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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for PDCs?

Certain owners of lands located in one of the three Pinelands sending areas: the Preservation Area District (PAD), Agricultural Production Area (APA), and Special Agricultural Production Area (SAPA). To find out if your municipality has lands located in one of the sending areas, please see the List of Pinelands Municipalities With PDC Sending Areas.

How do I find out if my property is eligible for PDCs?

Apply to the Pinelands Commission for a Letter of Interpretation (LOI). An application form for an LOI is available by clicking here. There is no charge for the LOI application.

What is the smallest allocation that qualifies for a PDC Certificate?

PDC certificates are issued in denominations of 0.25 Credits (quarter credits). A minimum of 0.25 PDCs is required in order to obtain a PDC Certificate.

What is the first step if I own property that I believe may be entitled to PDCs?

Apply to the Pinelands Commission for a Letter of Interpretation (LOI). An application form for an LOI is available by clicking here. There is no charge for the LOI application.

I already have an old LOI that was issued several years ago. Can I use that for my PDC application?

The LOI from the Pinelands Commission must have been issued within the last five years. If your LOI is five years old or older, you need to request a renewal by submitting a notarized, completed application form for an LOI to the Pinelands Commission. Be sure to include the original LOI number, the Block(s) and Lot(s) numbers of the property, and the municipality where it is located.

What are the costs associated with an application for PDCs?

There is no application fee and there is no charge for the Bank's services. However, you will incur some expenses in obtaining a 60-year title search and a 20-year Upper and Lower Court search. In most cases, those charges do not exceed $300.00. After your application has been deemed complete, someone from the Bank will contact you and request a check to cover the costs of recording the Deed Restriction with the County Clerk. These fees vary from one county to another and also because of the number of pages being recorded. Generally, they are less than $100.00.

How can the PDC Bank help someone buy or sell PDCs?

The Bank maintains a listing of all PDCs that are available for sale along with a listing of individuals interested in purchasing PDCs For a list of buyers, click here. For a list of sellers, click here. Depending on your needs, the Bank will be glad to put you in contact with potential buyers or sellers. The Bank also maintains information on recent sales prices of PDCs. This information can be found by clicking here.

Can the PDC Bank itself buy PDCs?

Yes, the PDC Bank can purchase PDCs but only in limited circumstances. People who are having trouble finding buyers can call the PDC Bank for more information about this and other options.

Can the PDC Bank itself sell PDCs?

Yes, the Bank can the PDCs it owns, but only by holding a public auction. So that the private market is not undermined, it can only do so if the demand for PDCs exceeds the number of PDCs available for sale privately.

When PDCs are sold, who returns the PDC certificate to the Bank?

When a sale of PDCs occurs, the rear panel of the PDC certificate must be completed and signed by both the seller and buyer. The buyer must then, within 10 business days, return the original certificate to the PDC Bank. A new certificate will be issued in the name of the buyer. If the original PDC certificate identifies more PDCs than are being purchased, two new certificates will be issued - one to the buyer for the number of PDCs purchased and one to the seller for the balance.

Can transactions be done with photocopies of the certificate?

No, the original certificate must be used for all transactions. The original certificate must also be returned to the Pinelands Development Credit Bank within 10 business days after each transaction.

How can a title search be arranged?

Any reputable title insurance company or title agent authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey can prepare a title search. To save travel and other costs, it may make sense to have a title insurance company in the vicinity of the property do the search. Anyone having difficulty in finding a title company may contact the PDC Bank for a listing. A word of caution: Be sure the title company or title agent certifies that it performed a 60-year title search and a 20-year search of liens and judgments.

Are properties with homes on them entitled to PDCs?

Yes, but the PDC allocation is reduced. For each existing home, one right (or 0.25 PDCs) is deducted from the allocation for the entire property. Properties with business uses can also receive PDC allocations in some cases. PDCs are allocated to that portion of the property not actively involved in the business use. Improved business properties of 10 acres or less do not qualify for PDC allocations.

Can a home be built on property after the PDCs are severed?

Yes, in some but not all cases. The right to build one or more homes in the future can be reserved if the property qualifies for development under the municipal zoning ordinance. In these cases, one right (0.25 PDCs) is deducted from the allocation for each home to be built in the future. If you wish to reserve the right to build in the future, indicate so in your application to the Pinelands Commission for a Letter of Interpretation. Once a Pinelands Development Credit Certificate has been issued and the deed restriction is recorded, the process is irreversible. In other words, if you don't reserve the right to build before a PDC Certificate is issued, you cannot change your mind later.

Can I sell the land with the PDCs still attached to it?

Yes, provided that the Deed Restriction (easement) has not been filed and recorded. The PDCs allocated in a Letter of Interpretation remain attached to the land until the Deed Restriction is filed and recorded. Once that deed is recorded, the credits are considered severed from the land and the two (the land and the PDCs) exist as two separate marketable commodities, and can be sold independently of each other.

Does a developer need to own PDCs before submitting a subdivision or site plan application that proposes their use?

No. Preliminary subdivision or site plan approval can be granted before a developer purchases and redeems PDCs. The PDCs are not redeemed until a final subdivision or site plan receives municipal Planning or Zoning Board approval. That municipal approval does not take effect until the PDCs are redeemed, and the Pinelands Commission issues a letter indicating that the municipal approval may take effect. 

Who is the municipal official who signs off or approves the redemption of a PDC?

The "Pinelands Municipal Review Officer" is an individual designated by local ordinance to approve Pinelands related applications. In many cases, it is the zoning officer, planning board secretary, planning and zoning administrator or community development director, etc. It can also be the township administrator or the municipal clerk. The land use office (planning, zoning, building permits), administration, or the municipal clerk's office of the town where you plan to use the PDC can provide that information.

How can a developer who receives a preliminary subdivision or site plan approval be assured that PDCs will be available later, when final approvals are granted?

Many PDC owners have been willing to enter into option agreements with buyers. Other PDC owners may have an interest in a joint venture with a developer. Anyone wishing more information on when and how PDCs may be purchased should contact the PDC Bank.

Can PDCs be re-used if a development project falls through?

Until PDCs are officially redeemed, an owner who planned to use them in one project may elect to use them elsewhere. However, once a PDC project receives final approval and the rights are officially redeemed, they may never be used again. It is, therefore, important that people who redeem PDCs for projects follow through on them. Under New Jersey's Municipal Land Use Law, subdivisions and site plans are afforded protection against zoning changes for limited periods of time. Waivers of Strict Compliance from the Pinelands Plan generally expire in 5 years. To ensure that the bonus densities obtained by redeeming Pinelands Development Credits don't lapse, timely development of the projects is encouraged.

Can PDCs be used as collateral for a loan?

Yes, after the loan arrangements are made between you and the lending institution, the rear panel of the original PDC certificate must be completed and returned to the Pinelands Development Credit Bank within 10 business days. The Bank will re-issue the certificate with a notation that the PDCs have been encumbered and the name of the lending institution. This means that the PDCs can't be sold without obtaining a release from the lender.

The encumbered certificate will be retained by the Bank with photocopies provided to both the certificate owner and the lending institution. This will facilitate the release of the encumbrance when the lending owner notifies the Bank to do so.