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Douglas K. Wolfson, Esquire; Philip Morin, Esquire; Nick Giuditta,
Esquire; Stephen Eisdorfer, Esquire; Wendy Berger, Esquire
Elizabeth C. McKenzie, AICP, PP
May 15, 2012
SUBJECT: Suggested Procedures for Site Plan Submissions, Reviews and
Approvals for Lehigh and CDA lnclusionary Developments
The purpose of this memorandum is to set forth suggested procedures to follow
in submitting, reviewing and approving site plan applications for the two
inclusionary developments that were the subject of the Court's approvals in
Cranford. As you are all aware, the Judge appointed Douglas K. Wolfson,
Esquire, to sit as the Hearing Officer on these applications. I will be assisting
him in his review in my role as the Court-appointed Master. However, it will be
important to the process to make certain that all of Cranford's professionals have
an opportunity to review and comment on these applications and to participate in
the hearings. Moreover, the process adopted by the Court in these matters was
never intended to preclude the public's rights to access to and participation in the
hearings in the same manner as if these applications were being submitted for
approval under the MLUL.
Doug Wolfson and I have discussed certain of the issues associated with this
process. We both agree that there is no need to undertake the formal process of
declaring an application complete in order to start the review clock ticking.
However, I want to caution both developers that if there are missing items that
the Township's professionals or Doug Wolfson or I believe are necessary to the
review and approval of the application, then these items will be requested and it
could hold up the hearing process. We would encourage both developers to
communicate freely and informally with Cranford's staff and professionals to
make certain that all issues are appropriately addressed in the submission.
Similarly, we would urge Cranford's professionals to let these developers know
immediately if missing information is holding up the review or will be required to
be evaluated prior to approval.
The Submission
Ten (10) copies of the plans and ALL accompanying documents should be
submitted. The first five sets should be submitted directly to the following
Douglas K. Wolfson, Esquire
Elizabeth C. McKenzie, AICP, PP
Philip Morin, Esquire
Nick Giuditta, Esquire
Peter Van Den Kooy, PP
The second five sets should be submitted to the Planning Board for distribution
to the following:
Township Engineer
Town ship Zoning Officer
Planning Board Office
Construction Code Official
Public File Copy
The Planning Board reserves the right to request more copies of some or all of
the material submitted, should any of the Board members request it, but the
Board understands that its role in this will be unofficial.
Doug Wolfson's fees are to be split between the parties. Mine are to be paid by
Cranford Township. The costs of the reviews by the Township's professionals
was an issue that was not addressed in Judge Chrystal's December 9, 2011
Order, but it would seem reasonable to expect that those costs would be borne
by the developer in each case. Arrangements should be made to establish
escrow accounts with Cranford so that these professional fees and costs
can be paid as required by law.
The Review
The initial set of professional reviews should be undertaken within 30 calendar
days of the submission. Please note that the review should not be limited to
completeness- it should be a full blown substantive review. To the extent that
corrected or supplementary information is found to be needed, the applicant
should be notified as soon as the necessity is found so as not to delay the
process. Professional reviews should be completed on time even if the
requested information has not yet been provided by the applicant. If the missing
information is critical to a portion of the review, its absence and its impact on the
review can be noted.
Assuming that issues are raised and changes are required to the plans, the
applicant will need to submit the revisions, along with whatever supplementary
information has been requested as soon as it can be arranged.
Professional reviews of any revised or supplemented plans should be completed
within 14 calendar days of receipt of the revisions and supplements requested.
We are all human, and there may be good reasons to extend a review period to
accommodate a professional's schedule. Any requests for reasonable
extensions should be addressed to the applicant as well as the Master and the
Hearing Officer. If there is a need to decide on the reasonableness of an
extension, the Hearing Officer will decide.
If the applicant believes that a requested supplement to the submission is
unreasonable and unnecessary, this should be brought to the attention of the
Township as well as the Master and the Hearing Officer. If it becomes
necessary to decide on the reasonableness of a requested supplement, the
Hearing Officer will decide.
The Hearing
Once the application has been reviewed by the Township's professionals and
has been revised to reflect their comments and concerns, it will be ready for a
public hearing. The hearing shall be duly noticed pursuant to the MLUL and
proof of service shall be provided in accordance with applicable law.
Doug Wolfson intends to hold the public hearings in an empty courtroom at the
Union County Courthouse. The hearings will be held during the day.
Steve Eisdorfer has suggested another alternative, to make it more convenient
for the public to participate, and that is to hold the hearings in Cranford during
the evening hours, still with Doug Wolfson presiding and me in attendance. I
would suggest that the attorneys for the two plaintiffs, the
attorneys and Doug Woffson confer on this issue and reach a decision well
in advance, because whether a courtroom or meeting space in Cranford is
needed, it will be necessary to set a schedule well in advance.
The public will be invited to participate in exactly the same manner as they would
be invited to participate in any other public hearing on an application before the
Planning Board. The Rules of Evidence, etc., that apply to Planning Board
hearings will apply to these hearings. The applicant will present the application
and witnesses. The witnesses will be subject to questioning and cross-
examination. Following the applicant's presentation, the Township may present
witnesses. After that, the public will be invited to present testimony and
witnesses, as well. The Master and the Hearing Officer will ask any questions
they may have at appropriate times as determined by the Hearing Officer.
At the conclusion of the hearings, counsel for both the applicant and the
Township's will prepare and submit recommended findings and conclusions and
conditions of approval. The Court Master will resolve these submissions in a
recommended form of resolution to the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer,
once satisfied with the resolution, will submit it to Judge Chrystal for approval.
The applicant will be responsible for publishing notice of the decision so that the
time period for appeals can begin to run.