Planning, Zoning and Code Enforcement
Planning and Zoning are important ways in which residents can work together to encourage beneficial land use patterns for the present and future occupants. Compliance by all can result in maintenance of a high quality of life, stable property values and physical integrity of the environment. Staff are available to guide residents, business owners, and developers through the Planning and Zoning Board processes.
Township planning personnel operate under the vision statement of Medford's Master Plan. Medford is a thriving, diverse community that provides a safe and healthy place to live for all residents by valuing the natural environment as well as a sustainable, broad-based economy that serves the needs of the community. The future development of Medford will:
- Lower municipal costs by maximizing existing infrastructure
- Preserve open space
- Provide thriving commercial corridors
- Utilize smart growth principles to enhance neighborhood livability
The Legal Basis of Zoning
In New Jersey, municipalities are given zoning authority by a state statute called "The Municipal Land Use Law" (MLUL). (NJSA 40:55D-2) Local government may adopt a zoning ordinance and establish a Zoning Board of Adjustment to hear and decide variance requests and interpret the Zoning Ordinances. Additionally, "the Supreme Court has stated that the preservation of the character of a neighborhood and conservation of neighborhood values are still proper zoning purposes." (1991 Edition New Jersey Zoning and Land Use 'Administration, by Wm. M. Cox, 7-2.1, p. 100)
Zoning regulates land use by designating districts - such as residential and commercial - where specific uses are permitted and others prohibited. The idea is to avoid incompatible activities in proximity to one another and to enhance and preserve the livability of our community. Click here for the Zoning Map
This office coordinates applications for approvals for building homes, additions, decks, fences, pools, patios, sheds, and driveways. Applicants must provide a property survey and complete Zoning Application forms. When a business wants to locate within the Township, the Zoning Office will also issue a Zoning Permit to occupy the facility. The proposed use of the facility/building is reviewed for consistency with the Township Zoning Ordinances. After review and approval from the Zoning Office, applicants are required to apply with the Construction Department. Please note some proposed applications will be required to be approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Each residential Zoning District has requirements for Building & Lot Coverage, set-backs, and number of accessory structures. The Zoning Office staff is here to assist residents who are considering making improvements and/or changes to their property. We suggest bringing a copy of your property survey to help us guide you through the process.
Click HERE for the checklist of requirements for a Zoning Permit for a Residential Application.
As noted above, Zoning permits are required for new home construction, additions, decks, finished basements/attics, driveway extensions, and accessory structures such as sheds, detached garages, pools, pergolas, cabanas, tennis courts, paver patios, outdoor kitchens, etc. Please note one (1) accessory structure is permitted on lots less than one acre. Two accessory structures, each not exceeding 168 s/f, are permitted on lots between 1 and 2 acres. Lots of 2 or more acres are permitted to have up to 3 such structures.
SHEDS/GAZEBOS/POOL HOUSES & CABANAS:
The Township Ordinances define sheds as follows: Private Residential Sheds for storage (other than vehicles) and other customary residential accessory strictures, e.g. gazebos, cabanas, etc. owned by the residents of the property and each not exceeding 15' in height, and not exceeding 168 square feet in gross floor area.
for the requirements and checklist for a Zoning permit for a Shed.
Sheds up to 168 square feet require a Zoning Permit only. Sheds larger than 168 s/f require Bulk Variance approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Sheds cannot exceed 15' in height; and must be located in a side or rear yard; no front yard sheds are permitted. Sheds in a side yard must be located 15' from the property line. Sheds in the rear yard must be at least 5' from both the rear and/or side yard neighboring property lines. **No construction permits are required for residential garden type utility sheds, gazebos and similar structures that are 200 square feet or under provided it does not have electric, water, gas, oil or sewer connections.
For private residential garages, please use the Residential application above. A residential garage is defined as follows: A structure which is associated with a residential building and which is used for the parking and storage of vehicles owned and operated by the residents thereof, and which is not a separate commercial enterprise available to the general public. A private residential garage shall have capacity for not more than three motor vehicles, shall not exceed a width of 45 feet, and shall not exceed a depth of 24 feet. Additionally, a detached private residential garage shall not exceed a height of 20 feet. Any proposed garage exceeding any of the above dimensions will require Bulk Variance approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
for the requirements and checklist for a Zoning Permit for in-ground and above ground pools.
