Oradell Zoning Board Struggles with Definition of ‘Structure’

At the recent Oradell Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting, a seemingly innocuous question turned into a fascinating philosophical debate: What, exactly, constitutes a ‘structure’? At the heart of this deliberation lies an object on a resident’s property that has sparked an intellectual tug-of-war among the board members.

The meeting began routinely at 7:30 pm, with the majority of the board in attendance. Following the standard procedural activities, they plunged into the core of their agenda. An intriguing point of contention quickly emerged during a situation involving a mysterious object or potential structure. The chairman clarified that the meeting’s key question was determining whether this object qualified as a structure.

One board member, speculated that the object’s mobility might impact its classification. Drawing a comparison to a trampoline, he noted its impermanence but acknowledged it was an atypical backyard item. Emily, another board member, suggested the object might avoid the structure classification if it could be removed during the off-season.

This intellectual exercise, however, was not solely confined to the board members. The community members attending the meeting were also encouraged to share their opinions. The chairman emphasized that public viewpoints and feedback were equally crucial in shaping their decision.

One board member took a more rigid stance, asserting that the object, regardless of its composition or visibility from the road, was indeed a structure. He highlighted the significance of the board’s decision, as it could require the property owner to apply for a variance.

Adding to the conundrum were the so-called ‘plastic footings’ or sleeves associated with the object. This board member voiced concern that if these footings were permanent, it would indeed cement the object’s status as a structure. This strict interpretation, however, did not sit well with the board member who admitted to having reservations about it.

What was this structure-that-may-not-be-a-structure? A batting cage.

Ultimately, as the discussion meandered, an alternative was proposed. The property owner was offered the option to defer the vote to the next meeting or even consult with the zoning officer regarding potential modifications to the object that might change its classification. This suggestion marked a turning point, with the owner’s representative indicating they might consider altering the object.

In an agreed resolution, the case was postponed to the August 21st meeting, with a further deferral to September 18th if needed. The board clarified that there were no time constraints on the resolution due to the unique nature of the case.

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