After four years of making revisions to the zoning regulations, the changes have collected into one inclusive amended version of the ordinance.

The new ordinance, which will be available online, makes a few new definitions and organization.

"The purpose here was to create a document that was easier to use, it was more organized, and with a table of contents," township Solicitor Winnifred Sebastian said at the hearing held Dec. 29.

Planner David Sweet explained the objectives of the ordinance changes as to add flexibility to development options, support agriculture, retain open space and use language that is easier to read and understand.

Recapping the changes that have occurred to the zoning ordinance since 2001, Sweet pointed out some of the bigger changes that have been made. One of the major changes from 2002 and 2003 was the inclusion of transferable development rights (TDRs) and the Retained Open Space Development (ROSD) regulations.

The ROSD is a variation of a clustering ordinance, where any new development must include an open-space area while grouping the new homes together. Though the development must include single-family homes, there are also provisions for townhouses or multi-family dwellings in the development. TDRs may also be used to increase density of the residential development.

The new regulations make the ROSD the preferred approach to subdivision in the R2 and R3 zones, where a traditional single-family lot-style development would be allowed only by conditional use.

Other changes that are new to the ordinance include putting home occupations into a two-tier system of "no impact" and "major" with major now requiring a special exception from the township.

The natural features section of the ordinance now addresses preservation of riparian corridors, and provisions are included for bed and breakfast establishments.

The amendment does not change the zoning map or create any new zoning districts.

"Since we are looking at some map changes next year, I expect there will be some catch-up things as well," Sebastian said.

A hearing for changes to the zoning map is being scheduled for March.

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