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Trommello v. Sea Isle City Zoning Board of Adjustment

A-218-02T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2003) (Unpublished)

ZONING; VARIANCES—To show hardship or peculiar difficulties, it is also necessary to show why other alternatives are impractical.

A municipality rejected a property owner’s complaint seeking the reversal of a zoning board’s denial of his bulk variance application. The property owner owned the top two units of a four unit residence. The building violated the municipality’s front yard set back requirements. There was an enclosed porch in the front yard and the owner sought approval to build a deck above the enclosed porch. The zoning board found that the lack of a deck was not a sufficient hardship to warrant a variance. It also found that the owner did not show a benefit to the neighborhood or to the aesthetic appearance of the property. The lower court upheld the zoning board’s determination. It opined that the owner did not demonstrate “peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties” or “exceptional or undue hardship.” The Appellate Division affirmed, noting that the owner failed to show what physical characteristic or condition of the property required the owner to build his deck in the front yard, where he would need a variance, as opposed to the back yard where there was sufficient space to build a deck without requiring a variance.

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