In the News

Virtual Reality: Land use, zoning approvals enter uncharted waters as in-person meetings are forced online by COVID pandemic


May 08, 2020

"The land use and zoning approval process that governments have developers (and their attorneys) undergo to manage the development of new projects within their jurisdictions is moving all-online during the efforts to further curb the spread of COVID-19.," as seen in this ROI-NJ article.

Meryl Gonchar, Co-Chair of the Sills Cummis & Gross Land Use Practice Group, was interviewed. 

According to Gonchar, “My feeling is those applications should definitely go ahead. Otherwise, the backlog when we go back to being processed in the ordinary course will be mind-boggling due to the sheer volume of what built up during this cessation period.”

The article continues, "There’s no chance of the state’s real estate sector and the larger economy recovering unscathed from land use applications filed in February not being decided on until late this year, Gonchar added.

"In the end, Gonchar thinks having these meetings brought to people’s own living rooms could end up being a boon for the members of communities who want their voice heard.

"She said it has been taken for granted that these meetings were in-person, evening-hour affairs, which she understands might not have been the best scenario for working families with children and other responsibilities — or for those with physical disabilities.

"'As I’ve heard it said of the pandemic, there have been some problems not created by it, but the circumstances resulted in shining a light on problems that already long existed,' Gonchar said."