Previously, obtaining approval for development along a county road was a relatively straightforward and streamlined process. However, in recent years it has become more challenging and time-consuming to receive approval from a New Jersey County Planning Board. To understand why this has taken place, we must first understand what County Planning Boards review when they receive a site or subdivision plan application.
The primary goal of County Planning Boards is to prepare and adopt a master plan for the development of their county. These master plans propose recommendations for the future development of a county. The following aspects are considered in a county’s master plan:
- Streets and roads
- Waterway and waterfront development
- Stormwater management facilities
- Parks and playgrounds
- Forests and natural preservations
- Agricultural areas
- Other public ways, grounds, places and spaces
When a County Planning Board receives an application for a site or subdivision plan, they review all aspects of the project to make sure that it complies with the guidelines outlined in their master plan. If a project does not comply with the county’s master plan, the planning board will typically request changes so that it does show compliance.
All master plans account for an increase in population within a county. With increases in population the county will call for the widening and improvement of county roadways. So, any property located along a county road will be subject to county review. Depending on the scope of a project, an application will also be subject to a range of different impact fees. The property owner might also be asked to dedicate land to the county to make room for road widening. If these dedications are not accurately depicted in the original engineering plans, an engineer might have to make significant changes to meet the county’s requirement. Each of these factors have made county approvals significantly harder to receive in recent years compared to previous decades.
An experienced engineer will typically arrange a pre-application meeting with county officials before starting up a new project. This assists them and the rest of the project team get a general idea of what the county requires for the development of a property. Here at WJH Engineering, our team of professionals work with the counties to help each client receive approval as quickly and effortlessly as possible. If you are looking to develop a property that is located on a county road, contact WJH Engineering today!