Borough of Sussex, NJ
Sussex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 83-3, S1.1]
The legislature of the State of New Jersey has in N.J.S.A. 40:48-2 et seq. and N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28(b)(6) delegated the responsibility to local units of government to adopt regulations designed to promote the protection of certain architecturally, historically and archeologically significant structures, sites or districts for the general welfare of its citizenry. Such regulations, as set forth in this chapter, are also compatible with Section 317 of the BOCA Code.
[Ord. 83-3, S1.2]
This chapter should not be viewed as requiring or prohibiting the use of any particular architectural style; rather, the purpose is to preserve the past by making it compatible with and relevant to the present. To that end, new construction in or near a landmark should not necessarily duplicate the style of the landmark - it should simply be designed to be compatible with and not detract from the landmark or the historic district.
[Ord. 83-3, S2.0]
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.
ADDITION
Shall mean the construction of a new improvement as a part of an existing improvement when such new improvement changes the exterior appearance of any designated landmark.
ALTERATION
Shall mean any work done on any improvement which:
a. 
Is not an addition to the improvement; and
b. 
Changes the appearance of the exterior surface of any improvement.
DEMOLITION
Shall mean the razing of any improvement or the obliteration of any natural feature of a designated landmark.
HISTORIC DISTRICT
Shall mean a definable group of tax map lots the improvements on which when viewed collectively:
a. 
Have a unique character resulting from their architectural style; and
b. 
Represent a significant period(s) in the architectural and social history of the municipality; and
c. 
Due to their unique character can readily be viewed as an area or neighborhood distinct from surrounding portions of the municipality.
Except as otherwise stated, all references to "landmarks" in this chapter shall be deemed to include historic districts as well.
HISTORIC LANDMARK (or LANDMARK)
Shall mean any real property such as a building, structure, ruins, foundation, route, trail, place including but not limited to a cave, cemetery, burial ground, camp or village area, or a natural configuration, geological formation or feature which:
a. 
Is of particular historic, cultural, scenic or aesthetic significance to the Borough of Sussex and in which the broad cultural, political, economic or social history of the nation, state or community is reflected or exemplified; or
b. 
Is identified with historic personages or with important events in the main current of national, state or local history; or
c. 
Shows evidence of habitation, activity or the culture of prehistoric man; or
d. 
Embodies a distinguishing characteristic or an architectural type valuable as representative of a period, style or method of construction; or
e. 
Represents a work of a builder, designer, artist, or architect whose individual genius influenced his age; or
f. 
Is imbued with traditional or legendary lore.
g. 
All landmarks shall specifically be identified within the community facilities plan element of the municipal Master Plan as recognized by the provision of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28(b)(6).
h. 
The designation of a landmark shall be deemed to include the tax map block and lot on which it is located.
IMPROVEMENT
Shall mean 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.
REPAIRS
Shall mean any work done on any improvement which:
a. 
Is not an addition to the improvement; and
b. 
Does not change the appearance of the exterior surface of any improvement.
REPLACEMENT
Shall mean the repairs when a building permit is required for same.
STRUCTURE
Shall mean any improvement, including but not limited to, all buildings.
In order that this chapter be made enforceable, the Common Council of the Borough of Sussex has determined that a landmarks commission be established and that such commission will serve as a direct link between the process of approving new development and the process for preserving the historic development and natural landmarks of the Borough of Sussex.
[Ord. 83-3, S3.1]
There is hereby created in and for the Borough of Sussex a Commission to be known as the "Landmarks Commission of the Borough of Sussex."
[Ord. 83-3, S3.2]
The landmarks commission shall be comprised of seven members:
a. 
Three of whom shall be citizens holding no other municipal office; and
b. 
One of whom shall be the municipal building inspector; and
c. 
One of whom shall be the municipal historian; and
d. 
One of whom shall be a person trained as an architect or, if none be available, one trained in a related discipline; and
e. 
One of whom shall be a member of the planning board.
