The Bloomfield Township Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting is Tuesday, February 12, 2013 @ 7 PM. The agenda is found on the township website. Check to see if there is an agenda item in your neighborhood.
Assuming you checked out the agenda:
NOTICE the word "existing" underlined in most of the agenda items.
Is this a common theme at Bloomfield Township? Build it...and it will be Approved.
I do believe if it IS approved, you will be charged for any building fees that you would have paid. If it is denied, you will be asked to remove existing items from the premises by a certain date.
Best practice: go to the Township website or offices and find out what is needed before you build or buy.
From personal experience: Sheds and hot tubs need to go before ZBA. Don't go to the store (ie: Costco) and purchase one and schedule delivery all in the same week or even day. It may arrive too soon. Then your item will be in the next ZBA agenda and will say: EXISTING. ZBA meets only once a month!
ZBA is a PUBLIC HEARING and the Township must legally post the agenda 15 days before the meeting. I have found the notice in the Observer & Eccentric Sunday newspaper and on the township website under "Legal Notices". The Township posts the DETAILS of each agenda item much later...a few days before the meeting date....in the ZBA Packets. There are 104 pages of documents for this meeting. Often there are architectural plans, pictures, etc. posted there. If you want to see the details earlier, contact the building department.
Comments for and against each agenda item will be heard. For those not able to attend, letters received will be entered into the record. I am not sure if email is accepted as a legal letter. The important thing to remember...ADDRESS the ISSUE to the ZBA Board and not to the audience members or the homeowner. Have good reasons for supporting or denying the issue.
Once the Board makes a decision, it is final. Appeals need to go to court. The ZBA meeting is the time to make your voice heard. These meetings are NOT recorded. I think all ZBA meetings should be recorded and archived. If you feel that the issue may go to court on appeal... I suggest YOU or a friend audio/video record the testimony and comments and deliberations of the ZBA Board that night. What you say that night will not be found in the printed minutes. The Township has the capability to record these meetings. The Board of Trustees has chosen NOT to record and archive these meetings on their website. What do the taxpayers want? If any item goes to court, the Township should have an accurate audio/video account of what was said at the ZBA meeting. The TRUTH of the testimony at the ZBA should protect the Township from lawsuits ... or....??? is the Township worried that the audio/video record of the meeting might show something damaging ? Either way, having proof will correct or validate the decision. Open, transparent and fair.