All property owners must obtain a Zoning Permit to install new and replacement fencing. The Ordinance for fences can be found HERE on our website. Click HERE for the Zoning permit application packet. Click HERE for the UCC Code for Pool & Spa fencing requirements, as regulated by the Construction office.
Under Pinelands Commission regulations and Medford Township Ordinances, any creation, expansion or rehabilitation of a driveway is considered an impervious surface "area of disturbance" and is counted towards a part of a property's overall lot coverage. Every residential Zoning District has defined lot coverage percentages which are permitted. This includes driveways consisting of loose stone and pavers as well as asphalt and concrete.
A permit is required from the Zoning Office prior to any driveway restoration work taking place. (See above residential permit application packet) If a new driveway is proposed, a driveway permit must also be obtained from the Township Clerk's Office and an inspection conducted by the Township Engineer prior to construction to allow for an apron and/or opening onto a municipal roadway. If the driveway will be entering from a County or State roadway, permit approvals from those agencies are first required. Click HERE for the link to the driveway permit application for new driveways on municipal roadways.
DUMPSTERS/PODS/ROLL-OFF WASTE CONTAINERS
The Township Council adopted an Ordinance in 2019 requiring permits for dumpsters/roll-off containers/PODS/Bagsters to be placed in roadways and driveways. The application Form can be found HERE, and is to be submitted to the Clerk's Office. There is no fee for this permit.
Click HERE for the checklist of requirements for a Zoning Permit for a Non-Residential (Commercial/Business) Application.
Specific questions concerning Zoning classifications, setback requirements, minimum lot requirements, and permitted uses for a property should be addressed to this Office.
Businesses should refer to the Economic Development Commission page
for additional resources and assistance.
The Medford Township Council is drafting a new Tree Ordinance to regulate the removal of trees on residential properties. This is expected to be adopted by spring 2020. However, Chapter 527 of the Land Development Ordinances currently regulates tree removal/clearing as follows:
[Ord. No. 1992-1 § 2; Ord. No. 1997-16 § 47]
***NO TREE CUTTING OR CLEARING IS PERMITTED IN WETLANDS, WETLANDS BUFFER AREAS OR DESIGNATED SCENIC CORRIDORS.***
A. Clearing Standards.
1. All clearing and soil disturbance activities shall be limited to that which is necessary to accommodate an activity, use or structure which is permitted by this ordinance;
2. Where practical, all clearing and soil disturbance activities associated with an activity, use or structure, other than agriculture, forestry and resource extraction, shall:
a.) Avoid wooded areas, including New Jersey's Record Trees as published by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 1991 and periodically updated; and
b.) Revegetate or landscape areas temporarily cleared or disturbed during development activities.
3. In areas other than the Pinelands Area of the Township, clearing shall be permitted only where necessary for the physical construction of roads, improvements and buildings and only in conformance with a detailed landscaping plan submitted by the applicant and approved by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment, as the case may be.
Further, the Pinelands Commission Comprehensive Management Plan regulations limit tree clearing to 1,500 square feet on wooded/vacant lots that are proposed to be developed. See Medford Land Development Ordinance Section 802-E (f).
IMPORTANT TIP: On January 1, 2018 the Tree Expert and Tree Care Operators Licensing Law was adopted. This new law permits the New Jersey Board of Tree
Experts to fully implement the Act to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries in the tree
care profession, and promote proper industry and tree care practices and standards while
providing consumer protection against unscrupulous tree care. Residents are highly encouraged to insure any tree contractor working on private property meets these new requirements. For more information, visit: www.njtreeexperts.org.
A licensed and insured arborist (a professional who is trained and licensed to care for trees and other woody plants by pruning, fertilizing, monitoring for insects and diseases) consults on tree related issues and makes recommendations on the need to remove trees or selectively prune them. Many unlicensed "fly-by-night" companies may offer a lower cost, but often clear cut properties rather then selective removal of dead, diseased and dying trees and/or limbs. If a violation is found, please remember the property owner is held responsible, not the tree company!
