Getting Prepared for a ZBA Hearing

Getting Prepared for a ZBA Hearing



If you are wondering what your next steps should be when getting prepared for a Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) hearing, then congratulations! You are almost finished with the zoning permit process. But before you start popping champagne, you have to get ZBA (Zoning Board of Adjustment) approval first.


A disclaimer: Just because you follow all of the criteria leading up to and including the ZBA hearing, does not mean you will get the outcome, or Notice of Decision you are looking for. That being said, we will outline some steps you will want to review before your hearing to give you the best chances for success possible.


Leading Up to the Hearing


First you will need to decide if you want a lawyer to represent you, or if you will be representing yourself. Although they can be pricey, lawyers trained in zoning matters have been to these kind of hearings before and know what to expect. It would be a shame to waste all the time, money, and effort you have put into your project thus far just because you weren’t sure if a lawyer was worth it.


Another thing you will need for your hearing is a Tax Clearance Certificate. It is not enough to know you have paid your taxes, you must prove it with a certificate. This can be obtained online or through License and Inspections (L&I). But be careful, these certificates are only valid for one month after they are obtained.


You will also want to make a presentation for the Zoning Board members, and print out copies for them. This will give them a physical reference so they can follow along. This presentation should include a summary of the project you are trying to get approved, as well as other necessary documentation (the refusal received, the deed or lease to the property, floor plans, RCO letter of support, pictures of the property, pictures of the orange zoning notice, etc.). If you think there’s a chance that someone from the zoning board may want to see something, include it in the presentation. Better safe than sorry!


Most importantly, show up early. There are A LOT of hearings taking place that day, and they will not wait for you if you are not there.  

Philly Zoning Team
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