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Zoning / Code Enforcement

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The Zoning Officer, also referred to as the code enforcer, is the enforcement arm of zoning, making it the police department to the Board's Court.  Before an applicant can undertake a project, they are required to make a request for a zoning permit.  The Zoning Officer is responsible for making the initial determination of whether the proposal conforms to the zoning ordinance.  When the Zoning Officer reviews a request for a zoning permit, they must identify any and all variances, both existing and proposed.  The applicant, however, may make a direct request for relief to the Land Use Board, without first receiving a denial from the Zoning Officer.  When the applicant does so, the Board, just like the Zoning Officer, is to consider any and all variances or permits that may be required, even those not raised by the applicant or the Zoning Officer.  It is important to remember that the burden of proof is always on the applicant.  When the Zoning Officer can confirm that the request is consistent with the zoning ordinance, the permit should be granted.  When it is inconsistent, it should be denied.    The Zoning Officer's decisions may only be appealed to the Land Use Board.  Once the Land Use Board rules, the Zoning Officer respects and carries out the decision of the Board.

For one year following the implementation of a Zone change, the Zoning Officer, under the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL), has the right to issue a Certificate of Nonconforming Use, provided the use is in face a "valid pre-existing non-conforming use" (N.J.S. 40:55D-68).  After that initial 12-month period, only the Land Use Board can rule on the validity of a pre-existing, non-conforming use.  An applicant must provide proof that the use either pre-existed all zoning, or that the existing use was a permitted use at some point, prior to the Zoning change.  Or in the alternative, the applicant must be able to show that a use variance was granted at some point.  
  David J. Diehl, CFM Linda J. Grohs
  (908) 362-6663 x231 (908) 362-6663 x221
  Monday -  9 AM - 4 PM Mon-Thurs - 12 PM - 4 PM
  Wednesday - 1 PM - 4 PM