PRESS RELEASE: (WHITE TOWNSHIP, NJ – November 21, 2023) – The Warren County Planning Board’s Development Review Regulations are being updated with changes that will help make the process faster and easier for applicants.
The changes will promote “ease of use and transparency,” Commissioner Director Lori Ciesla said after the Board of County Commissioners voted to adopt the revisions, adding, “This will help everyone understand what the (planning) board actually does.”
The Development Review Regulations were last revised in May 2020 but this is the first major update in nearly 22 years.
The changes are intended to:
- · Streamline the land development process for applications.
- · Simplify and create efficiency in procedures.
- · Empower a Development Review Committee, which will meet twice a month, to approve applications.
- · Allow digital submissions for review and processing, with only one paper copy of plans required.
· Focus the Planning Board on long range and master planning activities.
“We’re moving the technical aspect to the staff where it belongs, and the county Planning Board can proceed with planning,” Commissioner James R. Kern III noted. The timing is perfect for an update, he added, as the state is updating its master plan in 2024.
“Modernization is going to make it easier for our homeowners and small businesses, Commissioner Jason J. Sarnoski said, as it will allow for scrutiny of larger developments and promote longer term planning “to make sure we keep Warren County safe and rural.”
Sarnoski added, “Having the same scrutiny over a small driveway permit as we have for a warehouse development just doesn’t make sense.
Warren County Planning Department records show the county received 30 new applications so far this year and has 196 open applications, with an upward trend in application activity.
The county Planning Board must revise its bylaws to reflect the development review changes, which would be implemented in February 2024.
County Planner David Dech said the Development Review Committee authorized under the new procedures would be appointed at the Planning Board’s reorganization in January.
“It should improve the development review process because we will be meeting twice a month. The applications should be processed in a more expeditious manner,” Dech said.
Dech and Assistant Director Ryan Conklin presented the proposed changes during a public hearing held during the Commissioners’ November 21, 2023 meeting. The changes are available on the county government website in a link found on the Planning Department’s main page at www.warrencountynj.gov/government/planning-department.
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