How to Access Edison Government for Business
There are many questions that arise when getting ready to open a business. Who is the right person to speak with about my business question? Who is in charge of garbage pickup? Do I need a permit to do this?
The Township has made it easier to get these questions answered and to get a business up and running. The following information addresses some of these issues. As well, contact information for the various departments is provided in order to further explore a question or business-specific issue.
When a business is interested in locating in Edison, the first question to ask is if the potential location supports the proposed business use. This entails a phone call or visit to the Township’s Planning and Zoning Division. The Zoning Officer can then assist in determining the zone of the property and if the business would be a permitted use. As well, if the zoning of the property is known, the business owner can check the zoning code on the Township website to preliminarily gauge whether or not the business would be permitted on the proposed site.
Ideally the use would be permitted in the zone. However, each case is unique. It is possible that there may be a gray area for this use, or that the use may not be permitted in that zone. The business owner does have options for addressing these scenarios.
In the rare instance that there is a gray area as to whether the use is permitted, the property owner may submit a request to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for interpretation, to see if the use would be acceptable on the site.
If the use is not permitted in the zone, the business may submit an application to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a use variance. This process timeframe varies per application and may take multiple months.
If the use is permitted in the zone, the next determination is if any improvements are planned for the site. If there will be site improvements that require Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment approval (as determined by the land use regulations of the Township), the next step is to make an application to the appropriate board. The application and submittal requirements may be obtained from the Planning and Zoning Division of the Township.
If there are no improvements that trigger a board review, the business owner needs to officially apply for a zoning permit for the proposed use. This is to make sure that parking, signage, landscaping, any necessary site cleanup and other needs are addressed.
Please note that there are fees associated with zoning permits and board reviews. Each case is unique, so the permit needs and associated fees vary and are to be determined on a case by case basis.
A permit to erect, alter, or relocate a sign is required prior to the sign being installed. Applying for approval for a proposed sign is done through the zoning permit process, whether through zoning permit or board approval application. Information on the application process may be obtained at the Edison Planning and Zoning Division.
Once a zoning permit for the proposed use is approved by the Planning and Zoning Division, if there is no site plan board approval required, the business owner must now go to the Building Division to obtain a "certificate of occupancy" or "CO".
The Building Division will determine if there is a need for a CO for the proposed business. If the business owner wishes to do remodeling or construction to the building, a building permit may be required. Once that construction is complete per the building permit, a CO is required prior to the new business opening on the site. As well, if there is a change in business category for the new business per the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) standards (for example, changing an office building into a restaurant), even if there is not construction proposed, a CO must be obtained to ensure that the site meets the UCC regulatory requirements for the business category in which the new business is classified.
In obtaining a CO, inspections are required by the Township’s licensed inspectors. Those include electric, fire, building and plumbing. The inspections needed are based on the type of work being done, regulatory construction issues, and/or the issues that surface as a result of the new business being in a different business category than the prior use per the UCC. As well, the Health Department may require a health inspection to be done prior to a CO being issued to comply with any necessary business licensing and permit requirements.
If no construction is required and the business locating to the site is a turnkey operation that does not trigger a change in business category, the Building Division may determine that the business owner only need apply for a "certificate of continued occupancy" or "CCO" instead of the more rigorous CO permit. To obtain a CCO, the business owner must submit an application to the Building Division. The Building Division will then conduct a CCO inspection, which is a visual observation of any obvious safety and property maintenance conditions.
Please note that there are fees associated with CO and CCO applications, as well as for inspections and other Building Division functions. Additionally, each case is unique, so the permit needs and associated fees vary and are to be determined on a case by case basis.
THE ROLE OF ENGINEERING
When board approval is required or there is a need to do site work such as parking, landscaping, drainage, etc., engineering reviews and approvals may be required. The Township does have site plan review applications, tree removal and replacement permits, storm water compliance and other applications. To make sure all necessary permits and the corresponding fees are submitted, the business owner should contact the Engineering Division to determine all of the engineering permits that will be required.
The Township requires several types of businesses to obtain business licenses. The majority of licenses are issued through the Division of Licenses and Permits. Licenses are necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the public utilizing or in proximity to these establishments. Types of licenses and reporting include, but are not limited to the following:
º alcoholic beverage sales º barbershops º charitable solicitations º child care facilities º home improvement contractors º hotels and motels º massage parlors º motor vehicle sales lots º multiple dwelling and rental registration º peddlers, solicitors and transient merchants º precious metal and gem businesses º poolrooms, bowling alleys, circuses, and amusements º spas and pools º taxicabs and limousine services
The Township’s Health Department requires all restaurants and food businesses to be licensed. As well, restaurants are required to go through plan review with the Health Department, in addition to any Building Division reviews and inspections.
The 9-1-1 Center maintains a database of every business in town. The Township requests that businesses send their information on their letterhead, including business name, address, telephone number and emergency contact list. This can be faxed to 9-1-1 Communications Center Attn: Sgt. Ken Schreck at 732-248-7573 or mailed to Edison Police Department Attn: Chief of Police, 100 Municipal Blvd., Edison, NJ 08817.
The Township does have regulations on property maintenance. The Health Department is responsible for monitoring grass and landscaping, litter control, dilapidated buildings and exterior building maintenance, noise control, odor issues, and other impacts that a property or business may have on adjacent properties. For information on these issues, please contact the Health Department.
Businesses and property owners are responsible for snow removal on site. The Township has regulations as to the timeframe when sidewalks and handicap parking spaces must be cleared. Please contact the Public Works Department for specific requirements.
Building alarms must be registered with the Edison Police Department.
UTILITIES & SERVICES
Property Tax Township 732-248-7228
Recycling Private Hauler Yellow pages
Garbage Private Hauler Yellow pages
Sewer Township 732-248-7382
Water: Middlesex Water Co. 732-634-1500
Edison Water Co. 1-855-722-7067
American Water Co. 1-800-272-1325
Gas/Electric Public Service Gas Co. 732-668-3840
Public Service Electric Co. 732-764-3000
Elizabethtown Gas 908-289-5000
Phone Verizon 855-696-6780
Planning and Zoning Division
Public Works Department
Police Dept. (alarm registration)