A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Too Close For Comfort?

Based on my reading of the Zoning Board agenda for its upcoming meeting, lots of folks want permission to build closer to the edges of their property than zoning rules allow. Undoubtedly the Zoning Board looks at each case carefully. And neighbors may come in and lodge their concerns about building plans. But who really wants to be the stick in the mud who keeps someone from building that deck or pool they've always wanted? I mean, why poo-poo a new jacuzzi just because its construction would put it a few feet too close to a property line? Case by case, I'm sure it is hard to hold the line.

Presumably these setbacks have some basis in safety and aesthetics, right? If the house next door catches fire and your deck is only two feet from the fence, is your house going to burn down, too? If your neighbor decides to begin selling Amway, should he be able to erect a commercial sign in his front yard? Zoning variances aren't automatic, nor should they be. But many get approved. Too many? Who's to say?

In the current agenda,, for example, Yeshiva Gedolah in Cliffwood wants to increase its student body by more than half, to 141 students, prompting the addition of variance requests to those already pending. Both the Yeshiva and a commercial truck painting company want to have signs up that aren't otherwise permitted, so they need use variances. There are three decks in New Business, and a deck and jacuzzi variance can be found in Continued Business.

MAPL has a couple of interesting books on zoning.

The Complete Guide to Zoning: How Real Estate Owners and Developers Can Create and Preserve Property Value, by Dwight H Merriam. (2005: McGraw-Hill). Its Chapter 21 (pg 217) focuses on variances.

Zoning Administration in New Jersey for Zoning Boards of Adjustment, Planning Boards, Governing Bodies, and Zoning Officers, by William Martin Cox. (1980: Rutgers University)


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