Zoning Regulations

All additions should have (3) three sets of architectural plans submitted with your zoning application and property survey. You will also need a Building technical card, and possibly electrical, plumbing and fire technical cards. All work must be done by a licensed contractor for commercial and multi-family properties. Owner occupied single family properties are exempt from this requirement.


Architectural Plans & Property Survey

A full Zoning Table, property survey, and architectural plans are required for all addition applications. The zoning table should show the height, setback impact for the addition, and lot coverage percentages. Indicate the area affected on the property survey.

Nonconforming structures are not permitted to be expanded/enlarged. A nonconforming structure is a structure that does not conform to the current zoning ordinance bulk regulations for your zone (i.e. too close to the side yard, not enough rear yard area, etc.). Section 17:9-37.E of the Plainfield Land Use Ordinance allows for only one- and two-family nonconforming structures to be expanded/enlarged provided that they either:

  • The enlargement, extension or addition conforms to all zone requirements; or
  • The portion of the enlargement, extension or addition which does not conform to zone requirements consist entirely of the enclosure of existing rear porches; or

  • The portion of the enlargement, extension or addition which does not conform to zone requirements is located entirely to the rear of the existing nonconforming structure, has a side yard setback of no less than five (5) feet, and conforms to all other bulk requirements. 

Lot Coverage

Each zone has a specific lot coverage requirement. The Zoning Bulk Requirements Table has the lot coverage limits for every zone. Be sure that your addition does not increase your lot coverage over the limits for your zone or you will require a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment. 

Historic Preservation Commission

A property may be required to go before the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) if it is in a historic district. To see if your property is in a historic district, use Plainfield's first ever fully searchable map:

The HPC is the first stop in the process in starting an addition application. The HPC will issue a Certificate of Appropriateness if the work is approved. To learn more about historic preservation and for tips on gaining approval from the commission, see our page on Historic Preservation.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment presides over applications that need variances. If your property does not meet the zoning table or Section 17:9-37.E of the Land Use Ordinance, you probably need a variance. The variance process is a longer process than a normal zoning application and requires a board hearing, a 45 day review period by the Planning Division, and a $500 escrow for residential applications and $1,000 for commercial applications, along with fees. To learn more about the Zoning Board process, please contact the Planning Division at (908) 753-3391.

Zoning Board of Adjustment