The Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan establishes nine land use management areas with goals, objectives, development intensities and permitted uses for each. The boundaries of these management areas are displayed on the Pinelands Land Capability Map. They are implemented through local zoning that must conform with Pinelands land use standards. Below are generalized descriptions of each management area with permitted uses. The summaries below are intended only to serve as a guide and are subject to various local conditions and limitations.
Preservation Area District -- 295,000 acres. This is the heart of the Pinelands environment and the most critical ecological region; a large, contiguous wilderness-like area of forest that supports diverse plant and animal communities and is home to many threatened and endangered species. No residential development is permitted, except for one-acre lots in designated infill areas and special "cultural housing" exceptions, on minimum 3.2 acre lots for property owned by families prior to 1979. Limited commercial uses are also permitted in designated infill areas, which total approximately 2,100 acres in size.
Special Agricultural Production Area – 37,500 acres. These are discrete areas within the Preservation Area primarily used for berry agriculture and horticulture of native Pinelands plants. The only permitted residential uses are farm-related housing on 40 acres and cultural housing exceptions on 3.2 acre lots.
Forest Area – 257,000 acres. Similar to the Preservation Area District in terms of ecological value; this is a largely undeveloped area that is an essential element of the Pinelands environment. It contains high quality water resources and wetlands and provides suitable habitat for many threatened and endangered species. Clustered housing on one acre lots is permitted at an average residential density of one home per every 28 acres. Roadside retail within 300 feet of pre-existing commercial uses is permitted, as are low intensity recreational uses.
Agricultural Production Area – 68,500 acres. These are areas of active agricultural use, generally upland field agriculture and row crops, together with adjacent areas with soils suitable for expansion of agricultural operations. Farm-related housing on 10 acres and non-farm housing on 40 acres are allowed. Permitted non-residential uses are agricultural commercial and roadside retail within 300 feet of preexisting commercial uses.
Rural Development Area – 109,500 acres. This is a transitional area that balances environmental and development values between conservation and growth areas. Limited, low-density residential development and roadside retail is permitted. Clustered housing on one acre lots is permitted at an average residential density of one home for every five acres. Community commercial, light industrial and active recreational uses served by septic systems are also permitted.
Military and Federal Installation Area -- 47,000 acres. Federal enclaves within the Pinelands. Permitted uses are those associated with the function of the installation or other public purpose uses.
Pinelands Villages -- 26,000 acres. Forty-seven small, existing, spatially discrete settlements that are appropriate for infill residential, commercial and industrial development compatible with their existing character. Most Villages are not sewered; therefore residential development is permitted on lots between one and five acres in size.
Pinelands Towns – 21,500 acres. Seven large, existing spatially discrete settlements, generally with wastewater or water supply systems. Residential development is permitted at a density of two to four homes per acre with sewers. Sewered commercial and industrial uses are also permitted.
Regional Growth Area – 76,500 acres. These are areas of existing growth and adjacent lands capable of accommodating regional growth influences while protecting the essential character and environment of the Pinelands. Permitted residential densities range from two to six homes per acre with sewers. Sewered commercial and industrial uses are also permitted.