Borough of Fort Lee, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Fort Lee 4-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-15.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Zoning — See Ch. 410.
064a Schedule A
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 64, Historic Site, Structure, Cultural and Landmark Committee, derived from Ch. II, Sec. 2-32, of the Revised General Ordinances of the Borough of Fort Lee, 1978, adopted 3-1-1979, as amended.
There is hereby created, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-107 et seq., in and for the Borough of Fort Lee a commission to be known as the "Historic Preservation Commission of the Borough of Fort Lee." The Historic Preservation Commission, the creation of which shall void and supersede the Historic Site, Structure, Cultural and Landmark Committee (Ord. No. 92-20), shall consist of five regular members and two alternate members. All members of the Commission shall be residents of the Borough. Of the five regular Commission members, the (then serving) Director of the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs of the Borough shall be made a member of the Commission; and at least one member shall be of Class A, at least one of the members shall be of Class B, and three of the five members shall either be of Class A or Class B. Notwithstanding the five members, there shall also be a nonvoting student member, appointed by the Mayor, who shall be a high school student in Fort Lee who shall serve a one-year term commencing on July 1 of the year of appointment and ending June 30 of the following year. Members shall be classified as follows:
A. 
Class A: a person who is knowledgeable in building design and construction in architectural history.
B. 
Class B: a person who is knowledgeable of or with a demonstrated interest in local history.
C. 
Class C: those regular members who are not designated as Class A or Class B. Class C members shall hold no other Borough office position or employment, except they may be a member of the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
D. 
Council liaison: A member of the governing body of the Borough of Fort lee shall serve, ex officio, as a nonvoting member of the Historic Preservation Commission.
E. 
Alternate members shall meet the qualifications of Class C members.
A. 
The Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Council, shall appoint all members of the Commission and shall designate at the time of appointment the regular members by class and the alternate members as "Alternate No. 1" and "Alternate No. 2."
B. 
Organization. The Commission shall elect from its membership a Chairman and a Vice Chairman at its first annual meeting.
A. 
The terms of the members first appointed shall be so determined that, to the greatest extent practicable, the expiration of the terms shall be distributed, in the case of regular members, evenly over the first four years after their appointment; and in the case of alternate members, evenly over the first two years after their appointment, provided that the initial term of no regular member shall exceed four years, and the initial term of no alternate member shall exceed two years. Thereafter, the term of a regular member shall be four years, and the term of an alternate member shall be two years.
B. 
A vacancy occurring other than by expiration of term shall be filled for the unexpired terms only. Notwithstanding any other provision contained herein, the term of any member common to the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Board shall not be longer than their term of membership on the Planning Board, and the term of any member common to the Historic Preservation Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall not be longer than their term of membership on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The Commission shall create rules and procedures for the transaction of its internal business subject to the following regulations:
A. 
A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of three of the Commission's members, including the Chairman or, in his/her absence, the Vice Chairman.
B. 
The Commission shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the Commission. The secretary shall keep minutes and records of all meetings and proceedings, including voting records, attendance, resolutions, findings, determination and decision. All such material shall be public records.
C. 
All meetings shall comply with the Open Public Meetings Act (N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq.).
D. 
Alternate members may participate in discussion of the proceedings but may not vote except in the absence or disqualification of a regular member. A vote shall not be delayed in order that a regular member may vote instead of an alternate member. In the event that a choice must be made as to which alternate member is to vote, Alternate No. 1 shall vote.
E. 
No member of the Historic Preservation Commission shall be permitted to act on any matter in which he/she has, either directly or indirectly, any personal or financial interest.
F. 
Upon petition of the Commission or upon a citizen complaint or motion of a member of the governing body, a member of the Historic Preservation Commission may be removed for cause by the governing body, after a hearing, if requested. Said hearing shall be held in public session, only upon the written request of the subject member.
The Historic Preservation Commission members and officers shall serve without compensation.
The Historic Preservation Commission shall obtain its legal counsel from the Borough Attorney, and shall be bound thereby, at the rate of compensation determined by the governing body. Expenditures shall not exceed, exclusive of gifts or grants, the amount appropriated by the governing body for the Commission's use.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADDITION
A structure added to the original structure at some time after the completion of the original.
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
The Construction Code Official.
ALTERATION
Any work done on any improvement which is not an addition to the improvement and which changes the appearance of the exterior surface of any improvement.
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
A report issued by the Historic Preservation Commission approving, with or without condition, any new construction or any addition to or alteration, relocation, or demolition of a structure located on a designated historic landmark or in an historic district.
DEMOLITION
The razing of any improvement or the obliteration of any natural features of a landmark.