As trees have the power to increase property values, improve air quality, reduce household energy costs, improve water quality, both the Pinelands Commission and Medford Township insure their protection through education and active enforcement. Trees of the right variety (i.e. Pinelands native species) placed properly and cared for professionally provide enormous benefits and have significant economic and environmental value.
The Zoning Official is responsible for code enforcement; and is tasked with taking action and responding to complaints from residents that involve violations of Medford Township Codes. The enforcement of these Codes has a direct impact on the quality of life and the stabilizing of community values, in addition to the detection and reduction of criminal activity.
Code Enforcement cannot resolve matters such as property line disputes, tree branches or limbs hanging onto your property, as well as some subdivision covenants and deed restrictions. These issues are best handled by an attorney, as they tend to be civil matters.
Other items, such as street signs, and roadway clear vision areas that are obscured by brush or other such items, are handled through the Neighborhood Services Department at 609-654-6791.
Complaints or concerns regarding parking in the street, noise, including dogs, should be referred to the Police Department via 911.
Code Enforcement violations can be reported to the Zoning Official at 609-654-2608 Ext. 324, or the Deputy Zoning Official at x312. You may also email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Violations can also be reported thru our Citizen Reporting program via the link on the homepage. By law you can remain anonymous when reporting possible violations.
Common complaints that are a violation of Medford Township Codes:
The Township Council has adopted Ordinance #2013-1 including various sign standards to provide efficient and controlled standards for signs that balance the aesthetic and economic development needs of the Township of Medford. Please click HERE for a copy of the Ordinance.
No sign, other than exempt signs, shall be erected without first obtaining a sign permit from the Zoning Office. No sign shall be erected within the right-of-way of any public street or sidewalk, at any intersection within the triangular area formed by the right-of-way lines, or in any way that impedes the vision of motorists or pedestrians or otherwise endangers their safety. No sign shall be placed on any tree, telegraph, electric or public utility pole, or upon rocks or other natural features. Political signs are allowed, provided they are on private property, set back at least 5 feet from all street and property lines and are not more than 16 square feet. These signs shall be permitted within 30 days prior to and must be removed with 10 days of the election. Yard and garage sale signs shall not exceed 4 square feet and may not be erected more than 7 days prior to such sale and must be removed with 48 hours after sale. Entities wishing to utilize any other signage are suggested to contact the Zoning Office or refer to the above Ordinance for more information.
Chapter 66 “Dogs”
Any property within the Township of Medford with dogs must have them vaccinated against rabies and licensed by the Township. (Please refer to Clerk's Office for more information) No person shall own any dog which habitually cries or barks in a manner, which would annoy or disturb a reasonable person. No person owning a dog and/or cat shall permit it to run at large upon public streets, parks, or any public place within the Township nor permit it to run at large on private property without the owners permission. No person shall allow a dog to defecate on or commit any nuisance on any portion of public property whatsoever, and any private property without the permission of the owner. Enforcement is through the Police Department.
(Section 502 of the Land Development Regulations covers other Animals)
Chapter 49 Administrative Code "Brush, Weeds, Trash and Debris
Residents and businesses are required to keep their property maintained at all times. The exterior of the properties are to be properly maintained. Every foundation, floor, wall, ceiling, door, window, roof or other part of the building shall be kept in good repair and capable of the use intended by its design, and any exterior part or parts thereof subject to corrosion or deterioration shall be kept well painted. Every dwelling shall be free from rodents, vermin and insects. Every building, dwelling, dwelling unit and all other areas of the premises shall be clean and free from garbage or rubbish and hazards to safety. Lawns, hedges and bushes shall be kept trimmed and shall not be permitted to become overgrown and unsightly. Fences shall be kept in good repair.
Per Chapter 49, it shall be unlawful for any owner, occupant or tenant of any lot or tract of land to permit or maintain on any such lot any brush, weeds, dead and dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, non-native invasive species including bamboo, filth, garbage, trash and debris injurious to the public health, safety and general welfare; or where the same may create a fire hazard or tend to interfere with the orderly flow of surface waters.
