Introduction to Basic Building, Planning and Zoning Rules in the State of New Jersey

The process of obtaining local zoning approvals and construction permits in the State of New Jersey can be daunting to new applicants. The process may be lengthy. The rules seem to differ from one municipality to the next. You may need to hire different professionals to help in the process. Sometimes, the rules seem to change for no apparent reason. Your costs may rise and it may feel like you are getting nowhere.

The goal of this document is to give the uninitiated a brief overview of the steps necessary to bring a construction or development project from an idea to completion. The scope is limited to local planning and zoning processes and the Uniform Construction Code of the State of New Jersey. No attempt is made to cover the myriad of regulations established by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), the Pinelands Commission, the Hackensack Meadowlands Commission, etc.

Hopefully, after perusing this guide, the reader will be able to get some sense of the process necessary to: construct a new building, renovate an existing building, change the use of an existing building, create or consolidate lots or move a lot line. He/she should also get a better understanding of which professionals are necessary to complete the process and why. It is strongly recommended that you find the appropriate experts to assist you for all but the most basic of projects.

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