote a desirable visual environment through creative development techniques and good civic design and arrangements.
- To promote the conservation of historic sites and districts, open space, energy resources, and valuable natural resources in the State and to prevent urban sprawl and degradation of the environment through improper use of land.
- To encourage planned unit developments which incorporate the best features of design and relate the type, design, and layout of residential, commercial, industrial, and recreational development to the particular site.
- To encourage senior citizen community housing construction.
- To encourage coordination of the various public and private procedures and activities shaping land development with a view of lessening the cost of such development and to the more efficient use of land.
- To promote utilization of renewable energy resources.
- To promote the maximum practicable recovery and recycling of recyclable materials from municipal solid waste through the use of planning practices designed to incorporate the State Recycling Plan goals and to complement municipal recycling.
Additionally, "the Supreme Court has stated that the preservation of the character of a neighborhood and conservation of neighborhood values are still proper zoning purposes." (1991 Edition New Jersey Zoning and Land Use 'Administration, by Wm. M. Cox, 7-2.1, p. 100)