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New Measure To Cut Red Tape For Some Businesses

Ordinance would raise threshold for full, and expensive, Planning Board approval

Attempting to remove some red tape for some small businesses, the Township Committee is slated next week to vote on a measure that would make it easier to move some applications through the sometimes-costly Planning Board process.

The committee at its June 13 meeting proposed an ordinance that would raise the threshold for some businesses that want to renovate an existing building for a new use. That measure has gotten the blessing of the Planning Board and is set for a vote of the Township Committee at its Aug. 8 meeting.

The ordinance proposes to change the township’s zoning code and raise the threshold that triggers a Planning Board hearing for a minor site plan, according to the measure.

Currently, any business that is renovating an existing building of more than 5,000 square feet for a new, conforming business would have to come before the board for a full hearing, Foster has said.

That could cost the business owner upwards of $30,000, Foster has said.

“We thought that was very unfair,’’ he has said.

The new measure would raise the square footage to 10,000, effectively keeping smaller businesses from a full hearing. They would be subject, however, to an internal review of the planning department, but that would cost far less, Foster has said.

The measure is in an attempt to provide an efficient means for some businesses to gain approval in town, and possibly spur development in town.

The Planning Board, which unanimously approved of the township’s proposal, , officials have said.

While that is part of an overall statewide and national trend, Foster has said that his administration was sensitive to the needs of businesses.

“We’re trying to do whatever we can to help out businesses,’’ Foster has said.

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