NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Borough Council approved a series of new ordinances on Monday night designed to boost business activity in commercial zones, allow outdoor restaurant seating in the downtown area and set rules for small wind-power installations.

The zoning changes were sought to make the borough more “business friendly,” Mayor Brooke Hern said in May when the rules were introduced.

The outdoor dining rules were recommended in the borough’s draft downtown design standards that aim to make the shopping district more attractive to businesses and shoppers.

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Here’s a summary of the new ordinances.

The zoning rules establish new permitted commercial uses in two areas that were once zoned as light industrial and research laboratory. The goal is reduce the need for companies intending to bring a news business into those areas along Mountain and Central Avenues to file for variances in order to move in.

The ordinance establishes two major zones:

The purpose and intent of the Technology-Business Innovation Zone 1 is to encourage low/medium density commercial development for the purpose of high technology facilities, medical, educational, office and related facilities in a campus-like setting. This zone shall be combined with a design review district to ensure a high quality, aesthetic environment. The land use mix is intended to be developed on larger lots of a five-acre minimum, the ordinance said.

The purpose and intent of the Technology-Business Innovation Zone 2 is to encourage low density light industrial and commercial development for the location of high technology, educational and related facilities. This zone shall be combined with a design review district to ensure a high quality, aesthetic environment, according to the ordinance.

The outdoor seating ordinance will allow dining establishments to serve patrons in the downtown area in outdoor seating sections between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.

The  ordinance  states the seating would aid in “creating a positive and enjoyable atmosphere” in the borough. The rules include some restrictions, especially a need to maintain a 5-foot pathway on the sidewalks so pedestrians can pass.

The draft  design standards set five goals: To establish more predictability about the form and character of alterations and new construction;  to promote good civic design, physical continuity and high visual quality of site and building design; to promote physical design and community planning that assure that adjacent land uses function compatibly and harmoniously in terms of scale and location; provide guidelines that encourage creativity and individual design, while establishing limitations; and provide design direction to property owners, developers, designers, and decision makers.

The residential wind energy ordinance sets rules for placing a wind turbine operation on a residential property of 5 acres or more. The installation cannot be used as a means of primarily selling power to the grid, but is limited to providing  electric power to the single location.

The ordinance  establishes maximum height and noise restrictions for the operation of the wind power installation.

The ordinances can be viewed at