Morristown doubles down on its form-based code.

Adopted in 2018, Topology prepared an innovative Land Development Ordinance to replace the Morristown’s prior zoning code, which had been in place (with amendments) since the 1970s. Following form-based principles, the LDO incorporated elements such as building types, frontage types, and streetscape standards, designed to accommodate the Town’s varied and historic forms, including incentives and controls to effectuate desired built forms.

After over 100 applications, the COVID-19 pandemic, and dozens of amendments, the LDO was due for an overhaul. Based in the Town’s new Master Plan Reexamination from July 2022, the Town adopted a comprehensive amendment to the LDO in August 2023. Over 300 distinct amendments modified all types of standards, from permitted uses and intensities to bulk regulations, design standards, codification of prior code amendments, and improvements to administrative procedures and forms.

Of particular importance, the amended LDO further leans into form-based mechanics. Whereas building types and their associated standards were previously optional for most applications, they are now required for most applications, with bulk standards for zoning districts remaining as a “fall-back” for unique circumstances. Further, definitions for each building type were enhanced to operationalize them and empower the Town’s land use boards to evaluate whether applications meet the intent and form specified by the LDO.

Read the full ordinance: 2023 Land Development Ordinance




Municipal Planner

Project Team

Philip Abramson – Project Lead, Town Planner
Golda Speyer – Administrative Amendments, InDesign
Chris Colley – Town Coordination, Project Support
Marc Lincer – Project Manager, Technical Amendments

Public Benefits

Improved land use administration and easier application process.

Simpler, easier-to-use code that limits vagueness and interpretation.

Improved development outcomes.


Adopted – August 2023