What are the Pinelands?
In 1978 and 1979, Congress and the State of New Jersey passed the Pinelands Protection Act (the Act) to safeguard the Pinelands from overdevelopment. Part of the Act is the development of the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (PCMP). The New Jersey Pinelands Commission, in conjunction with local, state, and federal governments, governs the PCMP. The PCMP plays a significant role in the determination of development, land transactions, planning, research, and education of the Pinelands Natural Reserve.
Where are the Pinelands?
The Pinelands area of New Jersey includes the country's first Natural Reserve. The Pinelands Natural Reserve is over 1,000,000 acres and encompasses about twenty-two percent of New Jersey's land area. Portions of the Pinelands Reserve can be found in seven of the twenty-one counties of New Jersey.
There are two significant areas in the Pinelands Natural Reserve. The interior area (~295,000 acres) of the Pinelands Natural Reserve is referred to as the Preservation area. This area is stringently protected and encompasses the largest tracks of unbroken old growth forests of the Pinelands Natural Reserve. The exterior of the Pinelands Natural Reserve is known as the Protection area. The Protection area is regulated by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission and consists of a mix of farms, subdivisions, and towns and is the location of the most development in the Pinelands Natural Reserve.
Acquiring building permits in the Pinelands
In order for development to occur in the Pinelands Natural Reserve, an application must be filed with the New Jersey Pinelands Commission and the local municipality. Regulated development can include new housing, additions, or renovations to existing homes, decks, new septic systems, swimming pools, etc.
The process starts by the Commission reviewing the application for compliance with the permit requirements. Once the Commission has approved the application, the municipality begins the standard permit process. When the municipality is through, the Commission again has the opportunity to pass or fail the permit based on the PCMP requirements.
We can help
The Pinelands Commission Permitting process can be very overwhelming and lengthy. Firstech Environmental personnel use their experience with the Pinelands application process to rapidly move the process through the governing bodies.