Public Hearing Procedures
As required by law, the Zoning Board of Adjustment must follow certain procedures during its hearings.
A printed agenda, a copy of which is available on the witness table in front of the room, lists the cases scheduled for the meeting. Not all cases on an agenda are necessarily completed during a given meeting.
If a case has not been completed by 11 pm, the Chairman will announce a date at which the hearing will be continued. This date should be noted carefully. Notices in writing for the case to be continued will normally not be repeated. To confirm a re-scheduling, an interested person may call the Board of Adjustment at 908-753-8000, ext. 260 between 8:30 am and 4 pm.
During the Hearing
A Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing is similar at a Court proceeding. The Chairman conducts the proceeding. The Board renders a determination. To support the merits of his case, the applicant may provide the testimony of expert witnesses. The Board Members, its Professionals (Board Attorney, Planner/Zoning Officer, and Engineer) as well as the public have the right to cross-examine these experts and other witnesses.
Once a case is announced by the Chairman, the applicant, sometimes represented by an Attorney, will come forward. Those involved in the application are introduced. The nature of the proposal is explained and witnesses are called.
During the latter part of the hearing, members of the public will be given the opportunity to comment on the application as well as present their own expert witnesses. The applicant has the right to cross-examine those who make statements or testify. Therefore, those statements should be supported by facts. Hearsay evidence and petitions are not admissible. A petition is not permitted, since all the signers may not be present to be sworn in and cross-examined.
Records & Public Speaking
A verbatim record of the proceedings is kept by tape recorder and by a court reporter. The Chairman determines when the public may speak. The public should wait to be called upon.
Those with questions only should raise their hands. When acknowledged by the Chairman, he/she should approach the podium, state name and address and direct the question to the person from whom a response is requested. Responders will testify only in their area of expertise. Once the questioning by the public is finished, the Chairman will temporarily close the hearing to the public. This procedure will follow the testimony of each expert.
After all witnesses have been presented and testimony completed, the Board and its Professionals will ask any final questions.
The Chairman will open the meeting with statements. At this time, the public has the opportunity to make a comment on the proposal or to offer testimony. Those requesting to be heard are considered as witnesses.
When called upon, he/she must approach the podium and be sworn in by the court reporter. The speaker must announce their full name (including spelling of it) as well as address. The remarks may be directed to a specific person or to the Board.
The Chairman has the right to close the public portion of the hearing and/or to exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence. Also, the Chairman may limit the time or number of questions a citizen may ask, in order to give adequate time to others.
After a case has been heard and decided, whether approved or denied, the Board must adopt a resolution memorializing the decision.