Chapter 86 - "Standards for Keeping Chickens"
A minimum lot size of one-quarter acre is required to keep chickens. Keeping of chickens shall only be permitted in zoning districts for residential or agricultural use.
No more than nine (9) female chickens may be kept on any residential lot. Roosters and Cockerels are prohibited. Slaughtering chickens in public view is prohibited.
- Chickens shall be provided a fully enclosed shelter with a fenced enclosure. Shelters and enclosures shall be located in the rear yard.
- Shelters and enclosures shall be located at least fifteen (15) feet from any property line and at least thirty (30) feet from any residential structure on an adjoining property.
- Shelters shall not exceed sixty (60) square feet in size or eight (8) feet in height. Enclosures shall be kept clean. Fences shall not exceed six (6) feet in height.
- Storage of manure, excreta, other waste odor or dust producing substances associated therewith shall be located at least fifteen (15) feet from any lot line or at least thirty (30) feet from any residential structure on an adjoining property, and shall be properly composted per health code and USDA guidelines or kept in a watertight container until it can be disposed of in a proper fashion off site.
- Animal feed stored outdoors shall be kept in metal containers with tight fitting lids.
- No person owning, keeping, maintaining, harboring a chicken shall permit, suffer or allow a chicken to run at large upon any public streets or upon any private property.
- No person owning, keeping, maintaining or harboring a chicken shall permit, suffer or allow a chicken to disturb the peace or quiet of the neighborhood by creating a noise across a residential property line continually for ten (10) minutes or intermittently for thirty (30) minutes, unless provoked.
Any person owning, keeping, maintaining or harboring a chicken, who violates or fails or refuses to comply with the provisions of this Section 86-1, shall be liable for a penalty as prescribed in 1-16 of the Township Code. The restrictions of this ordinance shall not apply to agricultural properties qualifying under the Right to Farm Act.
If a flock of chickens perish due to disease/suspected disease, the homeowner shall immediately notify the Burlington Co. Health Dept.
Chapter 89 “Littering”
No person shall throw, drop, discard or otherwise place litter of any nature upon any public or private property, other than in a litter receptacle. It is unlawful to discard or dump along any street or road, on or off any right-of-way, any litter, household or commercial waste, rubbish, refuse, junk, vehicle or vehicle parts, without written consent of the property owner. The owner or person in control of any private property shall at all times maintain the premises free of litter, except for storage in authorized litter receptacles.
Chapter 129 “Streets and Sidewalks”
No person shall tear up, open, dig, or excavate any street, highway, road or public place or right-of-way or disturb any pavement, curbing, guttering without having obtained a permit from the Clerk's Office. Click here for the application. The owners, occupants, or tenants of premises abutting any street shall remove all snow and ice from sidewalks within 24 hours after the snow and/or ice accumulation ceases.
Chapter 102 "Noise"
The operation of any musical or television equipment must not be audible at a distance of more than fifty (50) feet between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am. Use of construction equipment is permitted between the hours of 7 am and 6 pm weekdays and 9 am until 5 pm on Saturdays. No construction equipment use is permitted on Sundays. Enforcement is through the Police Department.
VACANT/ABANDONED & FORECLOSED PROPERTY REGISTRATION
Ordinance 2014-14 established Chapter 53 of the Medford Township Administrative Code for Properties in foreclosure that are vacant and/or abandoned. This Ordinance is consistent with NJ Public Law Chapter 35, also adopted in 2014.
All creditors must register said properties with the Township and also must secure and maintain the property. Ordinance 2014-14 can be found HERE; and the Registration Form may be found HERE.
Complete copies of the Township of Medford Code are available for review at the Township Clerk’s Office. The Township Code is also accessible online by clicking on the links in the sidebar or HERE.
Zoning Official & Zoning Board Secretary
Beth Portocalis (ext 324)
Shawn Rosania (ext. 315)
Planning Board Secretary & Ass't Zoning Official
Kimberly Gerber (ext 312)
Office Assistant (P/T)
Kathleen McCrink (ext 314)
17 North Main Street
Medford, NJ 08055
Phone: (609) 654-2608
Fax: (609) 953-7720
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.