Ordinance No. 14-10

Introduced: June 9, 2014
Public Hearing: July 14, 2014
Status: Adopted

An ordinance amending Chapter 330 Land Development Ordinance, Article XI, Zoning, Section 330-158, Zoning Map to add two pages to the existing zoning map depicting the Highlands preservation area overlay zone and resource areas governed by Chapter 330, Article XIX, the Highlands Preservation Area Land Use Ordinance

WHEREAS, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (“Highlands Act,” N.J.S.A. 13:20-1 et seq.) was enacted by the State Legislature on August 10, 2004 for the purpose of protecting, enhancing, and restoring the natural resources of the New Jersey Highlands Region, in particular the water resources, which provide drinking water to over 5 million New Jersey residents; and

WHEREAS, the Highlands Act created the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council (the “Highlands Council”) and charged it with crafting a comprehensive master plan for the New Jersey Highlands Region; and

WHEREAS, the Highlands Regional Master Plan was adopted by the Highlands Council through the adoption of Resolution 2008-27 on July 17, 2008, and became effective on September 8, 2008 as the product of a long-term, participatory, and region-wide planning effort; and

WHEREAS, Resolution 2008-27 included the adoption of Highlands Regional Master Plan as well as the adoption of various technical reports and guidelines that accompanied the Plan including the 2008 Plan Conformance Guidelines; and

WHEREAS, the Plan Conformance Guidelines provide an overview of the Highlands Act’s bifurcated system for municipal conformance with the Highlands Regional Master Plan - mandatory Plan Conformance for any portion (or if applicable, the whole) of a municipality located within the Preservation Area and voluntary Plan Conformance for any portion (or if applicable, the whole) of a municipality lying within the Planning Area; and

WHEREAS, Section 14 of the Highlands Act expressly requires that municipalities must revise and conform their local master plan and development regulations for that portion of their lands within the Preservation Area, as related to development and use of said lands, with the goals, requirements and provisions of the Regional Master Plan within 15 months of the effective date of adoption thereof, or December 8, 2009; and

WHEREAS, Section 15 of the Highlands Act provides for voluntary Plan Conformance where any municipality located wholly or partially in the Planning Area may at any time voluntarily revise and conform its local master plan and development regulations, as related to the development and use of land in the Planning Area, with the goals, requirements and provisions of the Regional Master Plan; and

WHEREAS, the Plan Conformance Guidelines detail the requirements for Plan Conformance including amendments to the Environmental Resource Inventory, Master Plan, and Land Use Ordinance, which together are intended to achieve conformance with the Regional Master Plan and provide immediate protections to vital Highlands Resources; and

WHEREAS, the Plan Conformance Guidelines require conforming municipalities to adopt Initial Revisions as a first step of Plan Conformance; the initial revisions are revisions of the existing master plan and development regulations which are deemed necessary by the Highlands Council for prompt enactment by a petitioning local government in order to ensure the protection and enhancement of the resources of the Highlands Region; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon is located in the Highlands Region with lands lying within the Planning Area and Preservation Area, as defined by section 7 of the Highlands Act; and

WHEREAS, the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon has, on behalf of the municipality, petitioned the Highlands Council for Plan Conformance with respect to Township lands located within the Preservation Area portion of the Highlands Region; and

WHEREAS, the Petition filed with the Highlands Council contains proposed amendments to the municipal planning program, including amendments to the Environmental Resource Inventory, Master Plan, and Land Use Ordinance, which together are intended to achieve conformance with the Regional Master Plan and provide immediate protections to vital Highlands Resources located within the Township; and

WHEREAS, the Environmental Resource Inventory was adopted by the Township’s Environmental Commission on September 11, 2012 and the Highlands Land Use Element of the Master Plan was adopted by the Township’s Land Use Board on September 26, 2012, which was subsequently revised and re-adopted on May 8, 2013; and

WHEREAS, the Highlands Preservation Area Land Use Ordinance has been prepared by the Township Planner based on an approved Model Ordinance developed by the Highlands Council and is proposed for adoption by the Township Council; and

WHEREAS, revised Zoning Maps for the Highlands Preservation Area were prepared to depict the Highlands Overlay Zone and Resource Areas on the Official Zoning Map and create a second and third page to the existing map;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon that the Land Use Ordinance of the Township of Vernon be and is hereby amended to incorporate the following provisions:

§ 330-158. Zoning Map.

A. The zoning map comprised of three pages as follows: Page 1, entitled, “Zoning Map,” prepared by Vernon Township, dated December 14, 2012, page 2, entitled, “Highlands Preservation Area Overlay Zones” dated May 15, 2014, and page 3, entitled, “Highlands Preservation Area Map Insets” dated May 15, 2014 are hereby adopted as the Official Zoning Map of the Township of Vernon, New Jersey and the same shall be and is hereby made a part of this article and may be found on file in the Township offices. The Highlands Preservation Area regulations can be found at Section 330, Article XIX, Highlands Preservation Area Land Use Ordinance.

Highlands Preservation Area Maps