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Activities that do not require an application

For a listing of common development activities not requiring an application (click here).

Commission application process

To apply for development you may complete the application form and our staff will contact you in writing with instructions on any additional information that may be required. The application form can be printed from the (Application section). Please read the instructions carefully before filling out the application form. Send the completed application form and any other application materials to:

The Pinelands Commission
P.O. Box 359
New Lisbon, NJ 08064

Development of one dwelling on an existing lot

If you are proposing to build a single-family dwelling on an existing lot that meets the municipal zoning requirements and the municipality has a certified Local Review Officer program (click here for listing) the application must be filed directly with that municipality.

General questions

Questions concerning development of land in the Pinelands can be directed to our Applicant Service Representatives by contacting our office at (609) 894-7300 or e-mail Our representatives are available to:

1.  Provide you with information regarding our application process;
2.  Assist you in filling out your application form;
3.  Inform you of the status of your application; and
4.  Explain our regulations and letters that we have sent to you

Why you are filing an application with us and what we do with it.

The New Jersey Pinelands is a very special place. It is a National Reserve, a partnership arrangement involving the U.S. Department of the Interior, the State of New Jersey, and local governments in the Pinelands region. The Pinelands is also a U.S. Biosphere Reserve, an example of the world's great environmental places. The Everglades of Florida and Yellowstone National Park are also biosphere reserves.

The Pinelands region is protected through the enactment of federal and state laws which seek to preserve, protect and enhance the environmental resources existing here. This is accomplished by The Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) which determines the type, amount and location of development that can be accommodated while still ensuring that the Pinelands remain protected.

Specific development applications, such as your own, are reviewed by the Pinelands Commission staff to ensure that the resources of the Pinelands are not adversely affected when construction occurs. These important resources include vast and easily polluted aquifers (underground water supplies) that are beneath our sandy soils, wetlands and surface water bodies that are linked to the groundwater, and the plants and animals that are unique to this region, or threatened or endangered. Specific scientifically based standards are used to evaluate proposed development to ensure that adverse impacts do not occur.

The information you will be asked to submit with your application helps our staff determine whether the development you are proposing meets the series of land use, environmental and cultural resource standards designed to safeguard Pinelands resources. Our staff of environmental specialists review the information you send us, conduct field inspections at the property, and consult natural resource information available to determine that the application meets the various CMP standards. Models, some of which are computerized, may also be used to help determine how water quality will be impacted, and how far away from wetlands development should be located.  We try to review all applications as quickly as possible, but our staff is small and the volume of applications we receive at any one time can sometimes cause delays.  Because of the time and work that is required of the Pinelands Commission staff in reviewing each application, application review fees are required for certain development proposals.

Incomplete letter

Normally, we can review your first submission within 30 days to determine if your application is complete, meaning that everything needed has been submitted. If everything has not been submitted, you will receive an "Incomplete letter" including telling you what additional information is needed. Once we receive the additional information, up to 30 days may again be necessary for the review. The length of time your application remains in our system depends, to a large extent, on how quickly we receive all of the information requested in our "incomplete letters."

Certificate of Filing

When all the information necessary to review your application has been submitted our review is completed, we will complete our revised and a "Certificate of Filing." a certificate of filling enables you to apply for state and local permits and approvals that you may need for your proposed development. Once you receive these other permits, you must send us copies so that we can determine the development subject of the permits or approval meets all the standards of the Pinelands CMP . If so, we will send you a letter indicating that we have finished our review and advising that the permit or approval may take effect.

Waiver of Strict Compliance

Some applications that we receive do not meet the land use or environmental standards that we administer. If this is the case with your application, you will receive information on how to apply for a "Waiver of Strict Compliance." Such waivers will involve additional review, and may be difficult to obtain since the development may have an adverse impact if approved.

Our staff reviews approximately 1300 new applications each year. We realize that all applicants are anxious to know if their applications are complete and meet the land use and environmental standards. We ask you to be patient and to call our office if you believe something has been forgotten in your application, if you need assistance in filing the application, or if you have not heard from us in thirty days after filing the application. Our Applicant Service Representatives will assist you by consulting our computer tracking system and providing information to help you.

We hope that you will appreciate that our review process is aimed at fostering better development in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in this country and the world. We also believe that in the future the quality of that development will result in higher economic values for you. That combination is of benefit to everyone. Those of you who will be living in the Pinelands for the first time will find it a wonderful place. Please help us protect it.

Thank You.

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Pinelands Commission
15 Springfield Road
New Lisbon, NJ 08064