The Zoning Board of Adjustment functions are very specific and different from the Planning Board in that they are required to review departures from our Township's Zoning laws. The Zoning Board of Adjustment's principal duties are to hear appeals, to grant variances from the strict application of the zoning ordinance and to rule on "use" applications.
There are various types of variance applications under the jurisdiction of the Zoning Board. One variance is called an "A" variance. This type of application is filed when an applicant believes that the Township's Zoning Officer has erred in denying a request for a permit, CO (Certificate of Occupancy) or Zoning Approval Certificate. The Zoning Board will take testimony and decide a case based on proofs presented. The Zoning Board is also responsible for interpretations of the zoning ordinance and the zoning map on questions related to whether or not a specific use is permitted. This type of variance is called a "B" variance.
The most common type of variance heard by the Zoning Board of Adjustment is a variance from the bulk and dimensional requirements of the ordinance, referred to as a "C" variance or "bulk" variance. This is a commonly requested variance in town, generally associated with construction of single-family dwellings, accessory structures and additions. When building or expanding, a "C" variance may be needed because existing constraints of the property, size, area, shape or topographic conditions which may prevent compliance with the zoning regulations for that property. The Board then makes decisions based on documents and proofs submitted, the neighborhood setting, nature of request and many other reasons. The Board averages two to four "C" variances monthly.
The Board also must deal with those applications for variances where a use is not specifically permitted in the zone. This is called a "D" or "use" variance. There are six different kinds of "D" variances, but the most common "D" variance is generally a request for a use not permitted in a zone or expansion of a non-conforming use (an existing use which under today's regulations, would not be permitted in the existing zone).
For additional information on Planning and Zoning Boards, please visit the New Jersey Planning Officials site.