People move in to the neighborhood.  The best intentions of walking over with baked goods and making an introduction just fade into the obligatory wave as we drive past each other.  Garage doors open and close behind our cars as we tunnel into the house.

You then want to build an addition or install that pool which was the main reason you bought the house and learn you need zoning relief.  You are now thrown into the world of zoning and you need a variance.  The township staff suggests you get a lawyer.  The application fee is over a thousand dollars.  There’s a board of 3 or 5 who will judge your request.  A court reporter takes down every word.

What means the most to that board of judges who will decide the fate of your home life happiness?  Is it the law?  Is it the numerous variances they have granted to hundreds before you on similar requests?  Nope. . . .   It’s what your neighbors think.   They have to live there, look at it.  If they hate your proposal, the chances are great that you are going down in flames.  Your neighbors will get a letter describing your application and are advised to attend to tell the Board what they think.

So . . .  did you remember the muffins?