Historic Preservation

ADVISORIES

Historic Preservation Staff are operating remotely and on a limited in-office schedule.
Effective May 18, 2020, HPC Staff will be in the office but operating on an appointment-only basis. 
We ask for patience in response time during this period. It is our goal to continue
to serve the public the best we can in a manner that protects the public welfare.

HPC Staff requests that all appointment requests, applications, questions, and general communication
be submitted via email to Maggie, Aimee, or Dan until further notice. If it is not possible to
submit an application via email, Staff will work to find an appropriate solution with each applicant. 

Until further notice, all public meetings will be held virtually as video conferences with public access.
To learn more, please scroll to sections below.


VIRTUAL MEETING ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS

The Jersey City Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, and the Historic Preservation Commission are
utilizing the service, Zoom, to conduct virtual meetings in compliance  with New Jersey Open Public Meetings
Act. If you have questions about how to access virtual meetings click here to review our Zoom Meeting Instructions.

Should you wish to join a public meeting as an attendee, please click the link for the board or commission below
at the scheduled date and time of the meeting:
In order to speak during a public comment portion of the virtual meetings, refer to instructions on the agendas. 
Links to the agendas can be found in the section above, "Digital Agendas and Plans for Download," or you can
search for them on the Jersey City Data Portal.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION - Agenda for the 7/20/2020 virtual meeting


DIGITAL AGENDAS AND PLANS FOR DOWNLOAD

Should you wish to access an agenda for a public meeting, please click on the links below. You will be directed to the 
Jersey City Data Portal where agendas are posted after they are sunshined. 
To access and download digital plans, agendas will have hyperlinks to where you can find digital plans, reports and other
materials for all applications to be presented by the boards or commissions. Within the agenda, click on a link  for the case
you wish to review. Alternatively, you can search by address or case number to review digital plans at the Jersey City Data Portal.
Plans for cases will be made available on the portal after agendas are sunshined. 

If you wish to receive email notice of when staff publishes materials on the portal, create a username or login, navigate to the
dataset you are interested in, and select the "follow" button to receive alerts. 

The Historic Preservation Commission, as established by the 2001 Land Development Ordinance, works to identify, record and protect buildings, sites, places, structures, objects or landscape features of significant historical, architectural, social and archeological value. The identification of historic resources for municipal landmarking is based on the National Register Criteria for Evaluation established by the United States Department of the Interior. The eleven-member commission strives to help the public in understanding the importance of these historic resources, both individually and in the context of the surrounding districts and neighborhoods by encouraging appropriate development and rehabilitation in accordance with the  Jersey City Land Development Ordinance Chapter 345.71 : Historic Preservation Standards and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties, especially the Standards for Rehabilitation. The Commission is currently supported by two preservation staff, an attorney and secretarial staff.

Historic Preservation Commission Members
The Historic Preservation Commission consists of nine regular members (appointed for four-year terms) and two alternates (appointed for two-year terms).  These members are appointed by the Mayor from the community and to ensure a wide spectrum of experience and expertise.

Commissioners are designated to fulfill one of three categories:

Class A
A person who is knowledgeable in building design and construction or architectural history.

Class B
A person who is knowledgeable of, or who has a demonstrated interest in local history.

Class C
Any citizen of the City who shall hold no other municipal office, position or employment except for membership on the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment. Four regular members shall be of and designated of Class A and B with the remaining balance of Commissioners being Class C.

Historic Districts

The City has five local historic districts and thirteen local landmarks designated for protection. The five current districts are the Hamilton Park, Harsimus Cove, Paulus Hook and Van Vorst Park Historic Districts in the downtown section of Jersey City, and as of July 1, 2015,  the recently designated West Bergen East Lincoln Park Historic District. Ellis Island, William Dickinson High School, the Van Wagenen-Apple Tree House, Holland Street, the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Powerhouse, the Pennsylvania Railroad Harsimus Branch Embankment, the Butler Brothers Warehouse, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Warehouse (Headquarters) and the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Warehouse Auxiliary Building and Bakery, the Merchants' Refrigerating Company Warehouse, The Former Whitlock Cordage Site, the Jersey City Women’s Club and the former Saint John’s Episcopal Church are individual landmarks. The development of these resources is under the jurisdiction of the Historic Preservation Ordinance and Commission.

The City Council designated the West Bergen-East Lincoln Park Historic District, already on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, a Municipal Landmark District on June 10, 2015, taking effect on July 1, 2015. You can read the full Designation Report written by the City’s consultant and find a district map. 

Application and Agenda

Any development, construction, alteration, rehabilitation or repair of any sign, building or property within the four designated Historic Districts of the City or a landmark building, requires the owner of the property to first secure a Certificate of No Effect (CoNE) or a Certificate of Appropriateness (CoA) from the Jersey City Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), before work commences whether or not a construction permit is required.


Most work is reviewed by the staff of the Historic Preservation Commission and may be approved under a Certificate of No Effect with any necessary conditions. Generally, work that is approved by staff under a Certificate of No Effect consists of rehabilitation, restoration, maintenance and repairs. Applications for interior work which requires a permit from the office of the Zoning Officer or the Construction Code Official but has been determined to have no adverse effect on a landmark building is also issued a Certificate of No Effect.

The Historic Preservation Commission generally reviews applications for Certificates of Appropriateness which are sought for projects which include new construction, rear yard and rooftop additions, demolitions and work that does not appear to be consistent with the City’s Historic Preservation Standards and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for the treatment of Historic Properties. When an application has been determined to be complete, Staff will calendar the project for a hearing on the Historic Preservation Commission’s Calendar. Monthly meetings are generally held in the City Council Chambers on the second or third Monday of the Month and all applications must be presented to Staff at least two weeks before the planned hearing date for calendar consideration to allow enough time for review for completeness.
Homeowners, architects, contractors and applicants are always welcome to informally discuss their projects with the Commission’s Staff before submitting an application. 

• HPC Application Form
• HPC Meeting Calendar

Complaints and Violations
Sometimes, work is done on a property without obtaining the proper approvals and permits beforehand. In some instances, this work could jeopardize or harm historic fabric or may be simply inappropriate. Usually, a Certificate of No Effect or a Certificate of Appropriateness is posted on a property in a visible place, along with the building permit, otherwise known as a yellow card. Regardless, if you have any questions about work on a landmark building or within a historic district, please feel free to contact us. All inquiries and complaints are confidential and will be checked by professional staff of the Commission in a timely manner.

To report work on designated properties in the Jersey City Historic Districts that do not appear to have approval from the Historic Preservation Commission, or appears to be exceeding the limits of a granted approval please complete this form.

Demolition
At present the Historic Preservation Officer reviews all applications for demolition throughout the City in order to verify the age of the building or structure under consideration. The purpose of this review is to establish the age of the building in accordance with Chapter 105 Building Demolition of the City Code. This is done as a service to property owners in order to establish that a building is not 150 years old or older. Please find the Demolition Permit Instruction here.
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