CONSTRUCTION & ZONING FAQ

Construction and Zoning Permit Guide

The complete text of the Borough of Hopewell Land Use Ordinances can be viewed on this website in the Document Library, in the Administration Office at the Municipal Building, or purchased for a fee of $25.00.

WHAT IS A PERMIT?
A construction permit is written government permission that empowers the holder to perform the work described.

WHEN IS A PERMIT REQUIRED?
A permit is generally required when constructing, enlarging, repairing, renovating, altering, reconstructing or demolishing a structure or any portion thereof, including projects which change an existing structure or add to the structure/ property. Construction and/or Zoning permits and/or Historic Certificates of Appropriateness are required for the following:
– Decks, pools, patios, driveways/paving
– Additions to houses or other buildings
– Demolition of buildings
– Sheds, garages, fences
– Installation/replacement of siding or roofing
– Changes in the plumbing/ electrical/mechanical systems
– Repair or replacement of any structural members, i.e., increasing the size of a door, window or removal of walls
– Installation and /or removal of fuel oil tank
The following are examples of ordinary repairs which do not require a permit:
– Replacing gutters/leaders
– Exterior painting or trim work
– Ordinary maintenance as defined in N.J.A.C. 5:23.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A PERMIT?
An application for a permit is available from the Administration Offices located at 88 East Broad Street (Borough Hall), between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Along with the application, the applicant must submit a plot plan or survey of the property for any proposed work that will occupy land. Examples of when a plot plan or survey is required include sheds, fences, pools, additions, etc. In addition, two sets of construction plans also must be submitted for review. If the applicant is also the owner of the property, the plans can be prepared by the applicant. Any work requiring a permit in a structure other than an owner occupied single family dwelling must have the plans prepared by a New Jersey licensed Architect or Engineer.

THE PERMIT PROCESS
Step 1: The applicant obtains a Construction and Zoning Permit Referral Form at Borough Hall. The applicant is advised to review Borough Land Use Ordinances to determine applicability to their project and contact the Borough Zoning Officer  for initial guidance and referral (the zoning officer is Michael Marcinczyk, 609-466-2636 x 107 michael.marcinczyk@hopewellboro-nj.us  This review is preliminary in nature, and serves to guide the applicant through the process required. If a Historic Certificate of Appropriateness is required, the applicant will be advised accordingly at this time.
Step 2: If a zoning permit and/or a Historic Certificate of Appropriateness is required, the applicant picks up the requisite forms at Borough Hall. If a zoning permit is not required, the applicant shall return the referral form to Borough Hall. The Zoning Officer will sign the referral form and forward same to the Construction Office. The Construction Office is open Tuesday and Friday mornings, 8:30-11:00 am, 466-2570.  Other times call 609-567-3653.
Step 3: If a Historic Certificate of Appropriateness is required, the applicant shall submit completed application with supporting documentation (as applicable). Please note the Historic Commission meets the last Tuesday of each month to review applications. Applicants are urged to contact the Historic Commission Chairman in advance of the meeting to ensure their application is satisfactorily completed and readied for consideration. Applicants are strongly urged to attend the meeting and be available to answer any questions the Historic Commission may have. Following the meeting, the Historic Commission will refer the matter to the Planning Board for final approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness. The Planning Board meets on the first Wednesday of each month to take action and/or review matters presented at that time. Once the Certificate of Appropriateness is approved, the applicant should attach a copy of the certificate to the zoning permit application form and proceed with
Step 4: If a zoning permit is required, the applicant submits the required application forms and documentation. An application fee of $50.00 is due at time of submission. If a zoning permit is not required, no zoning application fee is assessed.
Step 5: The Borough Zoning Officer completes the zoning review. If approved, the application is forwarded to the subcode officials for review. If denied, the applicant will be notified of the reason for denial and any corrective measures that can be taken.
Step 6: The Borough’s building, electric, plumbing and fire subcode officials will review the plans and documents for compliance with the Uniform Construction Code. Additional information may be requested at this point.
Step 7: The applicant will be notified of the fee for the permit. The applicant can then pay the fee and pick up the permit and placard. Permits may be picked up between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Step 8: The applicant then places the permit placard at a location visible from the street, and commences work, and requests necessary inspections.
New Jersey State law mandates that a fine of up to $2000.00 be issued to any person performing work without the necessary permits.

