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A subdivision under the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law (“MLUL”) is the division of a parcel of land into two or more lots thereby allowing the sale or development of those lots. The actual requirements for a subdivision approval are established by each municipality in the State. Virtually all municipalities have adopted checklists that set forth the specific requirements for a subdivision. These checklists enable an individual to know precisely what the standards are in order for his application to be approved. 

Generally, a planning board is the agency responsible for reviewing and deciding whether to grant subdivision approvals. In some limited instances, a board of adjustment may have this same authority. If an application for a subdivision meets the requirements set forth in the local ordinance, the applicant is entitled to the approval as a matter of law and the planning board cannot lawfully deny the request. A planning board can only refuse to grant subdivision approval if the application fails to comport with the requirements delineated in the municipality's zoning ordinances. 

There are two types of subdivisions, a major and a minor subdivision. A minor subdivision is one defined by local ordinance as the maximum number of lots permitted. For instance, a local ordinance may define a minor subdivision as only two lots plus the remainder. Any subdivision that would create more than the maximum number of lots permitted for a minor subdivision will qualify as a major subdivision.

Not every division of land is recognized as a subdivision under the MLUL. For instance, the division of land into parcels of five or more acres to be used for agricultural purposes is not a subdivision. Similarly, if a large tract of land is divided by virtue of provisions contained in a decedent's will or other testamentary document, it too is not recognized as a subdivision. 

Like any form of relief permitted under the MLUL, the advice from an experienced land use attorney from the law office of Lavery, Selvaggi & Cohen, P.C. can be invaluable. We have represented applicants in land use proceedings before local and county boards and state agencies for years. We have successfully obtained the results our clients desire.

If you or someone you know is intending to appear before a Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment in New Jersey, and needs representation, please call Lavery, Selvaggi & Cohen, P.C. at 908-852-2600 or contact us online.