New Jersey Allows Zoning Board and Planning Board Decisions Can Be Appealed to the Courts

HNWReal Estate, Landlord/Tenant, and Zoning

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., a NJ Real Estate Attorney

It is very common that individuals must obtain variances when construction is involved on their property. For some, they may be building a house that doesn’t meet a height requirement set forth by the town. Others may want to build an addition on their home, but they do not meet the set back requirement as stated in the town ordinance. Whatever the reason, lots of people must obtain a variance in order to build something on their property that does not meet the master building plan of the city/municipality that they live in. In order to obtain such a variance, the property owner must present their case to receive such a variance in front of the Zoning Board or Planning Board, depending on the type of variance they are seeking. For some, this process is easy and straightforward, as the Board hearing their request grants the variance with little hassle. Others, however, are met with resistance and denials of their variance request.

Planning Boards and Zoning Boards are made up of citizens of the municipality. This can bring a lot of positives to the process, as local citizens are undoubtedly more familiar with their city and can evaluate properties and variances in relation to their true impact on the community. Unfortunately, however, along with the local expertise often comes peer pressure. Many Planning Boards and Zoning Boards deny variances based purely on the wishes of certain members of the community, even when the variance should have been granted. New Jersey law sets forth specific guidelines as to when a variance should and should not be granted. Unfortunately, members often ignore these guidelines, especially when the variance request is met with heavy resistance from the community.

Fortunately, New Jersey laws state that all decisions by Planning Boards and Zoning Boards can be appealed to the NJ Courts. The Courts are not influenced by public opinion and their job is strictly to apply the law. They will look at the facts of the variance application and determine whether the decision of the Board should be overturned, upheld, or if the Board should look at the application again. This provides a check on Zoning Boards and Planning Boards, ensuring that the law is enforced and that those who follow the law pertaining to variances can count on their application being granted.

Appealing a variance denial by a Zoning Board or Planning Board to the Courts can be a complicated process. Courts often give deference to the Boards seeing as though they are made up of members that live in the community. It is important you seek the representation of an experienced Real Estate Attorney that can show why the Board’s decision was wrong and why your variance should be granted. It is important your attorney present sufficient evidence that shows why your property meets the guidelines that satisfy the requirements for a variance.

If you have any questions regarding a variance or the appeals process, please do not hesitate to contract Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. today at 855-376-5291 or email him at Mr. Niemann is an experienced Real Estate Attorney and has appeared before various Zoning Boards, Planning Boards, and Courts throughout New Jersey to fight for his clients’ rights to receive a variance.  He would be more than happy to discuss your matter with you.  For more valuable information, go to to learn more.

Previous PostNext Post