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We Can Assist You With Your Land Use Application Presentation Before the Board

As the a prior article outlined the land use application submission process, this article will review what is required to present at the hearing.

At the public hearing, the applicant is required to make a detailed presentation to the Board and its professionals. The presentation may require plans, aerial photos, color renderings, architectural plans and/or any variety of reports, calculations or studies, depending on the complexities and relief requested. These exhibits are prepared prior to the hearing usually by the expert who performed the study or drafted the plan. They are placed on display board and many times smaller individual packets can be made to hand out to the Board for easier review. These exhibits are marked by the Board Secretary for identification purposes on the record and moved into evidence.

It is required that any relief that the Applicant is requesting from the local design regulations or zoning ordinance in the form of a design waiver or variance, requires expert testimony to be presented to the Board from a professional engineer, planner or architect. At the beginning of the hearing each of the Applicant's experts are sworn in and must place their credentials on the record and ask the Board to accept their testimony as an expert.

The Applicant's attorney and each expert then go through a series of specific and detailed questions in order for the proper proofs to be placed on the record that will substantiate the granting of each relief requested. These questions will vary from the current location, zone and use of the property to the benefits that the new proposed development will provide to the surrounding area. The expert will also testify as to how the application comports with the local zoning ordinances, zoning plan and master plan, or that any deviation from the same will provide a benefit that outweighs any potential detriment. The Board members, Board professionals and members of the public will also be afforded the opportunity to ask the Applicant's experts questions.

The hearing is open to the public and interested individual shall have the right to listen and even participate in the hearing. An interested party may speak either in favor or against the application. If that interested party has a strong objection to the application they may choose retain legal counsel and experts to provide testimony to the Board to contradict the testimony of the Applicant's experts. After all the testimony is completed and all comments are placed on the record, the Board closes the public portion and begins the deliberation process.

As can be seen from the information above the presentation of a land use application before a Land Use Board requires understanding of the MLUL (Municipal Land Use Law). The attorneys at the Law Office of R.C. Shea and Associates can assist to make this process stress free. Look for future articles on the Land Use Process which will review the components of a resolution and the post approval compliance procedures.