Mobile
Tablet
Desktop
Desktop ONLY IE8-
JS
NO-JS
HTML Classes :
Applications
Why Development Requires Application to the Commission
Development That Does Not Require an Application to the Commission
Is a Lot "Buildable"?
General Land Development Inquiries
Development That Requires an Application
Public vs. Private Development
Process for Private Development Applications
Process for Public Development Applications

Why Development Requires Application to the Commission

A Pinelands Commission staff member taking soil boringsThe Pinelands Area is a million-acre mosaic of forests, farms and towns that lies above trillions of gallons of water. Nearly 500,000 people call the Pinelands home, and the region provides refuge for 135 rare plant and animal species.

As a critical part of its mission to safeguard the Pinelands, the Pinelands Commission is charged with overseeing land use and development in this special part of southern New Jersey.

Commission staff members review development applications, evaluating proposals by using scientifically-based standards to ensure that the Pinelands’ ecological health is protected. Development proposals must meet a series of environmental standards, such as those that protect water quality, wetlands and threatened and endangered species, among other standards.

^Top

Development That Does Not Require an Application to the Commission

Certain types of development do not require an application to the Commission. These activities are listed in the Application Exemptions.

^Top

Is a Lot "Buildable"?

Please note that our staff is unable to provide such a determination unless an application is completed with the Commission. There are numerous factors, such as municipal zoning and the presence or absence of wetlands, that must be considered in making this determination. Our staff can provide certain initial, written guidance if you submit a written request to appinfo@pinelands.nj.gov, identify the municipality, tax block and lot number(s), and identify the type of development.

Our staff will review and respond to all such written requests as quickly as possible, but within 30 days. We cannot respond to inquiries regarding the status of our response to such written requests during the 30 day review period.   

For faster answers to your questions about whether a lot is buildable, please consider these alternative resources: 

  • Pinelands Interactive Map: This online map provides site general information including wetlands, wetland buffers and zoning for a lot. Clicking on the municipal zoning layer on the map will provide a direct link to a municipality’s land use ordinance. To access the map, click here.
  • Municipal Land Use Ordinance/Municipal Official: The majority of the Commission’s regulations are contained in the municipal land use ordinance. The municipal land use ordinances are available from several online resources, including our Interactive Map. You may also wish to contact a municipal planning or zoning official.  
  • Experienced Professional: Consult with an attorney, engineer, planner, architect, land surveyor, real estate agent or other land development professional.

You may also submit a written request to appinfo@pinelands.nj.gov for an informal, Pinelands Commission pre-application meeting to discuss potential application requirements. Our staff will schedule a pre-application conference within 15 days after receiving a request. Typically, the pre-application conference will be conducted within 30 days of receiving the written request.

^Top

General Land Development Inquiries

Our staff can also provide guidance on general land development inquiries. Examples of such inquiries include:

1. Is the parcel in the Pinelands Area?
2. Are there wetlands on the parcel?
3. Do I need to apply to the Pinelands Commission for _(your proposal)_.

Please submit general land development written inquiries to appinfo@pinelands.nj.gov.

Our staff will review and respond to all such written requests as quickly as possible, but within 30 days. We cannot respond to inquiries regarding the status of our response to such written requests during the 30 day review period.

For faster answers to your general land development questions, please consider these alternative resources:

  • Pinelands Interactive Map: This online map provides site general information including wetlands, wetland buffers and zoning for a lot. Clicking on the municipal zoning layer on the map will provide a direct link to a municipality’s land use ordinance. To access the map, click here.
  • Municipal Land Use Ordinance/Municipal Official: The majority of the Commission’s regulations are contained in the municipal land use ordinance. The municipal land use ordinances are available from several online resources, including our Interactive Map. You may also wish to contact a municipal planning or zoning official.  
  • Experienced Professional: Consult with an attorney, engineer, planner, architect, land surveyor, real estate agent or other land development professional.
^Top

Development That Requires an Application

Applicants may submit a completed application form and any other application information, including reports and plans, in digital format to appinfo@pinelands.nj.govAll plans must be in .pdf format. All application fees (checks or money orders) must be mailed to the Pinelands Commission, PO Box 359, New Lisbon NJ 08064.

The Commission’s staff will contact applicants with written instructions regarding any additional application information that may be required.

Our staff will respond to all application submissions as quickly as possible, but within 30 days. Please note that we cannot respond to inquiries regarding the status of previous application submissions during the 30 day review period.

^Top

Public vs. Private Development

The Commission’s development approval process varies, depending on whether the application is submitted by a public agency or a private landowner.

^Top

Process for Private Development Applications

Single-family dwelling

The Commission’s staff reviews applications for private development proposals, such as single-family dwellings, subdivisions and commercial projects, to ensure that they meet a series of standards aimed at protecting Pinelands resources.

How does the process work?

First, the Commission’s staff determines whether an applicant has provided all of the information needed to review their proposal. This information varies by site and proposal, and may include an application form, site plans, reports or other documents. If all of the information has been provided, the Commission staff will send the applicant a document (most commonly, this will be a Certificate of Filing) that enables him or her to seek all necessary municipal and county approvals for the proposed development. 

After the applicant receives any municipal or county approvals, copies of those approvals must be sent to the Commission. The Commission staff will then determine if the approved development meets all Pinelands standards. If it does, the Commission staff will send the applicant a letter confirming that the agency’s review is complete and the permit or approval can take effect.

Some Pinelands municipalities participate in the Commission’s Local Review Officer program. In these municipalities, applicants who are proposing to build a single-family dwelling on an existing lot should send their applications directly to the municipality, rather than to the Commission. The Commission maintains a list of these municipalities.

Some applications may not meet all of the Commission’s land use or environmental standards. In these instances, the Commission staff sends applicants information on how to apply for a “Waiver of Strict Compliance.”

^Top

Process for Public Development Applications

 

Municipal damThe Pinelands Commission is also responsible for reviewing and approving development applications that are submitted by public entities, such as a municipality, county or a State agency.

The full, 15-member Commission must vote on whether to approve these public development applications during their monthly meetings. The Commission maintains a list of Public Development Submission Deadlines that provides important information about application submission deadlines. The list also details the possible date by which the Commission could vote on these applications.

The public is encouraged to comment on public development applications. Information about the status of these applications and the Commission’s process for commenting on public development applications can be found on the Status Reports page.

 

^Top