Commons v. Westwood Zoning Bd. of Adjustment

81 N.J. 597, 410 A.2d 1138 (1980)



Related to a determination of undue hardship are the efforts which the property owner has made to bring the property into compliance with the ordinance's specifications. Attempts to acquire additional land would be significant if it is feasible to purchase property from the adjoining property owners. Endeavors to sell the property to the adjoining landowners, the negotiations between and among the parties, and the reasonableness of the prices demanded and offered are also relevant considerations.


Plaintiff landowners owned a vacant lot with a frontage of 30 feet and a total area of 5190 square feet. Plaintiff home builder contracted to purchase the property on the condition that a one-family residence could be constructed on the lot. The property was located in a residential zone that required a minimum frontage of 75 feet and a minimum area of 7500 square feet. Plaintiffs sought a zoning variance. Defendant city's zoning board of adjustment denied plaintiffs' application finding that hardship was not established and the intent and purpose of the zoning would be impaired. The lower appellate courts affirmed.


Was the request for zoning variance properly denied?




The court reversed and remanded holding that adequate findings were not presented in the record and the board of adjustment made only conclusive statements. It is necessary to determine whether the hardship is self-imposed. Also, minimum lot size and floor area requirements were not per se related to public health, safety, or morals.

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