This will be my last post on the subject and I have a lot to say. Some I know is repetition, but worth repeating nonetheless
There is a difference between getting zoning permits and building permits althought they sometimes overlap eachother. Zoning refers to standards and limitations on USE of a property, setbacks when building a home or an addition, minimum lot sizes etc. Building permits are issued to allow construction, allow changes in electrical/plumbing/framing etc., and are subject to different guidelines (but as I said they do overlap with zoning regulations at times especially if a variance is required)
You don't have to be an expert in zoning/building nor is it totally on the buyer to do his/her due diligence, but getting the info from the proverbial "horses mouth" is always my preference rather than through a third party, even if it's your Realtor. If the owner says they put on an addition, re-roofed, added new windows, remodeled a bath, finished a basement etc., then you can assume they might have needed permits for at least part of this to be done. You can ask the listing Realtor OR your Realtor to find out if there were permits needed or issued. Some homeowners are organized and keep them, some got them but threw them away and some did not get permits. You and/or your Realtor can then go to the zoning office, ask if permits were needed and if so can get the copies. It is totally on the seller to address any situation if they did not acquire the necessary permits and up to you and your attorney to decide how to proceed if there is a problem.
Marc is from Succasunna NOT Edison. Maybe his town is filled with people who won't answer questions, cannot get a job in the "real world" or are corrupt, but our zoning officer has 30 years experience in his post and is as competent, knowledgable AND fair as they come.
Marc is in essence telling you to skirt the legal requirements which could in the long run cost you MORE time and money if you do work without proper approvals.
Marc calls me a government bureaucrat AND insinuated that I am somehow beholden to "friends in high places" or that our board is outright corrupt. Zoning boards cannot "arbitrarily" deny a request for a variance... there are legal standards we need to adhere to when making a decision, NOR can the zoning officer deny your application just because he feels like it. If it meets the standards its a go! PERIOD !!! (you still may need to get building permits)
I am a VOLUNTEER who does not get paid for my service. I have no agenda other than to keep our town continuing to grow/change according to the regulations both local, state and federal. I have been involved in our town for a long time (about 15 years in one capacity or another and ALWAYS volunteer) because I didn't like what I was saw happening and rather than complain about it, wanted to make a difference. I'd really like to know if Marc does anything in his town to make things change? I bet not !! Just one of those who complain and sling accusations but do nothing to change anything.
His statement that "The idea is to charge money, issue permits, charge money, inspect and fail, charge more money, inspect and fail, charge more money, inspect and pass, ", is a bunch of garbage and may well be how it's done is his town. Sure people fail inspections (I had work done in my house and the plumbing failed...we fixed it ( NO EXTRA CHARGE from the township), and they came and reinspected and issued the final approval. The purpose of BUILDING permits is to make sure work is done to specific codes and standards, and I repeat, that ZONING permits are to maintain the integrity of the town according to the Master Plan and zoning regulations. YES it make money for the town, but a small price to pay when you consider the consequences.