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Rice Bill For Education Of Planning And Zoning Board Members Becomes Law

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice which requires members of a municipal planning or zoning board to complete a basic course in land use law and planning was signed into law today.

“By requiring more education we are making sure that the members of the planning and zoning boards have the knowledge to make the appropriate decisions,” said Senator Rice. Chairman of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. “A mandated course for the members is necessary because the field of land use law and planning has become so complex that the educational requirements are needed to ensure that board members can rule intelligently on applications that come before them.”

The enacted bill, S-2133, requires that before a person could serve as a first-term or alternate member of a municipal planning or zoning board he or she must successfully complete a basic course in land use law and planning. The law mandates that anyone who is currently serving as a first-term member finish the course within 18 months in order to retain membership.

“The New Jersey Planning Officials will work closely with the DCA in order to establish a curriculum that will fully prepare the board members to make tough decision on zoning,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex.

“It’s important to make education requirements for all first-term members as a way to introduce them to zoning laws and planning strategies,” said Senator Rice. “Although current members would already have hands on experience with the material being taught in the course, I feel it is necessary to create a standard for all members.”

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