Variance means permission to depart from the literal requirements of a zoning ordinance.
Many homeowners need to apply for a bulk variance when they wish to construct an addition, installing a fence, shed, pool or deck which does not meet the setback requirements of the Township Zoning Ordinance.
The procedure to follow in applying for a variance can be broken down into three steps:
- Filing the application: Submitting the application form, plans, survey, fee and other paper work
- Giving Public Notice: Placing a legal ad in the Home News and notifying your neighbors
- Attending the Public Hearing: Explaining your application to the Zoning Board and reasons for the request
Before filing an application, it is best to either meet with or call the Township Department of Planning and Engineering to confirm that a variance is needed. Once it is determined that a variance is required an application package can be picked up at the Municipal Building or mailed to you.
Filing an Application
The application package includes a checklist to assist you in filing the application. Items to be filed include:
- Application form. One original form with a notarized signature and 12 copies. Many questions on the application form may not apply to your application. These areas may be left blank.
- Survey. Twelve copies of your survey with the proposal indicated on the survey. A new survey should not be enlarged or reduced but shall be true to scale.
- Application Fee. The application fee in most cases is $100. The Township accepts check (made payable to the Township of East Brunswick) or cash. There are other costs involved in applying for a variance such as the legal ad. The total cost is usually less that $200.
- Authorization Form. This form gives permission to the Township to view the outside of your property.
- Tax and Assessment Payment Report. This form is sent to the Revenue Department to determine if all taxes are current. Variances and permits will not be issued if taxes are due.
Once a complete application has been filed with the Township you will receive a letter informing you of the hearing date. The Zoning Board currently meets on Thursday nights at 8 pm in the courtroom. The Board usually meets the first and third Thursday of the month but meeting dates can be at other times due to holidays and other events.
State law requires a legal ad be placed in the Home News at least 10 days before the hearing date stating the date, time and place of hearing, the nature of the matters to be considered and identification of the property by street address and block and lot. A form is provided for your use in the application package.
The ad has to appear only once and to avoid delays should be placed more than 10 days before the hearing date. The 10 days period does not count the day of the hearing as one of the days. The Home News charges a fee to place the ad and also to provide the affidavit indicating proof of publication. The Home News can be reached by calling 732-246-5668.
State law requires that all property owners within 200 feet (in all directions) of the property be notified of the date, time and place of hearing, the nature of the matters to be considered and identification of the property by street address and block and lot. A form is provided for your use.
At your request the Township will prepare a list of all property owners within 200 feet of the property. The fee for the list is $10 or $.25 per name, whichever is greater. Utility company are also required to be notified and are placed on the list.
Public notice must be given by either certified mail (proof of mailing must be supplied) or hand delivery. Hand delivery requires handing the notice to a resident of the property. A signature or initials helps provide proof of service. Notice cannot be left in the mail box or on the property.
On the night of the hearing or prior to the hearing the applicant must bring the affidavit supplied by the Home News indicating the date the legal ad was published and a notarized affidavit (supplied by the Township) indicating the date(s) neighbors were notified, the list of surrounding property owners, a coy of the notice given or sent and proof of mailing (white slips from the post office) for any notices sent by certified mail.
The Zoning Board is a quasi-judicial body and operates similar to judicial hearings. You will be sworn in and then asked to present your application. An attorney is not required and is usually not necessary. The Board members and staff will have an opportunity to ask questions.
After the application is presented the hearing will be open to the public so that questions, comments and objections (if any) can be heard.
Once the public hearing is concluded the board will deliberate and then vote on the application. In their deliberations the Board may ask for more information and the hearing may be continued to another date. Re-notice is usually not required when a hearing is continued.
Deciding an Application
After an application is decided, the Board will adopt a formal resolution of memorialization at a subsequent meeting. This resolution will be mailed to you after it is adopted.