[Ord. 83-3, S3.3]
Members shall be appointed by the chairman of the planning board, with the concurrence of the majority of that board, and shall serve for three year terms, except that municipal officials shall serve during their incumbency in municipal office, and who shall be appointed by the mayor.
Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner in which the previous incumbent was appointed and such vacancy appointment shall be only for the balance of such incumbent's unexpired term.
[Ord. 83-3, S3.4]
The landmarks commission shall elect from its membership a chairman and a vice chairman.
[Ord. 83-3, S3.5]
The landmarks commission shall create rules and procedures for the transaction of its business, subject to the following regulations:
a. 
A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of four of the landmarks commission's members, including the chairman, or in his absence, the vice chairman, but not less than a majority of the full authorized membership may grant or deny a certificate of appropriateness.
b. 
The landmarks commission shall appoint a secretary, who need not be a member of the landmarks commission. The secretary shall keep minutes and records of all meetings and proceedings including voting records, attendance, resolutions, findings, determinations, and decisions. All such material shall be public record.
c. 
All meetings shall comply with the Open Public Meetings Act (N.J.S.A. 10:4-7 et seq.).
[Ord. 83-3, S3.6]
The members of the landmarks commission shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of official business.
[Ord. 83-3, S3.7]
Within the limits of funds that have been appropriated for the performance of its work, grants and gifts, the landmarks commission may obtain the services of qualified professional individuals to direct, advise and assist the landmarks commission and may obtain the equipment supplies and other materials necessary to its effective operation.
[Ord. 83-3, S3.8]
The landmarks commission shall have the following powers and duties:
a. 
Within six months of its organization the landmarks commission shall prepare and adopt pursuant to subsection 23-4.1 et seq. of this chapter, a landmark designation list and official map which shall then be referred to the planning board for inclusion in the master plan pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28(b) and to the Common Council of the Borough of Sussex for inclusion in the zoning ordinance:
b. 
(Reserved)
c. 
Amend, from time to time, as circumstances warrant, the landmark designation list and landmark map in the manner set forth in paragraph a above;
d. 
Report at least annually to the planning board and the Common Council of the Borough of Sussex on the state of historic preservation in the borough and to recommend measures to improve same;
e. 
Collect and disseminate material on the importance of historic preservation and specific techniques for achieving same;
f. 
Advise all municipal agencies regarding goals and techniques of historic preservation;
g. 
Adopt and promulgate such regulations and procedures not inconsistent with this chapter as are necessary and proper for the effective and efficient performance of the duties herein assigned.
[Ord. 83-3, S4.1]
The landmarks commission shall make a comprehensive survey of the Borough of Sussex for the purpose of identifying historic districts and landmarks which are worthy of protection and preservation.
[Ord. 83-3, S4.2]
Based on the survey or upon recommendation of concerned citizens, the landmarks commission shall document the importance and historical significance to the municipality, state and nation of each landmark designation in terms of the purposes and criteria set forth in this chapter. Thereafter, the landmarks commission, by certified mail, shall:
a. 
Notify each owner that his property has been tentatively designated a historic landmark;
b. 
Advise each owner of the significance and consequences of such tentative designation, and advise him of his opportunities and rights to challenge or contest such designation;
c. 
Invite each owner to consent voluntarily to final designation without the need for public hearing or other protection.
[Ord. 83-3, S4.3]
The landmarks commission shall, as soon as practicable, make public a complete list and map of the tentatively designated landmarks and districts specifying the locations, boundaries and popular names thereof. In designating any landmark or historic district, the landmarks commission may exempt any improvement or any portion of any tax map lot the demolition or alteration or improving of which would not affect the landmark or district as to the purposes and criteria set forth in this chapter. Such exemption shall only be for good cause shown by the owner of the property, and upon affirmative vote of two-thirds of the full authorized membership of the landmarks commission.
