Town Ordinances

ORDINANCE NO. 12 - 2010



WHEREAS, the principal permitted use in the existing R-6 Residence Zone is age-restricted condominium/townhouse dwelling units; and

WHEREAS, there is an oversupply of approved age-restricted housing, as evidenced by the New Jersey Legislature’s adoption of P.L. 2009, c. 82, authorizing the conversion of approved age-restricted housing developments; and

WHEREAS, on July 12, 2010, the Morris Plains Planning Board adopted an amendment to the Borough of Morris Plains’ Land Use Plan Element recommending the reclassification of R-6 from age-restricted condominium/townhouse residential dwelling units to a new multi-family residential land use classification; and

WHEREAS, the Borough Council is desirous of amending "Chapter 13, 2000 BOROUGH OF MORRIS PLAINS LAND DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE" (hereinafter "Chapter 13") to repeal the existing R-6 Residence Zone, which permits age-restricted condominium/townhouse dwelling units and to re-classify the R-6 Residence District to permit multi-family residential dwelling units consistent with the Morris Plains Planning Board's July 12, 2010 amendment to the Land Use Element of the Master Plan of the Borough of Morris Plains and establish affordable housing obligations in the R-6 Residence District; and

WHEREAS, the proposed amendment to Chapter 13 will also serve to foster and promote a settlement of pending litigation entitled "ACP Morris Plains, LLC v. Borough of Morris Plains and the Morris Plains Planning Board," Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Docket No. MRS-L-3109-08 PW.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Borough Council of the Borough of Morris Plains, they being the Governing Body thereof, as follows:

Section 1:

Section 13-2.1, Definitions of Terms, of Chapter 13 is hereby amended, supplemented and revised with the repeal of the definition for "Age-Restricted Dwelling Units" and the addition of a new definition for "Interlocking Townhouse," which shall read as follows:

INTERLOCKING TOWNHOUSE.? An attached single-family dwelling unit in a building of at least three units in which each unit has its own individual access to the exterior and where such units shall be partially located one over the other.

Section 2:

Chapter 13, is hereby amended, supplemented and revised with the repeal of existing Section 13-5.6.2, Age-Restricted Multi-Family Development in the R-6 Residence District, and the addition of the following new Section 13-5.6.2, entitled "R-6 Residence District, Multi-Family Residential Development," which shall read, in its entirety, as follows:


Multi-family development in the R-6 District shall comply with all of the following requirements:

A. PERMITTED PRINCIPAL USES. The R-6 District is intended to provide for multi-family attached residential dwelling units comprised of Interlocking Townhouses as defined herein.

B. PERMITTED ACCESSORY USES. Multi-family developments, constructed in accordance with this section, shall be permitted the following accessory uses to be used solely by the residents of the development and their guests:

(1) Private swimming pools

(2) Administrative offices

(3) Recreation facilities

(4) Multi-purpose and social activity rooms

(5) Uses customarily incidental to multi-family development

C. MINIMUM LOT AREA. There shall be a minimum lot area of 200,000 square feet.

D. MAXIMUM DENSITY. The residential density shall not exceed 15 units per acre, nor shall the total number of dwelling units exceed 70. No more than eighteen (18) of all dwelling units within the development shall be located within a single building.

E. MINIMUM SETBACKS. All principal buildings shall meet the following setbacks:

(1) Front Yard: Fifty (50’) feet

(2) Rear Yard: Twenty (20’) feet

(3) Side Yard: Forty (40’) feet

F. MAXIMUM BUILDING COVERAGE. The total lot coverage by all principal and accessory buildings shall not exceed thirty (30%) percent of the lot area.

G. MAXIMUM IMPERVIOUS COVERAGE. The total lot coverage by all impervious surfaces shall not exceed sixty (60%) percent of the lot area.

H. MAXIMUM BUILDING HEIGHT. No principal building shall exceed a height of 3 stories and 42 feet.

I. MINIMUM DISTANCE BETWEEN BUILDINGS. No building shall be located closer than fifty (50’) feet to another principal building on the same site.

J. ACCESSORY BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES. Accessory buildings and structures shall be subject to the following requirements:


  1. Maximum Height. No accessory building shall exceed a height of 16 feet.



    1. Setbacks. Accessory buildings shall meet the property line setback requirements applicable to principal buildings.

    3. Signs. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 13-5.8B(2), a total of two (2) freestanding identification signs are permitted. Each sign shall not exceed an area of thirty-five (35) square feet on each side. Each such sign shall be located in the front yard, at least 10 feet from the street right-of-way and at least 25 feet from an adjoining property line. Said signs shall not extend more than 8 feet above ground level and may be illuminated as specified in Section 13-5.8A(5.3).


K. DWELLING UNIT REQUIREMENTS. Residential dwelling units shall satisfy the following requirements:
    1. Individual dwelling units shall meet the following minimum floor area sizes:
    2. Two-bedroom Units: 1,400 sq.ft.

      Three-bedroom Units: 1,700 sq.ft.


    3. A maximum of fifty (50%) percent of the entire development, not to exceed 35 units, shall be three-bedroom dwelling units.
    4. L. LANDSCAPING REQUIREMENTS. All development within the district shall comply with the following minimum landscaping requirements:

      (1) Provide minimum width of landscaped buffers within the following yards: (a) Front Yard: 35’

      (b) Side yard: 25’

      (c) Rear Yard: 10’

      (2) No use or structure shall be permitted within the required buffer area, except for the following, and only when it is demonstrated by the developer that such use and/or structures must be located within the buffer area in order to reasonably accommodate the permitted development. The Planning Board may in its review require supplemental planting or screening methods within or outside of the required buffer area.


