In many cases, a Zoning Hearing Board will impose certain conditions on the grant of a variance or special exception. A condition of such approval could include a time limit as to when the applicant is required to obtain all necessary permits to construct the proposed improvements before the variance or special exception is deemed void. For example, a condition could read “The Applicant must apply for any necessary permits within one (1) year from the date of this decision or this decision shall expire”. If the Applicant fails to comply with this condition, the variance or special exception would be considered void and the Applicant could be forced to file a new application for the relief requested.
Even if the decision from the Zoning Hearing Board does not include a specific condition imposing a time limit, Applicants should be aware that the zoning relief could have a limited “life” under the Zoning Ordinance. Some Zoning Ordinances include a requirement, or similar requirement, that the building permit for the structure or improvements for which the variance or special exception was received must be obtained within one (1) year from the date of the decision. As a result, if the building permit is not obtained within the stated time period, the variance or special exception would become void.
Applicants should always review the Zoning Ordinance to determine whether the zoning relief obtained is subject to certain permits being obtained within a period of time. If the zoning relief is subject to such a requirement, and the Applicant is not able to meet the deadline, the Applicant could request that the Zoning Hearing Board extend the required time period.
Should you have any questions regarding variances, special exceptions or other zoning related matters, please feel free to contact Carrie B. Nase-Poust, Esquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.