GOVERNING BODY
The Mayor and Council of the Borough of Fort Lee.
HISTORIC DISTRICT
A definable group of Tax Map lots, the improvements on which, when viewed collectively, represent a significant period(s) in the architectural and social history of the Borough of Fort Lee and, because of their unique character, can readily be viewed as an area or neighborhood distinct from surrounding portions of Fort Lee or have a unique character resulting from their architectural style. Except as otherwise stated, all references to "historic landmarks" in this chapter shall be deemed to include "historic districts" as well.
HISTORIC LANDMARK(S)
Any real property, such as a building, structure, ruins, foundation, route, trail, place or object, including but not limited to a cave, cemetery, burial ground, camp or village area, or natural objects or configuration, geological information or feature which is of particular historic, cultural, scenic or architectural significance to the Borough of Fort Lee and in which the broad cultural, political, economic or social history of the nation, state or community is reflected or exemplified; is identified with historic personages or with important events in the main current of national, state or local history; shows evidence of habitation, activity or the culture of prehistoric man; embodies a distinguishing characteristic or an architectural type valuable as representative of a period, style or method of construction; represents a work of a builder, designer, artist or architect whose individual style significantly influenced the architectural history of the municipality; or is imbued with traditional or legendary lore. All historic landmarks shall specifically be identified within the Historic Preservation Plan Element of the Master Plan as recognized by the provision of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28b(6). The designation of an "historic landmark" shall be deemed to include the Tax Map lot(s) on which it is located.
IMPROVEMENT
Any structure or part thereof constructed or installed upon real property by human endeavor and intended to be kept at the location of such construction or installation for a period of not less than 60 contiguous days.
REPAIR
Any work done on any improvement which is not an addition to the improvement and does not change the appearance of the exterior surface of any improvement.
REPLACEMENT
Repairs when a building permit is required for the same.
STRUCTURE
Any improvement, including but not limited to all buildings.
A. 
The Historic Preservation Commission shall have the power and responsibility to:
(1) 
Prepare a survey of an historic district or districts or historic landmark or landmarks of the Borough pursuant to criteria identified in the survey report.
(2) 
Make written recommendations to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment on the historic preservation plan element of the Master Plan and on the implications for preservation of historic landmarks and/or historic districts on any other Master Plan elements;
(3) 
Advise the Planning Board, in writing, on the inclusion of historic landmarks in a recommended capital improvement program;
(4) 
Advise the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment on applications for development pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-110 in writing. Oral presentation shall be given only upon request of the Board;
(5) 
Provide written reports to the Planning Board, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-111, on the application of the Zoning Ordinance[1] provisions concerning historic preservation;
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 410, Zoning.
(6) 
Seek funding in the form of grants, bequests, and donations to be used to assist owners of historic properties in their preservation of those properties, upon the consent of the governing body;
(7) 
Carry out such advisory, educational and informational functions as will promote historic preservation in the Borough.
B. 
Provided further that failure to obtain the advice, survey or recommendation(s) contemplated herein shall not be a basis to void or delay any otherwise proper municipal, Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment proceeding, Resolution or Ordinance.
A. 
In adopting this chapter, it is the intention of the governing body to create a commission to administer a system of preservation regulations, based on a rational plan and objective criteria, which will complement existing land use and construction code legislation. The controls herein established, while compatible with N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28b(6) and the State Uniform Construction Code, should be viewed as having an independent basis under N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.
B. 
Nothing contained herein shall supersede the powers of other local legislative or regulatory bodies or relieve any property owner of complying with the requirements of any other state statutes or municipal ordinances or regulations.
C. 
In the event of any inconsistency, ambiguity or overlapping of requirements between this chapter and any other requirement, the requirements, policies, procedures and decisions of the governing body, Planning Board and/or Zoning Board of Adjustment, as their jurisdiction may apply, shall prevail.
A. 
Preparation of survey. The Historic Preservation Commission shall make a survey of the Borough of Fort Lee to identify the historic district(s) and historic landmark(s) which are worthy of protection and preservation pursuant to the criteria identified in the survey report, which shall be consistent with the National Register criteria.
B. 
Based on the survey or upon the recommendation of concerned citizens, the Historic Preservation Commission shall document the importance and historical significance to the municipality, state or nation of each historic landmark designation in terms of the purposes and criteria set forth in this chapter.
C. 
Survey. Such a survey shall be forwarded to the Planning Board of the Borough of Fort Lee, with a recommendation of what historic landmarks within the Borough should be included in the historic preservation element of the Master Plan as a site or district deemed worthy of such historic designation. The Planning Board, in adopting or amending the historic preservation element of the Master Plan or Master Plan reexamination, may adopt in whole or in part, or amend, the proposed historic landmarks or proposed historic districts, or the parts thereof, which the Commission has recommended be deemed worthy of historic designation.
