From now until September 20, 2020, unless otherwise modified, the ZBA will conduct ZBA hearings in a virtual forum. The basic rules of ZBA hearings will still apply, such as requiring a quorum of ZBA members; submitting supporting documents and evidence; presenting testimony of the Applicants, Registered Community Organizations (RCOs) and all interested parties; and accepting Planning Commission recommendations. Questions by participants will be allowed per these modified rules that apply to the virtual hearings.
Importantly, all time periods associated with the ZBA appeals that had been suspended in relation to the Governor’s COVID-19 Shutdown Order can now restart. ZBA will start to issue modified Zoning Poster forms to the Applicant to print and post in advance of his ZBA hearings. First hearing listings still will require the 21-day posting requirement, but continued hearings only require a new posting for 14 days.
Part of the recent frustration with continuing the ZBA appeal process through the COVID-19 Shutdown has been the inability to have most RCOs hold virtual hearings. RCOs were not required to hold virtual meetings and the 45-day period within which the RCOs are otherwise required to have an RCO meeting had been suspended. Under these ZBA Emergency Regulations, the Planning Commission can opine whether a ZBA hearing should proceed where an RCO has not had a virtual RCO meeting, based upon several factors.
So this is just the first step at restarting the ZBA hearings. We await further information from ZBA regarding when the hearings will occur, how cases will be scheduled, and whether ZBA will create a modified hearing agenda for unprotested cases.
You can read the complete regulations released on June 22, 2020, here:
We are also hosting a webinar on this important topic in the near future. To learn more and register, please click here.
The Coronavirus Task Force at Klehr Harrison stands ready to assist you in your business and legal needs. We will continue to provide additional information and guidance as the COVID-19 situation develops.