Planning and Preservation

We provide staff to the Morris County Planning Board and are responsible for programs that preserve farmland, open space, historic resources, assist in the buyout of flood-prone residential properties and fund trail construction projects. We also:

  • Develop county master plan, review subdivisions of land and site plans, advise commissioners on planning matters, and provide information for individual citizens, industries, public service groups, and government officials
  • Maintain aerial photographs of the county and acts as the depository for U.S. Census data
  • Manage the various and diverse planning related programs conducted by the County



More Information

Latest News

2023 Trail Construction Grant Applications Available

Application Forms for the 2023 Trail Grant are now available.

Note the following schedule:

  • Tuesday May 23, 2023, 1pm:  Trail Grant Program Workshop, via Webex:
    • Join online
    • Meeting number: 2633 484 8882
    • Password: NFc9pBRH4N9
    • Join by phone
    • +1-408-418-9388
    • Access code: 263 348 48882

  • Friday June 30, 2023:  Letter of Intent (LOI). Submit electronically to [email protected]

  • Friday July 28, 2023: Grant Application Deadline


40th Anniversary of the Morris County Agriculture Development Board

Click for the 40 Years of Farmland Preservation StoryMap

This year, 2023, is the 40th anniversary of the Morris County Agriculture Development Board. We want to celebrate this occasion by illustrating all the farms preserved by the County Easement Purchase Program. Click the link above or visit the Farmland Preservation Page and click on 'History of the Program' to view the StoryMap.

“Over the last four decades in operation, the Morris County Agriculture Development Board has grown exponentially; beginning its efforts with one 14-acre farm in 1987 to amassing permanent conservation of an impressive 142 farms and 8,200 acres across Morris County. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the county board’s efforts to protect and preserve both the land and the people that call Morris County their home.

 From inception, the Morris County Agriculture Development Board was created with the success of the land and people in mind; overseeing the farmland preservation program while offering farm owners the opportunity to preserve, own, and maintain their farms with autonomy. This dedication to land and farmer has assisted in providing better lifestyles and prospects for agricultural residents and has facilitated advancements in conservation county-wide. The StoryMap provided by the Morris County Agriculture Development Board offers residents a glimpse into the success of the board and its diverse members with visual representation of preservation growth over the last forty years. With the protection of these 142 farms, the board welcomes a vast arrangement of members that represent the beauty and diversity of Morris County agriculture and all it stands for: honoring sectors such as vegetable, fruit, livestock, equine, dairy, hay, grain, and greenhouse operations and conservation.

This monumental milestone marking the 40th anniversary was not achieved by one individual alone. Initial gratitude can be granted to the founding freeholders for creating this program while sincere appreciation can be given to past, present, and future Morris County employees for managing the day-to-day program operations. Without the dedication of all the serving board members, the success and continued growth of the program would not have reached its current eminence.”

Dale Davis III
County Agricultural Development Board


2023 Open Space Applications Available

The Morris County Office of Planning and Preservation has released the application form for the 2023 funding round of municipal/non-profit open space projects under the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund.  Any of the 39 municipalities in the county and qualified non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for funding. 

The 2023 open space application and list of other required application materials can be found online.

All application materials are due by 4:30 PM on Friday, June 9, 2023

Program rules were recently amended to include costs for demolition and restoration of a property (up to a maximum of 10% of the eligible land cost, or $50,000 whichever is less) as allowable costs under the program.

Please contact Barbara Murray in the Morris County Office of Planning and Preservation at (973) 829-8120 or [email protected] for further information on the program or application process.

2022 Development Activity Report

The annual Morris County Development Activity Report(PDF, 2MB), detailing housing and commercial development in the county during 2022. 

20th Anniversary of the Historic Preservation Program

This year, 2022, is the 20th anniversary of the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund program. We want to celebrate this occasion by illustrating all the historic sites that have received grant funding with a Storymap. Visit the Funded Sites page to view the Storymap.

20 years ago, on November 5th, 2002, the voters of Morris County approved a referendum authorizing the then County Freeholders to permit historic preservation funding under the Open Space Trust Fund, as allowed by state law. Ever since the first funding round in 2003, the Commissioners have awarded over $45 million to 122 historic sites located in 34 municipalities.

We hope this Storymap can bring County residents closer to the many historic treasures which they have helped fund, and also show the strong commitment of the Commissioners toward historic preservation that contribute to the high quality of life here in Morris County. 

Morris County Launches Online Land Development Review Application

The Morris County Office of Planning and Preservation has launched an online application allowing Morris County Planning Board applicants to digitally submit their documents and make required fee payments.

Hard copies of applications will still be required; however, digital submissions will provide the public a more convenient option to pay by credit card or electronic check via ACH (Automatic Clearing House) in addition to traditional paper checks.

“The pandemic prompted us to consider options to paper checks, and this electronic means also enables us to ensure the billing is done correctly in advance. Honest mistakes are made, and this can provide guidance at the start,” said Joseph Barilla, Director of the Morris County Office of Planning & Preservation.

Once an application has been submitted, planning staff will confirm the correct fee by doing a preliminary evaluation to determine the specifics of the project.  Staff will send the applicant a digital invoice and they can pay by whichever method is appropriate for them.

The new online form can be found on the Land Development Review Sections homepage:

A direct link to the form may be found here:

Director Barilla also said that digital document submissions will enable the office to build a database on project documents that are more conveniently accessed and maintained over time.

Anyone with questions about this process or any Land Development Review submittals, you may reach out to staff at [email protected] or call (973) 829-8120.

Share Your NJ Flood Story

This fall, the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts will be kicking off “Rising Together, NJ,” a social media campaign that encourages people to come together to share their experiences with flooding in New Jersey. Ultimately, the goal is to compile these experiences into an archive everyone can use to support flood risk outreach and education efforts.

Learn more and share your story!