When a property owner proposes a land use not consistent with the zoning regulations, the Zoning permit Application is denied, and the landowner is required to apply to the Board of Adjustment for a Use Variance. When this type of development is proposed, the township reviews the plans based on the proposed use and focuses on the proposed use and its potential impact to the adjoining properties.
At this level of site plan review the township, through their Technical Coordinating Committee, consisting of the Zoning Board attorney, township planner, and township engineer, meet with the developer / land owner and review the plans in depth prior to the actual Board of Adjustment public hearing to assure all aspects of the site plans related to operations and impacts to adjacent properties, traffic, and storm water control are met.
At the public hearing before the Board of Adjustment the developer or their professionals are required to provide testimony for the record on the various aspects of the project and the benefits and detriments in approving the development plan.
In all instances the public can ask questions and voice their approval or concerns regarding the plan prior to the board taking a vote to approve or deny the application on the merits of the project.
When planning any type of improvement for your property or to the exterior of a home, the Zoning Department needs to get involved in the initial plan review to assure the proposal meets the required zoning approval. This type of review should be performed early in the initial project planning stages and not at the submission of building permits.
The Zoning Department should be your first stop when considering exterior improvements to your home, business or property when considering placement of sheds, detached garages, generators, pools and patios, fences, retaining walls, or other site improvements.
Assistance can be given in properly directing the property owner during this planning phase to maintain a conforming lot. The initial discussions regarding the improvements may help you avoid the need to obtain approval from the Board of Adjustment.
Spending minutes at the Zoning Department counter with the code enforcement officer can save both time and money.