Section: Partial unconstitutionality
6. Hearings. a. The municipal agency shall hold a hearing on each application for development, adoption, revision or amendment of the master plan, each application for approval of an outdoor advertising sign submitted to the municipal agency as required pursuant to an ordinance adopted under subsection g. of section 29.1 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-39) or any review undertaken by a planning board pursuant to section 22 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-31).
b. The municipal agency shall make the rules governing such hearings. Any maps and documents for which approval is sought at a hearing shall be on file and available for public inspection at least 10 days before the date of the hearing, during normal business hours in the office of the administrative officer. The applicant may produce other documents, records, or testimony at the hearing to substantiate or clarify or supplement the previously filed maps and documents.
c. The officer presiding at the hearing or such person as he may designate shall have power to administer oaths and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant evidence, including witnesses and documents presented by the parties, and the provisions of the "County and Municipal Investigations Law," P.L.1953, c.38 (C.2A:67A-1 et seq.) shall apply.
d. The testimony of all witnesses relating to an application for development shall be taken under oath or affirmation by the presiding officer, and the right of cross-examination shall be permitted to all interested parties through their attorneys, if represented, or directly, if not represented, subject to the discretion of the presiding officer and to reasonable limitations as to time and number of witnesses.
e. Technical rules of evidence shall not be applicable to the hearing, but the agency may exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence.
f. The municipal agency shall provide for the verbatim recording of the proceedings by either stenographer, mechanical or electronic means. The municipal agency shall furnish a transcript, or duplicate recording in lieu thereof, on request to any interested party at his expense; provided that the governing body may provide by ordinance for the municipality to assume the expense of any transcripts necessary for appeal to the governing body, pursuant to section 8 of this act, of decisions by the zoning board of adjustment pursuant to subsection 57d. of this act, up to a maximum amount as specified by the ordinance.
The municipal agency, in furnishing a transcript or tape of the proceedings to an interested party at his expense, shall not charge such interested party more than the actual cost of preparing the transcript or tape. Transcripts shall be certified in writing by the transcriber to be accurate.
g. The municipal agency shall include findings of fact and conclusions based thereon in each decision on any application for development and shall reduce the decision to writing. The municipal agency shall provide the findings and conclusions through:
(1) A resolution adopted at a meeting held within the time period provided in the act for action by the municipal agency on the application for development; or
(2) A memorializing resolution adopted at a meeting held not later than 45 days after the date of the meeting at which the municipal agency voted to grant or deny approval. Only the members of the municipal agency who voted for the action taken may vote on the memorializing resolution, and the vote of a majority of such members present at the meeting at which the resolution is presented for adoption shall be sufficient to adopt the resolution. If only one member who voted for the action attends the meeting at which the resolution is presented for adoption, the resolution may be adopted upon the vote of that member. An action pursuant to section 5 of the act (C.40:55D-9) (resulting from the failure of a motion to approve an application) shall be memorialized by resolution as provided above, with those members voting against the motion for approval being the members eligible to vote on the memorializing resolution. The vote on any such resolution shall be deemed to be a memorialization of the action of the municipal agency and not to be an action of the municipal agency; however, the date of the adoption of the resolution shall constitute the date of the decision for purposes of the mailings, filings and publications required by subsections h. and i. of this section (C.40:55D-10). If the municipal agency fails to adopt a resolution or memorializing resolution as hereinabove specified, any interested party may apply to the Superior Court in a summary manner for an order compelling the municipal agency to reduce its findings and conclusions to writing within a stated time, and the cost of the application, including attorney's fees, shall be assessed against the municipality.
h. A copy of the decision shall be mailed by the municipal agency within 10 days of the date of decision to the applicant or, if represented, then to his attorney, without separate charge, and to all who request a copy of the decision, for a reasonable fee. A copy of the decision shall also be filed by the municipal agency in the office of the administrative officer. The administrative officer shall make a copy of such filed decision available to any interested party for a reasonable fee and available for public inspection at his office during reasonable hours.
i. A brief notice of the decision shall be published in the official newspaper of the municipality, if there be one, or in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality. Such publication shall be arranged by the applicant unless a particular municipal officer is so designated by ordinance; provided that nothing contained in this act shall be construed as preventing the applicant from arranging such publication if he so desires. The municipality may make a reasonable charge for its publication. The period of time in which an appeal of the decision may be made shall run from the first publication of the decision, whether arranged by the municipality or the applicant.
L.1975,c.291,s.6; amended 1979, c.216, s.7; 1984, c.20, s.4; 1998, c.95, s.2; 2004, c.42, s.5.
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