Understanding New Jersey’s Process for Obtaining Land Use and Zoning Variances

By Jason R. Rittie If you are a resident looking to add an addition, pool or deck, for example, to your home, or a business looking to use or improve property, you may be required to apply for what is known as a Variance. The process, with its applications, board requirements, legal notices, and public hearings, can be complicated, not only because zoning standards can differ from town to town, but also because delays can occur, and applications can be challenged. This article describes the path a resident or business owner would take to obtain a Variance in New Jersey, with some the twists and turns that can happen. In New Jersey, every municipality has adopted a set of Land Use and Zoning Ordinances which describe and define zoning standards for permitted and prohibited uses within a particular zone district. In addition, these same Land Use and Zoning Ordinances establish certain requirements, referred to as bulk standards, that describe zoning criteria for…

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