      (a) Fences, freestanding walls and retaining walls.

      (b) Driveway and other access improvements providing direct access to the tract from an exterior roadway.

      (c) Detention, retention and similar drainage facilities and utility structures.

    5. Within the landscape buffer areas, the developer shall maintain a landscaped screen containing a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees and shrubs of sufficient density, size and number to provide reasonable year-round buffering. Landscape buffers within the front yard shall also provide for berming where appropriate.

    7. Except for existing preserved or transplanted vegetation, evergreen trees shall be a minimum of six (6’) feet in height when installed. All deciduous trees shall be two and one-half (2½) inches in caliper when installed. At least twenty-five (25%) percent of all deciduous trees shall be of a species native and indigenous to the area. Shrubs used as foundation and screen plantings shall be at least two (2’) feet in height when installed.

M. CONSTRUCTION. All buildings shall be constructed under the applicable code at the time of application for building permit.

N. NOISE. Sound levels from HVAC units shall comply with State industrial limits at residential zone lines, as may be amended from time to time, which limits are presently sixty-five (65) decibels during daytime and fifty (50) decibels at night.

O. EMERGENCY FACILITIES. Any multi-family residential development shall be suitably designed to facilitate emergency access by police, fire and first-aid service vehicles and personnel.

P. ACCESSIBILITY FOR THE HANDICAPPED. Any development shall be designed in accordance with the applicable standards for accessibility and/or occupancy by handicapped persons promulgated by the Federal government and/or the State of New Jersey or through their respective departments or agencies having jurisdiction in such matters.

Q. UTILITY AND DRAINAGE IMPROVEMENTS. Any multi-family residential development shall be served by public water and public sanitary sewerage systems. All utility improvements, including, but not necessarily limited to storm drainage collection and conveyance systems, stormwater management systems/facilities, sanitary sewerage collection and disposal systems, water supply, gas, electric, telephone and cable television utilities shall be subject to review and approval by the Planning Board in accordance with the standards and procedures established at N.J.A.C. 5:21 et seq. (Residential Site Improvement Standards), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and appropriate County and other State agencies, where applicable.


Prior to, or as a condition of any approval of a development application by the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment, as applicable, the developer shall be required to comply with the requirements of this section and to enter into an agreement with the Borough Council, in order to address the effect of the development Borough’s or the Developer’s affordable housing obligation, in accordance with the following requirements:

    1. The minimum required affordable housing set-aside shall be twenty (20%) percent. Fifty (50%) of the required affordable units shall be low-income housing and fifty (50%) shall be for moderate income housing.
    2. Alternative means to on-site construction of affordable housing. When approved by the Planning Board or Zoning Board, a developer may, at its option, satisfy the on-site construction of affordable housing by a payment in lieu of on-site construction as set forth in N.J.A.C. 5:97-8.4 and N.J.A.C. 5:97-6.4.

Section 3:

Section 13-4.14C (2.2)(d)(ii), Schedule "A", Minimum Distances in Feet for Location of Parking and Loading Areas, of Chapter 13 is hereby amended, supplemented and revised with the following revisions: (a) the existing minimum 80 foot distance from Street R.O.W is replaced with a minimum 50 foot distance from Street R.O.W; (b) the existing minimum 30 foot distance from Property Lines is replaced with a minimum 20 foot distance from Property lines; and (c) footnote 8 is revised by replacing the phrase "underneath principal buildings" with the phrase "within the individual unit driveways" so that hereafter the aforesaid Schedule A requirements for the R-6 Zone shall read as follows:

From From From From

Zone (1) Buildings(2) Street R.O.W. Property Lines Res. Zones


R-6 10(8) 50 20(8) 50(8)


    1. Off-street parking spaces located within the individual unit driveways are excluded.

Section 4:

The principal use for the R-6 zone as set forth in Section 13-5.1C, Schedule "C", Schedule of Permitted Uses, is hereby amended, supplemented and revised by replacing the term "Age-Restricted Condominiums and Townhouses" with the term "Multi-Family Interlocking Townhouses."

Section 5:

Footnote (14) as set forth in the Footnotes to Schedule "C" in Chapter 13 is hereby amended, supplemented and revised by replacing the phrase "under principal buildings" with the phrase "both in common parking areas and private driveways and garages."

Section 6:

The "Primary Use" in the R-6 zone as set forth in Section 13-5.1D, Schedule "D", Schedule of Zoning Requirements of Chapter 13 is hereby amended, supplemented and revised by replacing the term "Age-Restricted Condominiums & Townhouses" with the term "Interlocking Townhouses."

Section 7:

All other provisions of "Chapter 13, 2000 Borough of Morris Plains Land Development Ordinance" shall be unaffected and are hereby continued.

Section 8:

Except for Section 13-5.2C, which shall be unaffected and hereby continued to apply in all zones other than the R-6 zone, all Ordinances and parts of Ordinances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.

Section 9:

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Ordinance is, for any reason, held to be invalid by a Court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such a decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance.

Section 10:

This Ordinance shall take effect immediately after final passage and publication and after a copy of same is filed with the Morris County Planning Board.

Introduced: 09/02/10

Adopted: 10/21/10

Frank J. Druetzler, Mayor