Application Process Before a Municipal Zoning Board of Adjustments or Planning Board

Every Zoning Board and Planning Board in New Jersey is required to schedule at least one public meeting per month. The New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act requires that a schedule of regular meetings be adopted and notice be provided to the public. The Act requires that the meeting schedule be filed with the municipal clerk, posted on the municipal bulletin board, and sent to two newspapers, one of which is the official newspaper of the municipality. If these notice requirements are not followed, this is grounds for dismissal of any hearing and the voiding of any action taken by the Board during such a meeting. Special meetings that are normally not part of the monthly agenda also require notice to the public within a 48-hour period. All Zoning Board and Planning Board hearings are to be open to the general public, unless extreme circumstances exist. Minutes must be taken and made public as well.

When applying for a variance in front of a Planning Board or Zoning Board, an applicant presents his or her case together with witnesses pertaining to the specific variance they are requesting. Objections to a variance application are allowed at the meeting and objectors have the legal right to voice their objections as witnesses as well. If the objectors wish to hire an attorney and call separate rebuttal witnesses, they are legally entitled to do so. The Board, the opposing party, and the public all have the right to confront each witness called by a party. In addition, the forum remains open at the end of each hearing for public comments and questions pertaining to each variance application.

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

Applying for a variance in front of a Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment can be an intimidating process, especially if your application is met with objectors. Often times, an applicant may be unprepared to meet the strict requirements that the Board requires in granting a variance. The attorneys at Hanlon Niemann & Wright have presented countless applications for variances before Planning Boards and Zoning Boards. They know what to show the Board, what witnesses to call, and what questions to ask any witnesses you or your opposition may call. They have represented many objectors to zoning applications as well.

Please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. if you have an issue related to Planning Boards or Zoning Boards.

He can be reached at our toll free number (855) 376-5291 or by email at



Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a New Jersey Zoning Law Attorney