D. 
Tentative designation. The governing body may, following the adoption or amendment of the historic preservation element of the Master Plan, make public a complete list and map of those landmarks and districts which it proposes to designate as historic landmarks, specifying the location, boundaries and proper names thereof and, in each case, the reason for such designation. In designating any historic landmark or historic district, the governing body may exempt any improvement or any portion of any Tax Map lot, as they shall deem appropriate. The tentative list and map shall thereafter be submitted at a public hearing to the examination and criticism of the public. Interested persons shall be entitled to present their opinions, suggestions and objections at this public hearing. A list of all proposed historic districts and historic landmarks, designated by block and lot, shall be published, together with notice of the hearing on the same, in the official newspaper not less than 10 days before such hearing is to be held.
E. 
Adoption of an historic district or historic landmark.
(1) 
One- or two-family residence:
(a) 
Prior to the designation of a one- or two-family residence, only, as an historic landmark outside of an historic district by the governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee, the owner of the one- or two-family residence proposed for such designation may sign a consent form, indicating his or her willingness to have his or her property so designated.
(b) 
If the governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee does not obtain the consent of the owner of the one- or two-family residence to be designated as an historic landmark outside of an historic district, in writing, prior to the public hearing for such designation, said property shall be deleted from the tentative list and map and shall not be designated an historic landmark by the governing body. Nothing herein shall be construed as limiting the governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee from explaining the deletion of said property from the tentative list and map in the Mayor and Council's final report to the public, nor does anything contained herein prohibit the Mayor or governing body at another time from again requesting the consent of an owner of a one- or two-family residence to designate said property as an historic landmark, provided that all the conditions set forth in this chapter are followed. Nor shall the homeowner's refusal of consent limit the governing body's other options and/or rights of property acquisition, as same may be applicable.
(2) 
Historic landmark. Other than those properties defined in § 64-10E(1) preceding, if the governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee receives an objection by the owner(s) of property(ies) designated as residential property(ies) in excess of two units, commercial or mixed-use property(ies), the governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee may, after a public hearing as set forth herein, on due notice to the property owner(s), still designate the property(ies) as historic landmark. Nothing herein shall be construed as limiting the governing body from explaining the designation or deletion of the designation of a property from the tentative designation list.
(3) 
Historic district. If the governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee receives an objection by the owner(s) of property(ies) to be included in an historic district, the governing body may still include the property(ies) in the historic district. The reason for this is that the historic district cannot function or remain intact if individual properties are permitted to be excluded and developed in a manner which is counter to the historic district's guidelines and regulations. Nothing herein shall be construed as limiting the Mayor and Council from explaining the inclusion or deletion of a property from the tentative list and map in the governing body's final report to the public, nor does anything contained herein prohibit the governing body at another time from again including or excluding a particular property in an historic district, provided that all the conditions set forth in this chapter are followed.
(4) 
After full consideration of the evidence brought forth at the public hearing for tentative designations as set forth in § 64-10D, the governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee shall make its final decisions on the designations of historic landmarks and historic districts, if any, and adopt the designation list and map by Zoning Ordinance amendment. Once adopted, the designation list and map may be amended in the same manner in which they were adopted.
(5) 
Copies of the designation list and map, as adopted, shall be made public and distributed to all municipal agencies reviewing development applications and all building and housing permits. A certificate of designation shall be served by certified mail upon the owner of each site included in the final list, and a true copy thereof shall be filed with the County Clerk for recordation in the same manner as certificates of lien upon real property.
(6) 
Each designated historic district or historic landmark may be marked by an appropriate plaque, in such form as the Commission shall promulgate by regulation.
F. 
Initial designated historic district. In addition to whatever properties may later be designated as historic landmarks or historic districts, the blocks and lots set forth in Schedule A, attached hereto and made a part hereof,[1] shall be and are hereby, designated as an historic district.
[1]
Editor's Note: Schedule A is included as an attachment to this chapter.
A. 
Actions requiring a certificate of appropriateness. A certificate of appropriateness issued by the Historic Preservation Commission shall be required before a permit is issued or before work can commence for any of the following activities within an historic district or on an historic landmark designated on a zoning map:
(1) 
Demolition of an historic landmark or any improvement within an historic district.
(2) 
Relocation of any historic landmark or any improvement within an historic district.
(3) 
Change in the exterior appearance of any existing historic landmark or any improvement within an historic district by addition, alteration or replacement, when the designation included the preservation of the structure's exterior appearance.
