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166 Mine Brook Road
Bernardsville, NJ, 07924

Zoning

Zoning is an important and fundamental aspect of any development, from the construction of a small addition or accessory building on a residential lot to a major subdivision or commercial site plan. Yet, all too often, to some extent, it is overlooked.

Zoning can essentially be divided into three basic categories: Subdivisions, Site Plans, and Enforcement.

Zoning Department

The Board of Adjustment, also known as the Zoning Board, is a quasi-judicial entity. Under the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL), Chapter 55D of the New Jersey Revised State Statutes, when a municipality adopts a zoning ordinance, it must also create a Zoning Board of Adjustment. It is the Board for "non-permitted uses." As such, the Board of Adjustment deals with the issuance of variances.

Variances are based upon the individual municipality's zoning ordinance. The zoning ordinance establishes specific requirements for a land area within a municipality and regulates not only the uses permitted, but the size of the parcels, setbacks required, parking, signs, conditional uses and numerous other such regulations.

The Board of Adjustment has the power to grant a variance from the Borough ordinances, when:

  • There is physical or topographical or legal constraints on a property which keep it from being developed according to the ordinances;
  • The proposed use is a benefit to the municipality or the public good;
  • In particular cases for special reasons.

The Board may also interpret the zoning ordinance.

The Board may grant site plan or subdivision approvals or conditional use approvals associated with any of its primary powers.

Disclaimers

This website provides some downloadable/viewable "PDF file" versions of "Zoning Review - Combo Form" created and made available by the Zoning Department and contained on the Online Forms page. Please read carefully the following disclaimer:

This web version of the zoning review combo form is for general information and convenience only. It contains a compilation of some sections of the zoning ordinance that pertain to most residential permit applications. It also contains citations to the zoning ordinance. If there are any inconsistencies between this form and the zoning ordinance, the zoning ordinance as amended shall control. This form is not suitable for more complicated applications that require a variance or subdivision or site plan approval.

The up-to-date, definitive versions of the complete ordinance is available online and at Borough Hall, and should be consulted before proceeding with any project or plan.

Subdivisions

Subdivisions can range from a lot line adjustment between neighbors to a major development. Most subdivisions proceed before the Planning Board. The Planning Board maintains jurisdiction of subdivisions regardless of size and including those, which involve "bulk" variances (i.e. setbacks, lot area, steep slopes, impervious area, etc.).

Subdivisions (and the fees and escrow deposits for same) are broken down into the following: concept plan, lot line adjustment (minor subdivision for), minor subdivision or re-subdivision with no variance, minor subdivision or re-subdivision with variance(s), preliminary major subdivision and final major subdivision. There is an Application For Subdivisions & Re-Subdivisions form (which includes the fees and escrows) that must be completed. Most subdivisions proceed before the Planning Board. The Planning Board maintains jurisdiction of subdivisions regardless of size and including those which involve "bulk" variances (ie: setbacks, lot area, steep slopes, impervious area, etc.).

However, if a subdivision contains any "use" variance (ie: non-permitted use, floor area ratio, certain height variances) it would then be within the jurisdiction of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Please refer to the description below for the Zoning Board of Adjustment and to the Forms for applicable applications and instructions.

Site Plans most often involve non-residential uses. Typical applications involve the construction of, or additions or alterations to a non-residential building, change of use which requires additional parking on a lot with insufficient parking, parking lot expansion, etc.. Like subdivisions, most site plans, including those involving "bulk" variances, are within the jurisdiction of the Planning Board.

Site plans (and the fees and escrow deposits for same) are broken down into the following: concept plan, minor residential site plan (professional use, accessory apartments), non-residential site plan review/waiver (facade changes without site work, building expansion nor variances), minor non-residential site plan, preliminary major non-residential site plan, final major non-residential site plan, preliminary major residential site plan and final major residential site plan. There is an Application For Site Plan form (which includes the fees and escrows) which must be completed. Like subdivisions, most site plans, including those involving "bulk" variances are within the jurisdiction of the Planning Board.

Planning Board Checklists to use for reviewing your application are available and should be used to determine if an application is complete prior to submission to the Planning Board.

However, any "use" variance puts a site plan within the jurisdiction of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Please refer to the description below for the Zoning Board of Adjustment and to the Online Forms for applicable applications and instructions.

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Department Details

1 Anderson Hill Rd. Suite 103, Bernardsville, NJ 07924


Monday-Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm


P: 908-766-3000, F: 908-766-1315


Zoning Officer
Renee Apuzzo
908-766-3000, Ext.114
rapuzzo@bernardsvilleboro.org
1 Anderson Hill Rd. Suite 103 Bernardsville, NJ 07924

Zoning Enforcement Officer
Raishah Franklin
908-766-3000, Ext. 119
rfranklin@bernardsvilleboro.org
1 Anderson Hill Rd., Suite 103, 
Bernardsville, NJ 07924

Zoning Board of Adjustment Administrative Officer & Planning Board Recording Secretary
Frank Mottola
908-766-3000, Ext. 145
fmottola@bernardsvilleboro.org
 166 Mine Brook Rd. 3rd Fl. Bernardsville, NJ 07924

    FAQs

    What is the Zone for my property?

    See links to zoning map and zoning review combo form. Please call office if uncertain.