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 and map showing all proposed historic districts and landmarks shall be published together with a notice of the hearing on same, in the official newspaper not less than ten days prior to such hearing,
[Ord. 83-3, S4.4]
After full consideration of the evidence brought forth at the special hearing, the landmarks commission shall make its final decision on the designations and shall issue its final report to the public stating reasons in support of its actions with respect to each landmark and historic district designation.
[Ord. 83-3, S4.5]
The list of landmarks and historic districts shall be submitted thereafter to the Clerk of the Common Council of the Borough of Sussex. The common council shall then consider whether to adopt the designation list and map by ordinance. Once adopted the designation list and map may be amended in the same manner in which it was initially adopted.
[Ord. 83-3, S4.6]
Copies of the landmarks and historic districts 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.
[Ord. 83-3, S4.7]
Each designated historic district or landmark may be marked by an appropriate plaque in such form as the landmarks commission shall promulgate by regulation.
[Ord. 83-3, S5.1]
A certificate of appropriateness issued by the landmarks commission shall be required before a permit is issued by any of the following, or, in the event no other type of permit is otherwise required, before any work can commence on any of the following activities on the property of any landmark or within any historic district:
a. 
Demolition of a historic landmark or any improvement within any historic district;
b. 
Relocation of any historic landmark or of any improvement within any historic district;
c. 
Change in the exterior appearance of any existing landmark or of any improvement within any historic district by addition, alteration or replacement;
d. 
Any new construction of a principal or accessory structure;
e. 
Changes in or addition of new signs or exterior lighting, except that no certificate of appropriateness shall be required for one unlit sign per premises if the surface area of such signs does not exceed one and a half square feet.
[Ord. 83-3, S5.2]
A certificate of appropriateness shall not be required for any repainting, repair or exact replacement of any existing improvement. In the event that the color or exterior surface material of the improvement shall be changed as a result of such repainting, repair or exact replacement, a certificate of appropriateness shall not be required if the new exterior surface is one that has been previously approved by regulations duly promulgated by the landmarks commission for similar improvement in that district as to that particular historic landmark. In the event that the repainting, repair or exact replacement does not conform to the said regulations. a certificate of appropriateness shall be required.
[Ord. 83-3, S6.1]
Application for a certification of appropriateness shall be made on forms available from either the borough clerk or the secretary of the landmarks commission. Completed applications shall be delivered to the Secretary of the Landmarks Commission at the Sussex Borough Municipal Building, 2 Main Street, Sussex, New Jersey.
[Ord. 83-3, S6.2]
Applications for a certificate of appropriateness shall include the following:
a. 
All forms completed by the applicant;
b. 
A certificate that all property owners within 200 feet of the lot line of the landmark property in question have been sent legal notice, by certified mail with a return receipt requested, of the application not less than ten days before it is to be heard;
c. 
Proof of publication of a notice of the application in the official newspaper not less than ten days before it is to be heard;
d. 
The following exhibits:
1. 
An overall site plan layout, at a minimum scale of one inch equals 20 feet, showing the location of all adjacent properties;
2. 
Sufficient color photographs of all adjacent properties and buildings within a minimum of 60 feet of the landmark property lines. Each photograph shall be properly identified and referenced on the site plan.
3. 
Elevation drawings may be optional at the commission's request. All building elevations required shall be at a minimum scale of one-eighth inch equals one foot.
[Ord. 83-3, S6.3]
The landmarks commission shall reach a decision on the application within 21 days after the secretary has declared an application to be complete; otherwise the application shall be deemed to have been approved. Nothing herein shall prohibit an extension of time by mutual agreement of the applicant and the landmarks commission. The landmarks commission may advise the applicant and make recommendation in regard to the appropriateness of proposed action, and may grant approval upon such conditions as it deems appropriate within the intent and purposes of the section of the chapter.
If an application is approved, the landmarks commission shall forthwith issue a certificate of appropriateness. If the landmarks commission disapproves an application, the landmarks commission shall state its reasons in writing in resolution form within ten days of such a decision. In case of disapproval, the landmarks commission shall notify the applicant, in writing, of such resolution of disapproval and provide the applicant with a certified copy thereof. A summary of the landmarks commission's action shall be published in the official newspaper within ten days of such action.
