Borough of Fort Lee, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
A Zoning Board of Adjustment is hereby established pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-69 et seq., consisting of seven residents of the Borough to serve for four years from January 1 of the year of their appointment. The Mayor shall nominate and, with the advice and consent of the Council, appoint all such members, including the filling of vacancies occurring in the Board which shall be for the unexpired term only. The Mayor shall make such nomination within 14 days after the office becomes vacant. If the Mayor fails to nominate within said 14 days or the Council fails to confirm any nomination made by the Mayor, then on the 14th day or thereafter the Council shall nominate and appoint all such members. No appointment shall be made except by the vote of a majority of the members of the Council present at the meeting, provided that at least three affirmative votes shall be required for such purpose, the Mayor to have no vote thereon except in the case of a tie.
B. 
The terms of the members first appointed shall be so determined that to the greatest practicable extent the expiration of such term shall be distributed evenly over the first four years after their appointment, provided that the initial term of no member shall exceed four years. Thereafter, the term of each member shall be for four years. Nothing in this section shall, however, be construed to affect the term of any present member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, all of whom shall continue in the office until the completion of the term for which they were appointed.
C. 
No member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment may hold any elective office or position under the municipality.
D. 
A vacancy occurring otherwise than by expiration of term shall be filled for the unexpired term only, in the manner hereinabove set forth for appointment of members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Any member of the Board may be removed by the governing body for cause. Any member so removed shall be entitled to a public hearing if requested by said member.
E. 
No member of the Board shall receive any compensation for his services on the Board.
The Board of Adjustment shall elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman from its members and shall also select a Secretary who may or may not be a Board member or another Borough employee.
There is hereby created the office of Attorney to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The Zoning Board of Adjustment may annually appoint, fix the compensation of or agree upon the rate of compensation of the Zoning Board of Adjustment Attorney, who shall be an attorney other than the Borough Attorney.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment may also employ or contract for and fix the compensation of such experts and other staff and services as it may deem necessary. The Board shall not authorize expenditures which exceed, exclusive of gifts or grants, the amount appropriated by the Borough Council for its use.
The Board shall adopt such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry into effect the provisions and purposes of this chapter. In the issuance of subpoenas, administration of oaths and taking of testimony, the provisions of the County and Municipal Investigations Law of 1953 (N.J.S.A. 2A:67A-1 et seq.) shall apply.
A. 
The powers of the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:55D-69 et seq. and amendments and supplements thereto, and with the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
It is further the intent of this chapter to confer upon the Zoning Board of Adjustment as full and complete powers as may lawfully be conferred upon such Board, including, not by way of limitation, the authority, in connection with any case, action or proceeding before the Board, to interpret and construe the provisions of this chapter, or any term, clause, sentence or word hereof, and the Zoning Map, in accordance with the general rules of construction, applicable to legislative enactments. Upon the filing of a complete application, the Secretary of the Board shall certify the application as being complete as of the date of filing. The failure of an applicant to file a complete application shall toll the time within which the Board shall be required to act upon the application.
C. 
The Board may, in appropriate cases and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, grant variances from the terms of this chapter in accordance with the general or specific rules contained herein, and with the general rules hereby laid down that equity shall be done in cases where the strict construction of the provisions of this chapter would work undue hardship. The powers and duties of the Board shall, in all cases, follow the provisions applicable to it in the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq., or subsequent statutes in such case made and provided, and it shall, from time to time, furnish to any person requesting the same a copy of its rules and information as to how appeals or applications may properly be filed with the Board for its decision thereon.
A. 
Appeals to the Board of Adjustment may be taken by any interested party. Each appeal shall be taken within 20 days prescribed by the statute by filing a notice of appeal with the officer from whom the appeal was taken, together with 10 copies of the notice with the Clerk of the Board. The notice of appeal shall specify the grounds for the appeal. The officer from whom the appeal is taken shall forthwith transmit to the Board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken.
B. 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection B, concerning filing an application for development with the Board of Adjustment, was repealed 6-12-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-14.
C. 
An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the action in respect of which the decision appealed from was made, unless the officer from whom the appeal is taken certifies to the Board of Adjustment after the notice of appeal shall have been filed with him that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would, in his opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property. In such cases, proceedings shall not be stayed otherwise than by a restraining order which may be granted by the Board of Adjustment or by the Superior Court of New Jersey on application or notice to the officer from whom the appeal is taken and on due cause shown.