WHAT INSPECTIONS ARE REQUIRED?
If the work is minor in nature such as roofing or siding, the applicant is required to contact this office to give notice when the work is complete. A certificate of approval cannot be issued without requesting a final inspection.
Other types of work such as new buildings and additions are subject to at least the following inspections: The bottom of footing trenches, prior to placement of concrete.
– Foundations and all walls up to grade level prior to backfilling.
– Roof and wall sheathing prior to any finishes being installed or applied.
– All structural framing and connections prior to finishing or covering, underground plumbing services prior to backfill, rough plumbing, water services, sewer, septic services, storm drains, electrical rough wiring, panels, and service installations.
– Insulation prior to installing wallboard or other finishing material.
– Final inspection for each applicable subcode

HOW DO I SCHEDULE AN INSPECTION?
Requests for inspections must be made at least 24 hours prior to the time the inspection is desired. The owner or other responsible person in charge of work must notify the Construction Office when work is ready for an inspection. Inspections will be performed within three business days of the request. Further  work must not proceed until the inspection has been made and an approval given.

Requests for inspections can be made by calling (609) 466- 2570 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, or at 609-567-3653 during all other business hours, Monday through Friday. A request cannot be left on the voice mail system. It is required that you speak directly to someone. A message can be left with a call back number and someone will return your call so the inspection can be scheduled.

Construction Contact List:

Zoning Officer – Michael Marcinczyk –  michael.marcinczyk@hopewellboro-nj.us 
Office hours: Monday evenings 5:00 – 6:00 pm.  Meeting via appointment also available. 

Construction Official – James Blair
609-466-2570 (Tuesdays and Fridays 8:30am to 11am only).   To schedule inspections on all other days and times, please call the NJ State Office of Local Code Enforcement 609-567-3653

Historic Preservation Commission Chairperson – Alison Baxter 609-466-0387; alisonb@msarchitectsllc.com

Planning Board Secretary – Maria Andrews 908-892-5690

ZONING ENFORCEMENT

No construction permit shall be issued for the following activities unless and until a zoning permit is issued by the Borough Zoning Officer.  The following activities will require a zoning permit:

(1)  The construction, erection or alteration of any structure.  A structure is defined by ordinance as a combination of materials to form a construction for occupancy, use or ornamentation whether installed on, above or below the surface a parcel of land.  Improvements such as heating and cooling systems, fireplaces, plumbing and electrical systems, new siding, etc. shall not require a zoning permit.

(2)  The change in the use of land, building or structure.  Use is defined by ordinance as the specific purpose for which land or building is designed, arranged, intended or for which it is or may be occupied or maintained. 

PERMITTING PROCEDURE

The Construction Code Official shall not issue a permit for any of the activities cited above unless and until the applicant has obtained a valid zoning permit from the Zoning Officer.  A copy of an approved permit or approval letter shall suffice as proof of compliance.

HISTORIC DISTRICT ENFORCEMENT

No construction permit shall be issued for any property located within the boundaries of the Historic District unless and until (1) either a waiver of the requirements is issued by the Borough Zoning Officer or (2) a Certificate of Appropriateness is issued by the Borough Planning Board on the recommendation of the Historic District Committee.  The following activities require a Certificate of Appropriateness:

(1)  The erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, restoration or demolishment of any building or structure as to its exterior of architectural features which are subject to public view from a public street, way or place.

(2)  Within the historic district zone buffer area, no new construction shall hereafter be erected, and no demolition shall hereafter be undertaken, unless or until an application for a building or demolition permit shall have been approved as to its exterior architectural features.

 

PERMITTING PROCEDURE

The construction code official shall refer all applicants that meet the above-cited criteria to the Borough Zoning Officer for a determination as to the applicability of the historic district requirements.  If the requirements can be waived, the Zoning Officer shall sign a waiver and refer the applicant back to the construction code official.  If the requirements cannot be waived, the Zoning Officer shall refer the applicant to the Historic District Committee.  If a zoning permit is also required, a copy of the approved permit will be attached to the referral document.  Upon receipt of a Certificate of Appropriateness, the applicant shall take both a copy of the certificate of appropriateness and the zoning permit to the construction code official as proof of local compliance. 

 

 

New Jersey State law mandates that a fine of up to $2000.00 be issued to any person performing work without the necessary permits.