[Ord. 83-3, S6.4]
In the event that the applicant alleges that compliance with the requirements of this section of the chapter would be an unreasonable hardship and that the nature of his application is such that the minor change sought neither justifies the time and expense of the plenary proceeding nor will impact negatively on the public good nor specifically on the historic qualities sought to be preserved; the landmarks commission, by a two-thirds affirmative vote of its full authorized membership, may grant such relief from the requirements of this section of the chapter as it deems consistent with the public good and the purposes of this chapter.
[Ord. 83-3, S6.5]
An applicant may allege that a certificate of appropriateness should be granted without his fulfilling all of the application requirements set forth herein because the addition or alteration contemplated will not be visible from any place to which the public normally has access and, therefore, that the said addition or alteration cannot adversely affect the public interest. In that event the landmarks commission, by a majority vote of its full authorized membership, upon a finding that the applicant's claim is accurate, may forthwith grant a certificate of appropriateness on that basis.
In making its determinations and recommendations, the landmarks commission shall take into consideration specific standards, as set forth below.
[Ord. 83-3, S7.1]
In regard to an application to demolish a historic landmark or any improvement within a historic district, the following matters shall be considered:
a. 
Its historic, architectural, archeological and aesthetic significance;
b. 
Its use;
c. 
Its importance to the municipality and the extent to which its historical, architectural or archeological value is such that its removal would be detrimental to the public interest;
d. 
The extent to which it is of such old, unusual or uncommon design, craftsmanship, texture or material that it could not be reproduced or could be reproduced only with great difficulty;
e. 
The extent to which its retention would promote the general welfare by maintaining and increasing real estate values, generating business, creating new jobs, attracting tourists, students, writers, historians, artists and artisans, attracting new residents, encouraging study and interest in American history, stimulating interest and study in architecture and design, educating citizens in American culture and heritage, or making the municipality a more attractive and desirable place in which to live;
f. 
If it is within a historic district, the probable impact of its removal upon the ambience of the historic district.
[Ord. 83-3, S7.2]
In regard to an application to move a historic landmark within a historic district, to a location outside of the municipality, the following matters shall be considered:
a. 
The historic loss to the site of the original location;
b. 
The compelling reasons for not retaining the landmark or structure at its present location;
c. 
The proximity of the proposed new location to the municipality, including the accessibility to the residents of the municipality and other citizens;
d. 
The probability of significant damage to the landmark or structure itself, as a result of the move;
e. 
The applicable matters set forth in subsection 23-7.1 of this chapter.
[Ord. 83-3, S7.3]
In regard to an application to move a historic landmark or any structure in a historic district to a new location within the municipality, the following matters shall be considered in addition to the matters set forth in subsection 23-7.2 of this chapter.
a. 
The compatibility, nature and character of the current and of the proposed surrounding areas as they relate to the intent and purposes of this chapter.
b. 
If the proposed new location is within a historic district, the visual compatibility factors as set forth in subsection 237. 7 of this chapter.
[Ord. 83-3, S7.4]
In regard to an application to move a landmark or structure into, or to construct a new structure or add to or alter an existing structure within a historic district, or a landmark, the visual compatibility of the proposed structure with the structures and surroundings to which it would be visually related shall be considered in terms of the visual compatibility factors as set forth in subsection 23-7.7 of this chapter.
[Ord. 83-3, S7.5]
In regard to an application for other approval of any proposed action, as set forth in subsection 23-5.1 of this chapter, the following matters shall be considered:
a. 
If a historic landmark or a structure in a historic district is involved:
1. 
The impact of the proposed change on its historic and architectural character;
2. 
Its importance to the municipality and the extent to which its historic or architectural interest would be adversely affected to the detriment of the public interest; and
3. 
