Development projects, such as subdivisions, site plans, and variances, require a land use permit.
The approval process typically involves public hearings with the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment. Sometimes this is referred to as the entitlement process.
Rules and regulations
The Borough's land use and development ordinance includes the setbacks and other zoning requirements for each zone within the Borough. Use the Borough's zoning map to look up the zoning for a property and learn about zoning districts.
The Somerville Master Plan is a guide of how the Borough wants to develop and what needs to be implemented to achieve future goals. Review the redevelopment plans and maps to learn about the 5 areas designated for redevelopment.
There are a several types of land use permits:
- Minor site plan
- Minor subdivision
- Major Site Plan
Based on the project, you may need to complete multiple application forms.
Development projects require extensive review, document preparation, and inspections.
For the Borough fees, please refer to the filing fees for development applications. The Borough has contracts with professionals who charge an hourly fee.
You will need to pay a deposit. Initial deposits are retainers, not fees. The amount reflects the average amount of time spent to process an application. The staff time will vary based on the complexity of the application.
A deposit is not a cap. Aspects may extend the processing time requiring additional costs. Once the costs exceed the deposit amount, you will be billed at the professional's hourly rate. If the final cost is less than the deposit you will be issued a refund for the unused portion.
If your project requires public review, this happens at a public hearing. Complex projects often have several public hearings.
- 10 days before a public hearing, a notice will be:
- Advertised in the local newspaper
- Mailed to all property owners within 200 feet of your project
- Posted on or near the project site
Based on the type of approval required, the project will go to one or more of the following decision-making bodies for their approval:
- Zoning Board of Adjustment
- Planning Board
- Borough Council
At the public hearing, Borough staff will present a report and make their recommendation. You will be able to present, followed by anyone else who wants to comment on the proposed project.
After everyone from the public speaks, the decision-making body will evaluate everything they have read and heard. Then they will take one of the following actions:
- Postpone to a later date
- Continue and schedule another public hearing
- Refer the matter back for more evaluation