Planning And Zoning Department

The Municipal Land Use Law governs the composition of the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment. Due to the different roles these boards fulfill, membership requirements for them are somewhat different. However, the basic rule, which should be remembered, is that planning boards are dealing with "permitted activities" and zoning boards with "non-permitted activities.”

Planning Board

The Planning Board meets the First and Fourth Tuesdays of each month at 6:30 pm in the Municipal Building. The Board consists of a total of nine members (seven regular members and two alternate members).

The Planning Board's essential duties are to deal with policy (the master plan) and the implementation of that policy through site plan review and subdivision ordinances. These ordinances establish a series of ground rules to be met by an applicant. If the applicant meets the requirements of the particular ordinance, the board shall approve the subject application unless an applicant does not satisfactorily fulfill a specific requirement of that ordinance.

The Planning Board is responsible for the review and approval of the Master Plan of the township. The governing body may adopt an official map and the governing body must refer the proposed official map ordinance or any amendment to the planning board for its report.

Zoning Board

The Zoning Board of Adjustment meets the First and Third Wednesdays of each month at 7:00 pm in the Municipal Building. It consists of a total of nine members (seven regular members and two alternate members).

The Zoning Board deals with the issuance of variances. Variances are based upon the individual municipality's zoning ordinance. The zoning ordinance establishes specific requirements for a given land area within a municipality which regulates not only the uses permitted in that area but the size of the parcels, setbacks required, parking, signs, conditional uses and numerous other such regulations.

An applicant is not simply entitled to a variance. Rather, an applicant must meet specific criteria contained in the Municipal Land Use Ordinance by satisfying certain legal standards of proof, and the burden is upon the applicant to show that he or she is entitled to the specific relief requested. Making an application to a board and paying the required fees does not mean automatic approval. Depending upon the type of variances requested, the applicant will need to prove special reasons, a balancing of the benefits, hardship, the negative criteria, etc.

To contact planning and zoning, e-mail zoning@twp.pennsauken.nj.us.