Hurricane Sandy: Repair and Reconstruction- Permits and Approvals

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Thousands of storm damaged properties will require repair or reconstruction. Your rights to repair or reconstruct damaged real estate will depend upon the type of structure and the zoning status of the property. For instance: 
  1. All repairs or reconstruction will require applicable construction permits from the local construction official. 
  2. Detached one or two residential dwelling unit buildings are never subject to site plan approval, although, in certain instances, they may require variances. 
  3. Pre-existing nonconforming uses and structures (structures and uses that were legal at the time of the use or structure, but no longer permitted by local zoning requirements) may be reconstructed in the event of partial destruction. Whether or not a structure is partially destroyed or totally destroyed is a fact-sensitive and sometimes subjective determination by local officials, but not as straight forward as the terms “partial” and “totally” might imply. Regardless, we would hope and anticipate that most local zoning and construction officials would be very understanding and bend over backwards to permit reconstruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. 
  4. Structures and uses permitted by variances should generally be able to be rebuilt in the event of partial or total destruction, but there may be exceptions as to how and when this rule is applied without the need for further zoning approvals. In any event, and as always, applicable construction permits will be required. 
  5. Generally, properties that only required site plan approval for previous development should be able to be repaired or rebuilt upon issuance of construction permits if consistent with current zoning. 
The nature of the permits and approvals needed for repair or reconstruction will significantly impact the costs and timeframe for re-occupancy of storm damaged properties. Accordingly, these issues should be considered as part of any financing, temporary housing or occupancy arrangements and insurance claims. Also, please click for more information regarding Contractors and Contracts.
 
Contact Gary S. Forshner, Esquire at 609-895-7250 or gforshner@stark-stark.com if you have any questions or need assistance regarding construction permitting or zoning issues relating to reconstruction of storm damaged properties. 
 
Gary Forshner is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use Group in the  Lawrenceville, New Jersey office. For questions, please contact Mr. Forshner.
 
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