(4) 
Any new construction of a principal or accessory structure or any subdivision of property which would allow new construction of a principal or accessory structure, when the designation included the preservation of the structure's exterior appearance.
B. 
Exceptions.
(1) 
A certificate of appropriateness shall not be required before a permit is issued by the administrative officer for changes to the interior of structure or which strictly meet the standards for ordinary maintenance and repair as defined in this chapter.
(2) 
The administrative officer shall review all permit applications to determine if the application proposes work which constitutes ordinary maintenance or repair as defined in this chapter. The administrative officer may issue a permit if he/she finds that the work strictly meets the standards for ordinary maintenance and repair as defined in this chapter. The administrative officer shall refer the application to the Historic Preservation Commission if he finds that the proposed work does not meet the standards for ordinary maintenance and repair.
A. 
The administrative officer shall refer all applications for permits pertaining to regulated activities involving historic landmarks or any buildings, structures, objects, and sites located within historic districts to the Commission for a written report on the application of the Zoning Ordinance[1] provisions concerning historic preservation to any of those aspects of the changes proposed which were not determined by approval of an application for development by a municipal agency pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:55D-111. A certificate of appropriateness, issued by the Commission in accordance with the procedures of this chapter, is required prior to the commencement of any activities involving historic landmarks or properties within historic districts which are governed by the provisions of this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 410, Zoning.
B. 
Application procedure. Applications for a certificate of appropriateness shall be made on forms determined by the Historic Preservation Commission and available from the Zoning Officer of the Borough of Fort Lee. Completed applications shall be delivered to the administrative officer.
C. 
Application information and supporting documents. Application for a certificate of appropriateness shall include the following:
(1) 
All forms determined by the Historic Preservation Commission pursuant to § 64-12B, completed by the applicant.
(2) 
The list of surrounding property owners within 200 feet, which shall be requested by the applicant from the Borough Tax Collector who shall certify the property owners for that list.
(3) 
Such exhibits as set forth in the application.
D. 
Decision or recommendation. As soon as practicable but no later than 45 days after the administrative officer has referred the application to the Commission, the Commission shall return to the administrative officer its written report recommending granting, amending or denying the application, in whole or in part, which report may be stated in resolution form. The administrative officer's decision, based on the report from the Commission which may be in the form of a resolution, is a final decision which is appealable to the Zoning Board of Adjustment as set forth in § 64-12E(1) below. The Commission shall file a second report with the Planning Board within 10 days of the Commission's decision on the application. For applications in which the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment have jurisdiction, the second report, which may be in the form of a resolution, is a recommendation and the final decision on the historic issue is then with the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
(1) 
Approved certificate of appropriateness deemed positive recommendation. If a certificate of appropriateness has been issued for an application, with or without conditions, that also requires approval of the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the certificate of appropriateness shall be deemed to be a positive recommendation to that body as to the historic preservation aspects of the matter before that body. The Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment may, nevertheless, affirm or deny the application based on the entire record before it, notwithstanding the grant of a certificate of appropriateness as to the historic preservation aspects.
(2) 
Denial of certificate of appropriateness. If a certificate of appropriateness is denied by the Commission notwithstanding any approval by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment, the administrative officer charged with issuing the permit for which the action or development application relates shall deny issuance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-111.
E. 
Appeals relating to a certificate of appropriateness. An appeal of the grant or denial of a certificate of appropriateness by the applicant may be had as follows:
(1) 
If the Construction Official refuses to issue a permit based on denial of a certificate of appropriateness, and where the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment do not have original jurisdiction over the application or any part thereof, written appeal shall be made, within 20 days after such denial, to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70a.
(2) 
If the Planning Board or the Board of Adjustment denies or grants a development application in the course of which it accepts or rejects, with or without conditions, the recommendation of the Commission, as signified by the grant of a Certificate or Appropriateness with conditions or the denial or issuance of a certificate of appropriateness, as the case may be, appeal would lie with the governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee only in those cases where an appeal exists to the governing body from a decision of the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
(3) 
Nothing herein shall be deemed to limit any statutory right of judicial review of the municipal action after an appeal is concluded by the Zoning Board of Adjustment or the governing body of the Borough of Fort Lee, as the case may be. An appeal of the action of the Planning Board or any other actions of the Zoning Board of Adjustment in regard to the denial or issuance of a permit with conditions shall be made to the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey.
(4) 
The appellant shall pay all costs for copies of any transcript(s) required for appeal and shall supply the Borough or its agency with a copy thereof, with exhibits, and without costs or fees.