The Zoning Board of Adjustment reviews applications that propose utilization of properties that aren’t consistent with municipal zoning laws. This organization previews applications for variances and, from there, is empowered to grant exceptions to zoning ordinances in cases where the enforcement of the zoning laws would cause hardship or injustice. These non-permitted uses are based upon the zoning ordinances established by the borough. It is the Board’s chief goal to preserve the safety and welfare of the community by conserving property value and encouraging appropriate use of land.
Buildings of various types are limited to specific zones. These zones are regulated with respect to category, nature, and use, along with specific plot sizes, required building setbacks, lot coverage, and other regulations. An applicant must meet specific criteria contained in the Municipal Land Use Laws by satisfying specific legal proof standards. This burden of proof is placed upon the applicant to demonstrate that the requested relief is justified without impinging upon the rights of others. Some items to consider when requesting a variance are special reason, benefits, negative criteria and hardship. Applicants are not automatically entitled to a variance.
Zoning laws require that notice be served on all property owners within 200 feet of the applicant’s property, and must be either hand delivered or sent by Certified Mail. The law also requires this notice to be published in a local newspaper at least ten days prior to the hearing date. These notification forms alert neighbors that a variance is being requested, so all interested citizens have an opportunity to attend and be heard at the public meeting.
A Board of Adjustment meeting is a formal session where action is taken. Applicants and witnesses are sworn in, the meeting is recorded on tape, and a Recording Secretary keeps an official record of testimony. Individuals have a choice to either present their own application before the Board or be represented by an attorney. Contrastingly, all corporations must be represented by an attorney.
Members of the Board are resident volunteers appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Council. They are assisted in their deliberations by the Board Attorney and Borough Engineer, whose opinions are considered by the Board in its deliberations.
Public Hearing Procedures
Meetings are conducted by the chairperson, as a Judge, and the Board, a jury. The applicant must provide a testimony; witnesses may choose to do the same. Comments from the public will be accepted when the meeting is open to the public by the Chairperson. All applications are judged on their individual merit; the Board cannot predetermine the outcome of an application.
Finally, the Building Department determines if a variance is needed. All applicants for bulk variances need to be issued a letter of denial from the Zoning Code Official to determine if a variance is required. This letter clearly states all deficiencies; this information has required all applications to the Board for their review.
A printed agenda is available before all meetings on the Borough Hall bulletin board, in addition to the website. Board meetings are held the fourth Wednesday of each month, with an exception of November and December, when the meetings are usually scheduled on the third Wednesday.
Certain applications at the public meeting may not be completed at one session, and will be carried to a future date. This information will be announced verbally at the meeting. To confirm a continuation or rescheduling, call the Board Secretary at (201) 818-4400 x216 during office hours.
Stephanie Tengi, Chairperson
Michael Nestor, Attorney
2017 Meeting Dates
All meetings begin at 8:00 p.m. in the Municipal Building. The meeting dates for the Board of Adjustment are as follows: