The South Orange Historic Preservation Commission, established by the Historic Preservation Ordinance, consists of seven members and two alternates appointed by the South Orange Village President. The Commission is composed of South Orange residents who are knowledgeable in building design and construction, or architectural history, residents who have a demonstrated interest in or knowledge of South Orange history, as well as others interested in the history and preservation of South Orange. Meetings are scheduled at least once a month or as often as required to fulfill the Commission’s role as advisor to the Village Board of Trustees, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The responsibilities of the Historic Preservation Commission are stated fully in Section 5 of the Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance #2012-09 and include:
- Prepare and maintain a survey of historic properties, structures, sites and districts of South Orange pursuant to criteria identified in the survey report.
- Make recommendations to the Planning Board on the historic preservation plan element of the Village Master Plan including the inclusion of designated historic properties, structures, sites and districts and those eligible for designation and inclusion, and on the implications for preservation of historic sites of any other Master Plan elements;
- Propose to the Board of Trustees those properties, structures, sites and districts located within the Village which it has found to be worthy of historic designation and hence should be subject to the provisions of this chapter.
- Seek any benefits which may be granted under the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, or any other state or federal law, regulation or grant program, including, but not limited to, benefits available to communities under the Certified Local Government Program with regard to training, grant funding and technical assistance.
- Review and approve or disapprove of applications for Certificates of Appropriateness pursuant to the provisions provided under sections 8, 9 and 10 of Ordinance #2012-09 and provide written reports to the Administrative Officer on same, with a copy to the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment if an application for development is submitted or anticipated.
- Provide written reports on application of the zoning ordinance provisions concerning historic preservation, pursuant to New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-111) and
- Carry out such other advisory, educational and informational functions as will promote historic preservation in the municipality, including making recommendations to the governing body.
The Historic Preservation Commission acts in a regulatory capacity by reviewing applications for Certificates of Appropriateness for demolition, relocation, or subdivision of cultural resources designated as local landmarks or located within historic districts. Approval by the Commission of a Certificate of Appropriateness shall mean an approval to demolish an historic structure and/or to subdivide a property whereon an historic structure is located or in historic districts. A Certificate of Appropriateness shall be obtained pursuant to Ordinance #2012-09 for any historic property, structure, site or district so designated in the historic preservation plan element of the Village Master Plan. Additions, alterations, replacements or any change to the exterior architectural appearance of any such historic property, structure, site or district, except as otherwise regulated by Village Ordinance, or general law, shall not require an application for or issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission, except where more than 50% of the structure or key historical element is being demolished, in which case a Certificate is required.
In addition, the Commission may:
- Advise the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment on applications for development.
- Review and comment on proposed locations for utilities including wireless communications facilities in, on, or adjacent, to designated local landmarks or landmark districts.
- Advise and assist in the development of Design Guidelines for designated local landmarks or landmark districts.
- Review and comment on any federally- or state-funded or licensed projects that may affect historic resources.
Section 2 of Ordinance #2012-16 sets forth that the criteria for designation as a local landmark shall be the same as the criteria for listing on the National or State Register of Historic Places, and are the same as established by the National Register Criteria for Evaluation in the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 36, Part 60). These criteria may from time to time be supplemented or amended, and shall be applied and interpreted in the same manner by the Board of Trustees, the Historic Preservation Commission and Planning Board as applied and interpreted by the State Historic Preservation Officer. When a building, structure, site, object or district is designated as a local landmark, the Historic Preservation Plan Element is amended.
Once designated, development applications which do not require a Certificate of Appropriateness but affect a landmark building or site, or an improvement in an historic district, (with the exception of emergency work, changes to the interior of a structure, and ordinary repairs and maintenance) are required to be referred by the reviewing agency (i.e., the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment) to the Historic Preservation Commission for an advisory opinion. This opinion is then used by the reviewing board in making their decision on whether to grant or deny the development application, or whether to attach conditions to the approval that may safeguard the historic characteristics of the landmark or district. Enforcement of violations to the Village code, which in particular target buildings or improvements in an historic district, is another available preservation tool. This program of “preventive maintenance” ensures the continued life of such historic buildings and sites, and prevents deterioration and neglect.
Based on three public Community Charrettes and research by Heyer, Gruel & Associates and Acroterion, LLC, Historic Preservation Consulting, the consultants selected to conduct this study, these Draft Recommendations for a South Orange Historic Commission were developed:
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