New businesses that want to open up shop in Montclair will have to obtain a zoning permit first from the township under a proposed amendment to municipal codes.

The Township Council earlier this week introduced an ordinance that mandates that new tenants apply for and receive get a zoning permit prior to occupying space in a building, clarifying language in the existing municipal zoning code.

The Township Planning Board signed off on the code amendment, agreeing to send it to the council, at its Sept. 25 meeting. At that time, Township Planner Janice Talley told the board that a pawn shop, which are not allowed in town, had been operating in Montclair for some time and argued it was never told it was not permitted.

“This [the new ordinance] is in response to a business that opened an establishment [the pawn shop] in a commercial district where the use was prohibited and, when served with a notice of zoning violation two years later when it was brought to the zoning officer’s attention, complained that the township should have notified them earlier that they were not in compliance,” Talley said in an email this week.

“The zoning officer was not aware of this particular use as neither a building permit or zoning permit was ever filed with the township,” she wrote.

The ordinance that the council introduced  says that it aims to clarify existing zoning administrative requirements.

“Montclair Township’s zoning ordinance does not currently require issuance of a zoning permit for a change in use for nonresidential structures and there have been instances where new uses have occupied space in nonresidential buildings that are not permitted,” the ordinance says. “The proposed ordinance is intended to require new tenants to obtain a zoning permit prior to occupying space in a building.”

According to the ordinance, “A zoning permit issued by the zoning officer is required before occupying any nonresidential building or nonresidential tenant space and shall be required before any building permit can be issued.”