The extent to which there would be involvement of textures and materials that could not be reproduced or could be reproduced with great difficulty.
b. 
The use of any structure involved;
c. 
The extent to which the proposed action would adversely affect the public's view of a landmark or structure within a historic district from a public street;
d. 
If the application deals with a structure within a historic district, the impact the proposed change would have on the character and ambience of the historic district and the structure's visual compatibility with the buildings, places and structures to which it would be visually related in terms of the visual compatibility factors set forth in subsection 23-7.7 of this chapter.
[Ord. 83-3, S7.6]
In regard to all applications, additional pertinent matters may be considered but in no instance shall interior arrangement be considered.
[Ord. 83-3, S7.7]
The following factors shall be used in determining the visual compatibility of a building, structures or appurtenance thereof with the buildings and places to which they are visually related and shall be known as "visual compatibility factors".
a. 
Height. The height of the proposed building shall be visually compatible with adjacent buildings.
b. 
Proportion of the Building's Front Facade. The relationship of the width of the building to the height of the front elevation shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
c. 
Proportion of Openings Within the Facility. The relationship of the width of the windows to the height of the windows in a building shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
d. 
Rhythm of Solids to Voids on Front Facade. The relationship of solids to voids in the front facade of a building shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
e. 
Rhythm of Spacing of Buildings on Streets. The relationship of the building to the open space between it and the adjoining buildings shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
f. 
Rhythm of Entrance and/or Porch Projections. The relationship of the entrance or entrances and the porch projections to the street shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
g. 
Relationship of Materials, Texture and Color. The relationship of materials, texture and color of the facade and roof of a building shall be visually compatible with the predominant materials used in the buildings to which it is visually related.
h. 
Roof Shapes. The roof shapes of a building shall be visually compatible with the buildings to which it is visually related.
i. 
Walls of Continuity. Appurtenances of a building such as walls, open-type fencing, evergreen landscape masses, shall form cohesive walls of enclosure along a street, to the extent necessary to maintain visual compatibility of the building with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
j. 
Scale of Building. The size of a building, the mass of a building in relation to open spaces, the windows, door openings, porches and balconies shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
k. 
Directional Expression of Front Facade. A building shall be visually compatible with buildings and places to which it is visually related in its directional character, whether this be vertical character, horizontal character or nondirectional character.
[Ord. 83-3, S8.1]
If a certificate of appropriateness has been issued for an application that 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 aspect of the matter before that body.
The planning board or zoning board of adjustment may, nevertheless:
a. 
Affirm or deny the application based on the entire record before it, notwithstanding the certificate of appropriateness as to the historic preservation aspects; or
b. 
Reject the commission's recommendation as signified by the issuance of a certificate of appropriateness by a two thirds vote of the full authorized membership of the board, providing the reasons they do so are set forth on the record at the time such action is taken.
[Ord. 83-3, S8.2]
An appeal of the grant or denial of a certificate of appropriateness may be had as follows:
a. 
If the building inspector refuses to issue a permit based on denial of a certificate of appropriateness, written appeal shall be made with the planning board within ten days after such denial;
b. 
If the planning board or the zoning board of adjustment denies or grants a development application in the course of which it accepts or rejects the recommendation of the commission, as signified by the denial or issuance of a certificate of appropriateness, as the case may be, appeal shall then lie with the common council of the Borough of Sussex, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-17. Such appeal may be brought by any person otherwise entitled to appeal an action of the planning board or zoning board of adjustment.
[Ord. 83-3, S8.3]
Nothing herein shall be deemed to limit the right of judicial review of the municipal action after an appeal is concluded by the Common Council of the Borough of Sussex.
Any person who shall undertake any activity in relation to a landmark or improvement within a historic district without first having obtained a certificate of appropriateness, shall be deemed to be in violation of this chapter.
