A Zoning Appeal is a challenge of the Zoning Administrator’s action or determination, which is heard by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), as detailed in Section 14-11 of the Zoning Ordinance. Upon submission of an appeal, all proceedings in furtherance of the Zoning Administrator’s action shall be stayed (temporarily stopped) until the BZA’s decision on the action, unless the Zoning Administrator certifies to the BZA that a stay would, in his/her opinion, cause “imminent peril to life or property.” When ruling on an appeal, the BZA may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify any order, requirement, decision, or determination of the Zoning Administrator.
A Zoning Appeal application (with the accompanying $275 fee) must be submitted to the Department of Planning and Zoning within 30 days from the date of action of the decision appealed. Within 60 days of receipt of a Zoning Appeal, the Board of Zoning Appeals shall set a date and time for a hearing, notify the parties of interest of the hearing, hold the hearing, and make a decision on the application.
During this hearing, staff will present a staff report including the Zoning Administrator’s action, references to any applicable Zoning Ordinance sections, explanation of any interpretations, and the application for appeal to the BZA. Similarly, the applicant may present their reason for the appeal. Unlike a public hearing, although this hearing is open to attendance by the public, only the Zoning Administrator, applicant, and their representatives are permitted to speak before the BZA.
When deciding a Zoning Appeal, the Board of Zoning Appeals may reverse or affirm (wholly or partly) or modify any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by the Zoning Administrator. If the BZA chooses to reverse the Zoning Administrator’s action, a minimum of 4 affirmative votes in favor of reversing the action shall be required. A tie vote shall be ruled as affirming the Zoning Administrator’s action. The BZA’s decision on any appeal shall be based on the Board’s judgment of whether the Zoning Administrator was correct in his/her decision and/or interpretation.
Any appeal of individual actions by the Zoning Administrator or actions regarding different requirements of the Zoning Ordinance shall constitute a separate appeal and, therefore, require individual applications and the associated review fee. Similarly, appeals made by different individuals, organizations, or other entities shall also constitute separate appeals (even if each appeal challenges the same action) and, therefore, require individual applications and the associated review fee. Separate applications challenging the same or different actions may be reviewed and decided upon by the BZA on the same or a different date from each other as long as the hearing is held, and the ruling is made within 60 days of receipt of the appeal(s).
Appeals of any decision of the BZA is decided by the Gloucester County Circuit Court.
Forms for the Zoning Appeal application can be found on the department’s Forms and Policies page.