D. 
(Reserved)[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection D, Fees, was repealed 6-12-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-14. See now Appendix B: Fees and Escrow Funds included at the end of this chapter.
In exercising the above-mentioned power, the Board of Adjustment may, in conformity with the provisions of the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq., or amendments thereto or subsequent statutes applying, reverse or affirm wholly or partly or may modify the order, requirement, decision or determination appealed from and make such other requirement, decision or determination as ought to be made, and to be made, and to that end have all the powers of the administrative officer from whom the appeal was taken.
A. 
Any variance from the terms of this chapter hereafter granted by the Board of Adjustment permitting the erection or alteration of any structure or structures or permitting a specified use of any premises shall expire by limitation unless such construction or alteration shall have been actually commenced on each and every structure permitted by the variance or unless such permitted use has actually been commenced within 18 months from the date of publication of the notice of the judgment or determination of the Board of Adjustment; except, however, that the running of the period of limitation herein provided shall be tolled from the date of filing an appeal from the decision of the Board of Adjustment to the Borough Council or to a court of competent jurisdiction, until the termination in any manner of such appeal or proceeding.
B. 
The running of the period of limitation herein provided shall also be tolled for a period not to exceed six months, upon request to the Board of Adjustment, if the developer proves to the reasonable satisfaction of the Board that the developer was barred or prevented, directly or indirectly, from proceeding with the development because of delays in obtaining legally required approvals from other governmental entities and that the developer applied promptly for, and diligently pursued, those approvals. A developer shall apply for the extension before the expiration of the eighteen-month period, from the date of publication of the notice of the judgment.
[Added 6-27-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-26]
A. 
The Board of Adjustment shall have such powers as are granted by law to:
(1) 
Hear and decide appeals where it is alleged by the appellant that there is error in any order, requirement, decision or referral may by an administrative official or agency based on or made in the enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance.
(2) 
Hear and decide requests for interpretation of the Map or Zoning Ordinance, or for decisions upon other special questions upon which such Board is authorized by the Zoning Ordinance to pass.
(3) 
Where, by reason of exceptional narrowness, shallowness or shape of a specific piece of property, or by reason of exceptional topographic conditions, or by reason of other extraordinary and exceptional situation or condition of such piece of property, the strict application of any regulation in the Zoning Ordinance would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties to or exceptional and undue hardship upon the developer of such property, grant, upon an application or an appeal relating to such property, a variance from such strict application of such regulation so as to relieve such difficulties or hardship, including a variance for a conditional use; provided, however, that no variance shall be granted under this subsection to allow a structure or use in a district restricted against such structure or use; and provided further that the proposed development does not require approval by the Planning Board of a subdivision, site plan or conditional use in conjunction with which the Planning Board shall review a request for a variance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-60(a).
(4) 
In particular cases and for special reasons, grant a variance to allow departure from provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, including but not limited to allowing a structure or use in a district restricted against such structure or use, but only by the affirmative vote of at least five members of the Board.
B. 
No variance or other relief may be granted under the terms of this section unless such variance or other relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the zone plan and the Zoning Ordinance. An application under this section may be referred to any appropriate person or agency, including the Planning Board for its report, provided that such reference shall not extend the period of time within which the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall act.
A. 
The Zoning Board of Adjustment shall, in addition to the powers specified in § 261-22, have power given by law to:
(1) 
Direct issuance of a permit pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-34 for a building or structure in the bed of a mapped street or public drainageway, flood control basin or public area reserved on the Official Map.
(2) 
Direct issuance of a permit pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-36 for a building or structure not related to a street.
B. 
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-76(b), the Board of Adjustment shall have the power to grant to the same extent and subject to the same restrictions as the Planning Board subdivision or site plan approval pursuant to Article 6 of the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-37 et seq., or a conditional use approval pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-67, whenever the proposed development requires approval by the Board of Adjustment of a variance pursuant to § 261-22A(4).
C. 