[Ord. 83-3, S9.1]
Upon learning of the violation, the building inspector shall personally serve upon the owner of the lot whereon the violation is occurring a notice describing the violation in detail and giving the owner ten days to abate the violation by restoring the landmark or improvement to its STATUS QUO ANTE. If the owner cannot be personally served within the municipality with the said notice, a copy of same shall be posted on the site in question and a copy be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner at his last known address, as it appears on the municipal tax rolls.
[Ord. 83-3, S9.2]
In the event that the violation is not abated within the specified ten day period following service and/or posting on the site in question, whichever is earlier, the building inspector shall cause to be issued a summons and complaint, returnable in the municipal court, charging violation of this chapter. Each separate day the violation exists shall be deemed to be a new and separate violation of this chapter.
[Ord. 83-3, S9.3]
The penalties for violation shall be as follows:
a. 
For each day, up to ten days: not more than $25 per day.
b. 
For each day, 11 to 25 days: not more than $50 per day.
c. 
For each day beyond 25 days: not more than $75 per day.
[Ord. 83-3, S9.4]
In the event that any action which would permanently and/or adversely change the landmark or historic district, such as demolition or removal is about to occur without a certificate of appropriateness having been issued, the building inspector is hereby authorized to apply to the Superior Court of New Jersey for such injunctive relief as is necessary to prevent the destruction of any landmark.
Recognizing the need for preventive maintenance to insure the continued useful life of landmarks and structures in historic districts, the Common Council of the Borough of Sussex hereby declares that code enforcement in relation to landmarks and structures in historic districts is a high municipal priority.
[Ord. 83-3, S10.1]
In the event that any landmark or improvement in a historic district deteriorates to the point that, in the best estimate of the municipal building inspector, the cost of correcting the outstanding code violations equals more than 25 percent of the cost of replacing the entire improvement on which the violations occur, the building inspector shall serve personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, a notice on the owner of the landmark listing the violations, the estimate for their abatement, and the replacement cost of the improvement and stating if the owner does not take all necessary remedial action within 90 days, or such extensions of time as the building inspector shall for good cause grant, the municipality may at the expiration of the 90 day period, enter upon the property in question and abate the violations itself and cause the cost thereof to become a lien on the property.
[Ord. 83-3, S10.2]
Upon receipt of such notice from the municipal building inspector, the owner may, within ten days after such receipt, notify the building inspector of his wish to have a hearing as to the allegations and estimates set forth in the building inspector's notice. Such hearing shall be conducted by the planning board and shall, so far as possible, be a formal adversary proceeding in which the planning board shall establish the matters alleged in the notice by a preponderance of the evidence.
If the owner does not request a hearing, the procedures set forth in subsection 23-10.1 in this chapter shall pertain. If a hearing is requested, the building inspect or will, within ten days following the hearing, serve on the owner an opinion of the planning board, in writing, setting forth the conclusions and the reasons therefor. Such opinion shall be deemed to be a first notice pursuant to subsection 23-10. 1 of this chapter.
[Ord. 83-3, S10.3]
Thereafter, if the owner of the property in question does not comply, the building inspector may enter onto the premises and, by use of municipal labor or outside contractors or both, perform such work as is necessary to abate all violations.
The building inspector shall then certify the Common Council of the Borough of Sussex the cost of such work, plus all administrative, clerical and legal costs and overhead attributable thereto and shall present same to the Common Council of the Borough of Sussex.
The Common Council of the Borough of Sussex, may, by resolution, vote to cause the sum so certified to become a lien upon the landmark property in question, payable with the next quarter's property taxes and, if not then paid, bearing interest at the same rate as delinquent taxes.
[Ord. 83-3, S11.1]
It shall be the duty of all municipal officials reviewing all permit application involving real property or improvements thereon to determine whether such application involves any activity which should also be the subject of an application for a certificate of appropriateness, and if it should, to inform, in writing, both the secretary of the commission and the applicant in a timely fashion.
[Ord. 83-3, S12.1]
This ordinance shall take effect upon passage, publication and filing of a copy with the appropriate State and County agencies as set forth and in the manner prescribed by state law.