Developer How To Guide

Thank you for showing interest in joining the ranks of developers helping Plainfield realize its dreams of redevelopment. We've streamlined our development process through a series of zoning ordinance changes, rezonings and administrative efficiency improvements. Please understand that the development process is an inherently intricate process as the city's professionals are charged with ensuring life, safety and welfare. Use the following guide to navigate all the bureaucracy and find ways to save time and money. 

Applications you'll need to file:

If your property is within the North Avenue or Civic Historic Districts or is an individually landmarked site, you must begin the process with the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) prior to making application to the board.

You'll need to file this application if you propose any additional square footage or require a variance. The Planning Board and Zoning Board use the same application process, however steps may vary slightly. 

This is the standard application for a construction permit. You file this application after you've received your board approval. See Step 5 for all construction related applications (plumbing, fire, etc).



+ 2 sets of Site Plans

+ $1,000 escrow to start application (The Planning Division typically asks for a larger bond later, so be prepared!)

+ Affidavit of service in local newspaper

+ Political Contribution Disclosure Statement

+ 200 foot radius notification (notifies property owners within 200 feet of your application)

Note: Make sure you turn in all application requirements! If your application is deemed incomplete, you risk missing the first available board hearing and risk other applicants taking your spot who are deemed complete. This will save you time and money!



The Technical Review Committee (TRC) meetings are completely optional, but they offer an immense amount of application stress testing and works out complex technical issues before the board meetings. The Planning Division, Economic Development, Police, Fire, Public Works and other departments within the city participate in TRC meetings and review the plans individually prior to the meeting. This will save you time and money!


The City Planner receives and reviews your application for "completeness", which means the Planner will ensure that your application is "Board-ready" and fulfills all the legal requirements before your application is scheduled for the board. He/She will produce a report that called a "Completeness Review" that reviews your application specifics for sound planning both on and off site. The Planner also specifies which items you are requesting variances and waivers for. In the event that the City Planner deems your application incomplete, you must submit new plans that address the Planner's concerns.

Note: The Zoning Board meets the first Wednesday of the month and the Planning Board meets the first and third Thursday of the month. The boards are usually backed up and the completeness review can take up to 45 days to review by the City Planner so plan accordingly! This will save you time and money!


Now you can apply for permits with the Building Division. The Building Division is an extremely busy office. Use your time with them wisely and follow their instructions closely. You can find fire, plumbing, building, electric, or mechanical subcode applications on the NJ Dept. of Community Affairs' website. Also, contact the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) to have sewer and gas service installed. By coming prepared, you save time, and therefore money!

Once you've received your permits, you're good to start construction!


Ahh, the moment you've been waiting for. You've made it to the board hearing. A few things you should know:

+ Plainfield's boards' and commissions' are strong and appreciate thoughtful developments that are in line with the city's Master Plan and vision of growth. Proposals that demonstrate sound planning, contribute to the transit village ambitions, and are both aesthetically and functionally pleasing tend to get the nod from the board.  Follow this tip and it will save you a lot of time and money!

+ You must be represented by an attorney only if you are applying as a company (this includes LLCs and non profits), however it's always recommended for you to have a Land Use Attorney. Click here for a list of Land Use Attorneys.

+ You will need to supply the division with twelve (12) sets of plans (ten 11 x 17 sets for the board members and two full sized sets for the meeting).

+Every board "preliminary" approval comes in the form of a resolution that usually includes various changes requested by the board. Those changes must be included in the final plans to be submitted back to the board for final sign off. The same set of plans must be submitted to the Building Division when applying for permits. The Board usually grants "final" site plan approval at the next scheduled meeting unless otherwise indicated.

+The Planning Division may require a bond to guarantee the project's completion. If required, bond must be submitted or you won't be allowed to get building permits.


Before you close any walls up, and after your wiring and plumbing is done, be sure to call and get your roughing inspection. The Building Division conducts inspections Monday-Friday, but you must call ahead 3-5 business days in order to get your preferred date. This will save you time and money!

Note: Plainfield's Building and Inspections Divisions do NOT accept cash, credit/debit cards, or personal checks. You must pay with a money order, business check, or cashier's check. The Planning Division can accepts all of the above except credit/debit cards. This will save you time, come prepared!


Your last step is to apply for a CO with the Building Division. The Construction Official will inspect and grant your CO. The fee is $300 per unit. Once you've paid for your CO you are officially done with the process! Congratulations!


After you've completed construction, you must call the Planning Division for an As-Built Inspection to be conducted to assure you satisfied all items in the board resolution and built according to the final plans. If you pass your inspection, your bond will be returned. If you fail the inspection, you cannot obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and must return to the applicable board or commission for an amendment to your application's testimony and the resolution. If you build to the board sanctioned plan, it will save you a tremendous amount of time and money at this step!

You may now apply for final inspections with the Building Division. Again, the '3-5 business day' rule still applies, so plan accordingly.




Building/Inspections Division

Room 302

515 Watchung Avenue


Planning Division

Room 202

515 Watchung Avenue