Is it possible to use NetBeans to create HTML/JS/CSS projects which can be run by a local web browser instead of a full PHP project which has to be passed through an interpreter?
The short answer is yes. You would build the program in nearly the same way, but just open the source HTML file directly in your browser as a file instead of accessing it from the webserver Netbeans is using.
But its like using an sledgehammer to kill a gnat. There are better tools on every platform for doing web development, IMHO.