Understanding Municipal Law In New Jersey
Municipal law is defined as the set of laws which govern a specific county or city classified as a municipality. This can cover a wide range of areas from taxation and land use to traffic violations. Businesses are more likely to be involved with municipal law than state or federal laws on a day-to-day basis. In this article, we share with you a non-exhaustive list of acts and laws covered under municipal law in New Jersey.
The Open Public Meetings Act
Under this Act, every member of the public has the right to attend meetings held by public bodies. This does not exclude anyone based on any category, such as members of the press. Keep in mind that this does not apply to closed sessions. On top of that, the right to attend does not automatically mean the right to comment or participate. It is up to the public bodies to decide how and if they wish to regulate participation.
The Open Public Records Act (OPRA)
The OPRA in New Jersey replaces the “Right to Know Law” of old, regulating access to governmental records in New Jersey. Under this Act, members of the public have a protected right to request for certain information. The process by which this right can be exercised is also protected. On a federal level, the OPRA is similar to the Freedom of Information Act.
Municipal Land Use Law
The Municipal Land Use Law governs the municipal zoning ordinances in New Jersey. Each municipality can adopt building and land use laws without the boundaries of their area, requiring all property owners, be it residential or commercial, to abide by them. If you are thinking of starting a construction project or even constructing an addition to your home, you may need to apply for a variance from the Municipal Planning Board.
Local Redevelopment and Housing Law
This law is largely based on the Blighted Areas Act introduced in 1949. Before an area can be redeveloped, it must be approved by the governing body and approved by the Planning Board. A planning consultant is usually engaged to work on this process. There is a diverse range of criteria for redeveloping an area, and a redevelopment plan has to be formulated and submitted.
A redevelopment agreement is also known as a zoning contract and there are many legal loopholes to navigate. An experienced municipal law attorney can help you do just that.
Turn to Carcich O’Shea for Municipal Law Navigation and Representation
If you require assistance with navigating one or more of the municipal laws above, come to us at Carcich O’Shea. We are well-versed in the latest municipal laws in New Jersey and can help you navigate the construction of your property, formulate a zoning contract, and many more.
Contact us today if you are starting on a project and would like to discuss how things can be done in accordance with municipal law.