The developer may elect to submit a separate application requesting approval of the variance and a subsequent application for any required approval of a subdivision, site plan or conditional use. The separate approval of the variance shall be conditioned upon grant of all required subsequent approvals by the Board of Adjustment. No such subsequent approvals shall be granted unless such approval can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without substantial impairment of the intent and purpose of the zoning plan and Zoning Ordinance. The number of votes or Board members required to grant any such subsequent approval shall be as otherwise provided in the Municipal Land Use Law for the approval in question, and the special vote pursuant to § 261-22A(4) of this chapter shall not be required.
D. 
Whenever an application for development requests relief pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-76(b), the Board of Adjustment shall grant or deny approval of the application within 120 days after submission by a developer of a complete application to the Board or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant. In the event that the developer elects to submit separate consecutive applications, the aforesaid provision shall apply to the application for approval of the variance. The period for granting or denying any subsequent approval shall be as otherwise provided in the Municipal Land Use Law. Failure of the Board of Adjustment to act within the period prescribed shall constitute approval of the application and a certificate of the administrative officer as to the failure of the Board of Adjustment to act shall be issued on request of the applicant, and it shall be sufficient in lieu of the written endorsement or other evidence of approval.
E. 
Whenever review or approval of the application by the county Planning Board is required, in the case of a subdivision or in the case of a site plan, the Board of Adjustment shall condition any approval that it grants upon timely receipt of a favorable report on the application by the County Planning Board or approval by the County Planning Board by its failure to report thereon within the required time.
F. 
Any application under this section may be referred to any appropriate person or agency, including the Planning Board pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-26(b), for its report, provided that such reference shall not extend the period of time within which the Board of Adjustment shall act.
A. 
The Board of Adjustment shall render its decision not later than 120 days after the date an appeal is taken from the decision of an administrative officer; or the submission of a complete application for development to the Board pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70(b).
B. 
Failure of the Board to render a decision within such one-hundred-twenty-day period or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant shall constitute a decision favorable to the applicant.
In addition to and notwithstanding the foregoing, one or two alternate members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment may be appointed. Alternate members shall be designated by the Chairman as "Alternate No. 1" and "Alternate No. 2" and shall serve in rotation during the absence or disqualification of any regular member or members. The term of each alternate member shall be two years.
[Added 6-12-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-14]
An application for development shall be complete for purposes of commencing the applicable time period for action by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment.
A. 
The Planning Administrator shall be authorized to accept an application as complete for purposes of commencing the applicable time period, provided that an application has fully provided all required information indicated on the Borough of Fort Lee’s Checklists for Development Applications adopted herein and annexed hereto (see Appendix A to Chapter 261 of the General Ordinances of the Borough of Fort Lee).[1]
[1]
Editor’s Note: Appendix A is included at the end of this chapter.
B. 
The Planning Administrator shall be authorized to reject an application as incomplete if any required information indicated on the Borough of Fort Lee’s Checklists for Development Applications adopted herein and annexed hereto (see Appendix A to Chapter 261 of the General Ordinances of the Borough of Fort Lee) has not been included as part of the application and no waiver for those required information items has been requested pursuant to Subsection D of this section.
C. 
In the event that the Planning Administrator does not certify the application to be complete within 45 days of the date of its submission, the application shall be deemed complete upon the expiration of the forty-five-day period for the purposes of commencing the applicable time period unless:
(1) 
The application lacks information indicated on the Borough of Fort Lee’s Checklists for Development Applications adopted herein and annexed hereto (see Appendix A to Chapter 261 of the General Ordinances of the Borough of Fort Lee); and
(2) 
The Planning Administrator has notified the applicant, in writing, of the deficiencies in the application within 45 days of the submission of the application.
D. 
The applicant may request that one or more of the submission requirements be waived. The Planning Administrator shall not make a completeness determination until the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment has considered the waiver request(s). The Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall grant or deny the request(s) within 45 days from the date of submission. The Planning Administrator shall make a completeness determination based on all nonwaived information items. The granting of a waiver shall not be construed as diminishing the applicant’s obligation to prove in the application process that he is entitled to approval of the application.
E. 
After an application has been determined to be complete, the Planning Administrator shall schedule the application for consideration at a hearing of the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
F. 
In reviewing an application, the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment may require the correction of any information found to be in error or the submission of additional information not specified in the Checklists for Development Applications as are reasonably necessary to make an informed decision on the application. The application shall not be deemed incomplete for lack of any such additional information.