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Frequently asked questions about variances for business zoning

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Business Law |

In New Jersey, local authorities create municipal zoning ordinances. Every city, township or municipality will have its own rules.

Still, some questions are common to doing business in Linwood and Atlantic County no matter the particulars.

What is a variance?

Sometimes lawmakers write a zoning ordinance based on the assumption of a square or rectangular plot, but a property may not neatly fit inside the legal lines. If this applies to you, you may need a variance. Local governing boards can grant variances if they do not violate other land use laws which supersede your request. According to New Jersey statute, variances expire within 12 months of their issue date. 

What is the Planning Board?

The Planning Board is a group of citizens who are bound by state land use law and tasked with evaluating variance requests. The burden of proof lies with the applicant to demonstrate that the Board should grant a variance.

Why are there different categories of variances?

Complex situations arise and create the need for multiple types of variances. “Use variances” exist to allow the use of a single building or property that was not originally in compliance with the law. These are more difficult to win and usually arise by way of exception to a longstanding rule. “Bulk variances” are easier to get and require the applicant to prove that a hardship would occur without a variance in place.

Know the law so that you can have a better chance of winning your request for variance.