blog, articles & publications

The All-Important Zoning Permit

In general, municipal zoning administrators should not render advisory zoning decisions to applicants or property owners or answer detailed zoning hypotheticals.  Why not?  There are several reasons.  First, that can monopolize a zoning administrator’s time.  While most applicants have generally done their homework before applying for a zoning approval, others have not and attempt to rely upon the zoning administrator to “educate” them.  They almost rely on the zoning administrator as their de facto personal planner or zoning attorney.  Second, given that no zoning or application fee has yet been paid, a municipality is subsidizing the inquisitor.  Third, most zoning administrators are busy and do not have the time to allow a handful of property owners to monopolize their time.  Fourth, in many cases, the landowner often does not tell the zoning administrator all of the relevant facts and circumstances involved (or is mistaken regarding those matters) and the zoning administrator renders zoning advice based upon bad information.  Later, if anything goes wrong, the landowner will invariable blame the zoning administrator for bad advice.  Finally, the zoning administrator is taking on a potential additional liability for the municipality, which need not be.    Read More