Do you need zoning relief to use your property? You may need to apply to your local zoning hearing board for a variance or a special exception. Alternatively, you may need conditional use approval from your Township Board of Supervisors or Borough Council.
Zoning matters are often cumbersome and confusing and the fact that they affect your use and enjoyment of your property adds to the stress of going through the process. Clemons Richter & Reiss has a vast amount of experience handling zoning and land use law matters and we would welcome the opportunity to assist you in resolving your zoning matter. In order to help you get started, below we have provided explanations for commonly used zoning requests. If you would like to further discuss your zoning matter, please feel free to call our office at 215-348-1776 to schedule a free consultation.
Commonly Used Terms
A variance is request for an exception to the requirements or restrictions contained in a municipality’s zoning ordinance. Ordinarily, in order to show entitlement to a variance, an applicant must demonstrate all the following elements:
a. an unnecessary hardship stemming from unique physical characteristics or conditions will result if the variance is denied;
b. because of such physical circumstances or conditions, there is no possibility that the property can be developed in strict conformity with the provisions of the zoning ordinance and a variance is necessary to enable the reasonable use of the property;
c. the hardship has not been created by the applicant;
d. granting the variance will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood nor be detrimental to the public welfare; and
e. the variance sought is the minimum that will afford relief.
A special exception is a permitted use within a specified zoning district. However, a property owner must apply to a zoning hearing board to obtain approval and must establish certain criteria before the zoning hearing board to be entitled to a special exception.
A conditional use is similar to a special exception in that it is a permitted use within a zoning district. Instead of the zoning hearing board deciding the matter though, the governing body of the municipality makes the decision. As the name suggests, conditions are often attached to an approval of such a use.
Clemons Richter & Reiss welcomes the opportunity to represent you to achieve your desired result. We have over 40 years of combined experience handling zoning issues and have a record of success in achieving favorable results for our clients.
Please contact our firm at 215-348-1776 to schedule a free Zoning and Land Use Law consultation.