What does the Zoning Hearing Board do and why is their permission needed? The formal legal answer is rather complicated, but a simple answer is that municipalities have the right to regulate the use of your property through their Zoning Ordinances. Each Borough or Township has its own Zoning Ordinance and, therefore, each has its own set of zoning rules and regulations.
The items that are typically regulated include the size and width of your lot and the size, number, height and location of your house and other accessory buildings. For non-residential properties, zoning regulations can include the size, location and number of signs, parking space requirements, driveway locations, and the amount of required open space or minimum green area.
While the hearings are relatively informal, there is a court reporter or stenographer present to record the hearing, and any witnesses testify under oath. Both Board members and neighbors have the right to participate in the hearing by asking questions. Neighbors can also testify about their concerns with your project.