Zoning Board of Adjustment Procedures


The Zoning Board of Adjustment is a board of "non-permitted uses". It is regulated by the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) NJSA 40:55D-1 et seq. The purpose of the Board is to provide relief from zoning requirements which cannot be satisfied.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment is empowered by NJMLUL to:

  • Hear and decide appeals of the Zoning Official
  • Hear and decide requests for interpretation of zoning maps or ordinances
  • Hear and decide bulk area "C" variances separately, or in conjunction with use variances
  • Hear and decide use "D" variances
  • Approve site plans related to use "D" variance applications

The Zoning Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial board. It is not required to grant or deny any variance relief requested. Request for relief are not based upon policy, but rather upon the ability of an applicant to prove their case in accordance with MLUL. The Board must make decisions much as a judge does in court.

When Required

  1. Relief from Zoning Ordinance
  2. Appeal from a decision of a Township Official
  3. Expansion of a non-conforming use

General Information

  1. The Zoning Board of Adjustment normally meets on the third Monday of each month, at 7:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Township Hall. The meeting date is subject to change at the discretion of the Board, and is published in the Nutley Sun at least one week prior to the meeting.
  2. Preliminary plans and a copy of the property survey, to scale, is required for the Zoning Officer to issue a letter of denial.
  3. A fee based on the type of variance requested must be paid to the Code Enforcement office. Prior to the payment of the application fee, proof must be obtained from the Tax Collector there are no outstanding water or tax payments due on the property. Once payment is received, an application package will be put together within one week. The applicant will be notified when the package is ready to be picked up.
  4. Thirteen (13) copies of all the following information must be submitted to the Code Enforcement office, in individual packages, in the order below:
    1. Completed applications (MUST BE NOTARIZED)
      1. An explanation of the EXCEPTIONAL conditions of the property preventing applicant from complying with ordinance.
      2. A statement of facts showing why relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the master plan and zoning ordinance.
      3. A schedule showing the following information (as applicable):
        • Type of construction (frame, stone, brick, cement, etc.)
        • Present use of existing building(s) and premises and proposed
        • Location, size and design of sign (attach details)
        • Total proposed dwelling units
        • Total proposed professional office space
        • Total proposed floor area
        • Total proposed parking spaces
        • Names and address of all expert witnesses proposed to be used
    2. Letter of denial issued by the Code Enforcement Department.
    3. Certified List of Property Owners within 200 feet, supplied to you by the Code Enforcement Office with your application package.
    4. Legible plot plan or survey (black-on-white) to scale (not less than 1" = 20') of the property, also indicating the relation of the existing and/or proposed structure with adjoining property and structures. Scale drawings of the proposed building(s) or of the existing structure, indicating the changes, alterations or additions contemplated must be filed with the application, if relevant. Proposed work must be highlighted on the survey and setbacks shown.
    5. Preliminary plan, drawn to scale, and to include at least the following: front, side and rear views of the proposed construction. All views must have dimensions and shown the locations of windows, doors and all other external architectural features. Suggested scale ¼" = 1'.
    6. If the applicant is a corporation, partnership, or LLC, the names and addresses of all stockholders or partners owning 10% or greater interest in said corporation or partnership shall be filed with the application, in accordance with P.L. 1977, Ch. 336. Representation by an attorney is also required.
    7. Once the applications are received in the Code Enforcement Office, the applicant will be notified within 45 days, in accordance with Law, whether the applications are complete. If the applications are complete, the applicant will be assigned a hearing date. Once the hearing date is assigned, the applicant shall provide the Notice to Property Owners at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting by certified mail or hand delivery to all owners and utility companies indicated on the Certified List of Property Owners. The Notice to Property Owners form is supplied with the application package. The Township of Nutley accepts no responsibility for the applicant's failure to provide proper notice as required by law.
    8. Proof that the following notices were distributed, according to law, must be filed at least five (5) days prior to the hearing, on the form provided:
      1. Affidavit of Service to adjoining (within 200 feet) property owners.
      2. Notice shall be given to the County Planning Board by personal service or certified mail when a hearing concerns an application for the development of property adjacent to an existing county road, or proposed road shown on the Official County map or County Master Plan, other County owned/controlled property, or situated within 200 feet of a municipal boundary.
      3. Notice shall be given to the commissioner of Transportation by personal service or Certified Mail of a hearing on an application for development of property adjacent to a State Highway.
      4. Notice shall be given to the Director of the Division of State and Regional Planning of the Department of Community Affairs by personal service of Certified Mail of a hearing on an application for development of property which exceeds 150 acres of 500 dwelling units. Such notice shall include a copy of any maps or documents required to be on file with the Township, pursuant to R.S. 40:55D-10b of the Municipal Land Use Law.
      5. Notice of all hearings on applications for development involving property located within 200 feet of an adjoining municipality shall be given to the Clerk of such municipality by personal service of certified mail.
    9. If the variance requires an escrow fee, monies paid to the Township of Nutley will be held in an escrow account pending adjudication of the application. Upon completion, the applicant must sign a voucher and any and all remaining monies will be returned to the applicant after a resolution of same is read at the commission meeting. 
    10. Application for variance (MUST BE NOTARIZED)
      1. Letter of Denial
      2. Property Owners List
      3. Survey
      4. Preliminary Plans (not required for decks, driveways, fences)


Hearings before the Board are informal, but the burden of proof in each case is upon the applicant. Variances are not automatically granted, and cannot be approved unless the relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good, and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance. Furthermore, the Board of Adjustment may not grant a variance unless the evidence is submitted to the Board showing that the Board has the power to grant or recommend a variance in accordance with the Statute.

You may present your appeal yourself, by your agent, or be represented by an attorney at law. Corporations, partnerships, and LLCs must be represented by an attorney at law. Failure to appear at your hearing may result in dismissal of your appeal unless you have requested a postponement for good cause.

Once your variance is granted or denied, a resolution granting/denying same will be memorialized at the following meeting of the Board of Adjustment. A copy of your resolution will be mailed to you immediately upon memorialization.

The approval of a variance does not grant permission to begin work. Prior to the commencement of any work, the appropriate permits must be applied for and approved through the Code Enforcement Department.

Checklist Of Items To Be Submitted

13 copies of:

If one of the items is missing, the application package CANNOT be accepted.