06 June 2008

Landscaping and the law

At Rutgers we require all of our Environmental Planning and Design students, including Landscape Industry, to take the Fundamentals of Environmental Planning. On the first day of class I explain that even landscapers who only do smaller residential work need to know the basics of zoning. If they build a fence or a wall without a zoning permit, or if they want to enlarge a deck without knowing how to get that variance, they risk running into an immovable object. Many enter the class acting like they think that these trivial issues that are always ignored or that are something they can smooth talk their way around.

Now, one local landscaper in Hillsborough has found out that you can't violate the zoning ordinances without risk. According to the Home News and Tribune, John Sala was asked, then warned of his landscaping signs being in violation of the code. He chose to ignore them and found himself facing a likely $125,000 fine. He wisely plea bargained.

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