Land Use & Zoning Department

ZONING QUICK LINKS

The Zoning Office processes zoning permit applications for new buildings, additions, decks, fences, pools, patios, sheds, standby generators, driveways and commercial buildings, tenancies and signage.  A Zoning Permit is also required for every property sale, including single family homes.  Zoning Approval is required before any structure can be built or altered, or its use changed.  A Zoning Permit must also be presented whenever an application is made for Construction Permits.
 
Zoning regulates land use by designating districts or “zones” where specific uses are permitted and others prohibited.  Zoning governs the use, placement, spacing, and size of land and buildings to enhance and preserve the livability of our community.
 
You can meet with the Zoning Officer by appointment before submitting your application. Questions concerning Zoning classifications, setback requirements, minimum lot requirements, and permitted uses for a property can be addressed by calling 973.292.6722.
 
Zoning Laws of the Town of Morristown
In 2018, the Town adopted a new Land Development Ordinance (“LDO”), replacing the prior ordinance from 2007. The LDO was envisioned and recommended by the 2014 Master Plan, and the 2018 Master Plan Reexamination provided detailed recommendations for standards and zoning to create a new zoning code for the Town that incorporates form-based planning mechanics to provide a multi-faceted zoning approach to address Morristown’s equally multi-faceted built form.
 
In July 2022, the Planning Board adopted a new Master Plan Reexamination, which reviewed Town planning objectives in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, new State legislation – including the legalization of recreational cannabis and new EV parking requirements – the 2020 Census, and four years and over 100 applications under the LDO. In light of these evolving conditions, the 2022 Reexamination provided various recommendations for zoning amendments, which are incorporated into a new LDO, adopted by the Town on February 13, 2024 and in effect on March 4, 2024. The Town subsequently coordinated codification of the new LDO into its eCode to facilitate access, ease-of-use, and subsequent ordinance amendments.
 

Click here for more information and instructions to protect your legal rights.

Click here to view the 2018 Land Development Ordinance.

Click here to view the 2024 Land Development Ordinance.

Department Functions
  • Reviews Zoning Permit applications.
  • Issues Zoning Permits, Continuing Use Certificates, Verification of Zoning letters and related approvals.
  • Determines whether an application requires approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment or the Planning Board.
  • Manages Land Use Development Applications for the Planning Board & Zoning Board of Adjustment
  • Enforces Morristown’s Zoning Ordinance
 
Apply for a Zoning Permit
The Zoning Permit Application forms have been updated as of 2/1/2017.  We recommend you complete the form online, save it to your computer and bring a hardcopy to the Zoning Office.  Only completed applications which are accompanied by 3 sets of plans, a property survey and applicable fees can be accepted.
 
 
Planning & Zoning Board Administration
There are several situations that may trigger the need for an application to one of the Town’s two Land Use Boards.  Some examples: development not in keeping with the zone’s requirements, façade changes, non-permitted uses, subdivisions. In Morristown, the Zoning Officer is the Administrator and Secretary for both Boards and can help you through the Land Use Development application process.  There are fees for land use applications and for Board professionals. We recommend that you call ahead to schedule a meeting so that the Zoning Officer can answer your questions.  Any business other than a sole proprietorship may require representation by counsel per NJ state law.
The Boards generally meet twice per month; your ability to get on an agenda will depend on the number of applications already scheduled. Please keep in mind that the process of applying to either Board can be a lengthy one.  Only applications which have been deemed Complete will be scheduled.
 
Signs
All signs require a zoning permit.  No sign shall be within the right-of-way of any public street or sidewalk.  No sign shall be placed on any tree, utility pole, nor upon rocks or other natural features.
 
Temporary Banners -  are allowed with a size limit of ten square feet and a duration of 20 days for all other than nonprofit organizations. Non-profits are allowed forty square foot banners and a duration of 30 days. A zoning permit with a rendering of the banner showing size and color is required prior to installing the banner.

 
Concept Plan Review
If you know a Board Application is required, it is not mandatory to submit a Zoning Permit Approval. We do, however, recommend to all applicants that are submitting major or minor site plans that they apply for a Concept Plan Review prior to submission of the Land Use Development Application.
The Town’s Zoning Officer and Planners will review your site plan and offer helpful advice as to improvements that may be made, any variances or design waivers that may be required from the Town’s Ordinance, and other useful information that will simplify the review of the plan by the Board you are applying to. It may also significantly reduce the amount of time required for review of your application.
 
 
The following do not require a Zoning Permit:
  1. Replacement Roof
  2. Replacement Siding
  3. Replacement windows and doors – same size
  4. Replacing Chimneys and Chimney liners
  5. Interior Oil Tank Replacement
  6. Furnace/Boiler Replacement
  7. Replacement Kitchen Cabinets
  8. Replacement Bathroom Fixtures
  9. Garage Doors – same size
  10. Replacement Floors/Ceilings
  11. Installation of Radon Mitigation Systems (interior systems only)
  12. Installation of Commercial Carpet for non-residential uses
  13. Minor work or ordinary maintenance as defined by the Uniform Construction Code, N.J.A.C. 5:23-1, et seq.