Long Hill Zoning Board Discusses Variances, Annual Report, and Zoning Education

In a recent meeting, the Long Hill Zoning Board addressed several issues that span from procedural enhancements to the nuances of zoning variances. A topic during the discussion was the board’s annual report, as mandated by Section 8 of the municipal land use law, underscoring its role in providing feedback on zoning ordinances and regulations. The board also debated the need for updated contact information in the applicant guidebooks and Zoning Board of Adjustment rules. A significant portion of the meeting was dedicated to the education of board members, with plans for a primer for new members and the importance of attending certified courses highlighted. Additionally, the meeting delved into the complexities of various types of variances, the burden of proof required from applicants, and the implications of zoning decisions on the character of neighborhoods.

The annual report was a focal point of the conversation, with the board attorney emphasizing its importance as a reflective tool for the board’s activities and its influence on zoning law at the municipal level. The report is intended to identify areas in zoning ordinances and land use regulations that may require amendments, effectively closing the loop on the municipality’s zoning laws.

Attention to the educational needs of the board was evident, with details about an upcoming event hosted by the Somerset County Bar Association and the importance of board members completing a certified course for zoning board members. The board’s attorney, planner, and engineer are scheduled to conduct a primer for newer members to aid their comprehension of the zoning application process from the applicant’s perspective. Moreover, the discussion touched on the significance of zoning as a balance between property rights and community welfare.

Further into the meeting, the board attorney provided a detailed explanation of the various types of applications processed by the board, including appeals, interpretations, and variances. Special attention was paid to D variances, which require a supermajority vote, emphasizing the need for applicants to be well-prepared when presenting their requests. An anecdote from the board attorney about a past variance case illustrated the real-life applications of these deliberations.

The necessity for a quorum and the presence of a full complement of board members during hearings was a recurring theme. Concerns were raised about the impact of canceled meetings and the procedures for members to catch up on missed proceedings, stressing the importance of being present or adequately informed to vote on applications. This discussion seamlessly transitioned into the intricacies of bulk and C variances, with explanations of the C1 “undue hardship” variance and the C2 “flexible C” variance, which requires the applicant to prove that benefits of the variance outweigh any detriments.

Deliberations on how to define a neighborhood for the purpose of determining variances led to a discussion. The board agreed that a project should not be substantially out of character with the neighborhood, but the definition of “neighborhood” itself and its boundary implications were points of contention.

The burden of proof for applicants was a topic, particularly regarding D variances. The board outlined the enhanced burden of proof required for a D1 use variance, where applicants must establish special reasons, undue hardship, or site suitability. The board also discussed D2 variances, related to the expansion of pre-existing non-conforming uses, and D3 variances, which require a demonstration of reconciliation for non-listed uses.

The meeting further examined the proof necessary for grandfathered uses, with the board urging applicants to provide substantial evidence, such as documents or photographs, to validate the existence of a use prior to an ordinance. There was also a discussion about the requirements for commercial versus residential properties, with particular focus given to home offices in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift toward remote work.

A review of conditional use variances brought up the necessity for applicants to demonstrate how their project accommodates deviation from conditions, with the Coventry Square case serving as a reference point. The board also discussed density variances, especially in the Village Center area, and the standards for granting such variances while considering affordable housing requirements.

Lastly, the meeting addressed procedural matters, such as the conditional nature of approvals, the importance of resolutions in capturing the board’s thought processes, and legal considerations during deliberations. The board attorney cautioned members about the implications of statements made during proceedings and highlighted the importance of consulting with experts, including board attorneys, planners, and engineers, for informed decision-making.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Guy Piserchia
Zoning Board Officials:
Edwin F. Gerecht, Jr., Tom Grosskopf, Jerry Aroneo, Jessica Brennan, Gary Gianakis, Tom Flatley, Jonathan Rosenberg, Randall Watts, Meredith Crawford Collins, Debra Coonce (Board Secretary/Planning & Zoning Coordinator), Steven K. Warner, Esq. (Board Attorney), Elizabeth Leheny, Pp, AICP (Board Planner), Joe Vuich, Pe, Pp, CME (Board Engineer)

Receive debriefs about local meetings in your inbox weekly:

Trending meetings
across the country:

Meeting Date
Filter by bodytypes
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Airport Advisory Board
Art and Culture Board
Beach Committee
Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Board of Elections
Board of Health
Borough Council
Building Committee
Cannabis Control Board
Cemetery Commission
Charter Revision Commission
Child and Family Services Board
City Council
City Identity Committee
Code Enforcement Board
College Board of Trustees
Community Appearance Board
Community Preservation Committee
Community Redevelopment Agency
County Council
Disability Advisory Committee
Economic Development Board
Elderly Affairs Board
Electric Advisory Board
Environmental Commission
Financial Oversight Board
Historic Preservation Commission
Housing Authority
Human Relations Committee
Human Resources Committee
Insurance Fund
Land Use Board
Library Board
Licensing Board
Mental Health Commission
Municipal Alliance
Open Space Commission
Oversight and Review Committee
Parking Authority
Parks and Gardens Commission
Parks Commission
Pension Board
Planning Board
Police Review Board
Property Assessment Board
Public Safety Committee
Recreation Commission
Redevelopment Agency
Rent Control Board
Rent Leveling Board
School Board
Sewerage Authority
Shade Tree Commission
Special Magistrate
Taxation & Revenue Advisory Committee
Tourism Board
Trails Committee
Transportation Board
Utility Board
Value Adjustment Board
Veterans Committee
Water Control Board
Women's Advisory Committee
Youth Advisory Committee
Zoning Board
Filter by County
Bay County
Bradford County
Brevard County
Broward County
Clay County
Duval County
Escambia County
Gulf County
Hendry County
Highlands County
Hillsborough County
Indian River County
Lake County
Lee County
Leon County
Levy County
Liberty County
Manatee County
Marion County
Martin County
Miami-Dade County
Monroe County
Okaloosa County
Orange County
Osceola County
Palm Beach County
Pasco County
Pinellas County
Polk County
Putnam County
Santa Rosa County
Sarasota County
Seminole County
St. Johns County
Taylor County
Volusia County
Walton County
Barnstable County
Berkshire County
Bristol County
Essex County
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Plymouth County
Suffolk County
Worcester County
Atlantic County
Bergen County
Burlington County
Camden County
Cape May County
Cumberland County
Essex County
Gloucester County
Hudson County
Hunterdon County
Mercer County
Middlesex County
Monmouth County
Morris County
Ocean County
Passaic County
Somerset County
Sussex County
Union County
Warren County
Filter by sourcetypes