Morris Plains the Community of Caring
531 Speedwell Ave, Morris Plains, NJ 07950     973-538-2224

Zoning Board of Adjustment

About the Board

The Zoning Board of Adjustment reviews departures from the Borough’s Zoning requirements. The Board’s principal duties are to hear appeals of the Zoning Officer’s decisions and consider requests for variances from the strict application of the zoning ordinance.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment reviews applications for variances known as “C” variances and “D” variances:

  • “C” variance, also known as a “hardship variance” – an application for a “C” variance requests to allow departure from zoning bulk dimensional requirements of the ordinance when existing constraints of the property, size, area, shape or topographic conditions may prevent compliance with the zoning regulations for that property.
  • “D” variance – an application for a “D” variance requests relief from one or more of the following:
    • Use not permitted in the Zone
    • Expansion of existing non-conforming use
    • Increase above permitted Floor Area Ratio
    • Increase in permitted density
    • Increase above permitted height, when the proposed height exceeds the height permitted in the zone by 10 feet or 10 percent

In addition to considering applications for variances, the Zoning Board of Adjustment reviews requests for appeals of the decision of the Zoning Officer and requests for interpretation of the Borough’s Zoning Map or Ordinance.

Note that the Planning Board may, under certain circumstances, consider applications for “C” variances, but only the Zoning Board of Adjustment may consider applications for “D” variances.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment functions under the authority of the Municipal Land Use Law of New Jersey, NJ.S.A. 40:55 D and Borough Code Chapter 13 Land Development.


Regular members serve a four-year term. Alternates serve a two-year term. The Board of Adjustment has seven members and up to four alternate members appointed by the Mayor.

MemberTerm Expires
David C. Schulz, Chair12/31/2026
Douglas McCabe, Vice Chairman12/31/2024
Michael Bozza12/31/2027
Lisa Cortese12/31/2026
Mark Karr12/31/2027
Shaji Eapen12/31/2025
Robert Webster12/31/2025
Daniel Rizos, Alternate I12/31/2024
Bart Cianciotta, Alternate II12/31/2025
Karen M. Coffey Board Secretary
Attorney: Michael Sullivan, Esq. Stickel, Koenig, Sullivan & Drill
Cathie Kelly, Council Liaison

*Members can be reappointed after term expires.

Karen Coffey, Board Secretary  
William Ryden, Borough Engineer 
Elizabeth Leheny, PP,  Phippips Preiss Grygiel Leheny Hughes, LLC, Borough Planner  
Michael Sullivan, Esq., Stickel Koenig, Sullivan and Drill, LLC, Board Attorney 

Meeting Dates

Regular meetings are held at 7:30 PM on the fourth Monday of the month, unless otherwise noted.

Check the Borough Calendar for Special Meeting dates that may arise.

Agendas and Minutes

Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval by the Board.

View the most recent agendas and minutes here.

Contacting the Board

For information regarding Board of Adjustment matters, email Karen Coffey, Board Secretary, at  or call the Borough Annex at 973-538-0325 between 8:30AM and 4:30PM Monday – Friday.

Brief Overview of Roles and Procedures of the Zoning Board of Adjustment

An application which seeks a use variance must be filed with the Zoning Board of Adjustment because it is the only board that can grant a use variance. Once an application has been filed, the first step is to conduct a hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment and its professionals to determine if the application is legally complete. Once the application is deemed legally complete there is at least one more public hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment in which the public can participate and provide comment. Notice of that hearing will be provided to the public in advance of the hearing. At the Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing the applicant will present witnesses who will provide testimony on the application. The Applicant must show that the application advances the purposes of the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law and advances the interests for the Borough of Morris Plains, and the proposed use of the property may be done without substantial detriment to the public. Two-thirds of the Zoning Board of Adjustment must vote in favor the application in order for the application to be approved.

Volunteer Request for the Board

To be considered for a future open position on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, click here to complete the Volunteer Form.

Related Documents

The documents below can assist you in preparing to participate in a municipal land use board meeting. Please click on the subject to download a PDF document.