Township of Scotch Plains, NJ
Union County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 89-40]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Historic Site and Historic District Preservation Ordinance of the Township of Scotch Plains.
[Ord. No. 89-40]
The Township council of the Township of Scotch Plains finds and determines as follows:
a. 
The historic, cultural, architectural and social heritage of the Township of Scotch Plains must be safeguarded to insure that future generations shall have an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the heritage of the Township.
b. 
Preservation of historic sites and districts is deemed essential to foster civic pride and to promote the conservation and enhancement of community property values, as well as preservation of natural and open space.
c. 
The Township of Scotch Plains municipal character and identity is best served by the preservation and promotion of such historic districts and sites as are defined and identified by the Township.
[Ord. No. 89-40]
HISTORIC DISTRICT
Shall mean one or more historic sites and intervening or surrounding property significantly affecting or affected by the quality and character of the historic site or sites.
HISTORIC SITE
Shall mean any real property, man-made structure, natural object or configuration or any portion or group of the foregoing which have been formally designated in the master plan as being of historical, archaeological, cultural, scenic or architectural significance.
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.
ALTER OR ALTERATION
Shall mean a change in the appearance of a building, structure or site which is not otherwise covered by the definition of demolition, or any other change for which a permit is required under the general zoning ordinances. Alteration includes the re-roofing, cleaning or painting of a building or structure.
CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS
Shall mean a document that is issued by the Historic Preservation Commission, following a prescribed series of hearings and review procedures, certifying that the proposed actions by an applicant are found to be acceptable in terms of design criteria relating to the individual site, structure or building, or the historic district as a whole.
DEMOLITION
Shall mean the razing of any improvement or the obliteration of any natural feature of a designated landmark.
DESIGN
Shall mean exterior features including mass, height, appearance and the texture, nature and composition of materials.
OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER
Shall mean the official newspaper of the Township of Scotch Plains.
ORDINARY MAINTENANCE
Shall mean repairing any deterioration, wear or damage to a structure, or any part thereof in order to return the same, as nearly as practicable, to its condition prior to the occurrence of such deterioration, wear or damage. Ordinary maintenance shall further include replacement of exterior elements or accessory hardware, including signs, using the same materials, or optional materials recommended in the Scotch Plains Guide, having the same appearance.
ORDINARY REPAIRS
Shall mean:
a. 
Ordinary building repairs include:
1. 
Exterior and interior painting.
2. 
Installation, repair or replacement of any interior finish in a one or two-family dwelling, such as vinyl wall covering, plastering, or drywall on an existing wall. Paneling is not to be included as ordinary repairs.
3. 
Wallpapering at any locations.
4. 
The replacement of glass in any window or door. However, the replacement glass shall be of the type and quality so as to comply with minimum requirements of the code.
5. 
The installation and replacement of any window or door, including garage doors, in the same opening without alterating the dimensions or framing of the original opening. This shall include storm window and storm doors. Any new door or window shall be of the same type and operation as the existing, and shall not reduce the minimum requirements of the code for means of egress and emergency escape.
6. 
The repair of any non-structural member such as a railing.
7. 
The repair or replacement of any interior or exterior trim, decoration or moldings.
8. 
The replacement or installation of any flooring material except carpeting, with a new material. However, installation of carpeting in one and two-family dwellings will be permitted under ordinary repairs.
9. 
The repair of existing roofing material with like material not exceeding 25 percent of the total roof area within any 12 month period.
10. 
The repair of existing siding with like material not exceeding 25 percent of the total building exterior wall area within any 12 month period.
11. 
The repair of any part of a porch or stoop which does not structurally support a roof above.
12. 
The replacement or installation of screens.
13. 
The installation of any roll or batt insulation when installed adjacent to or not more than one and one-half inches from an interior finish.
14. 
Replacement of exterior rain water gutters and leaders.
b. 
Ordinary plumbing repairs include:
1. 
Repairs involving only working parts of a faucet, valve or plumbing fixture.
2. 
The clearance of stoppages or the repair of leaks provided such repairs do not require any change in the piping arrangement.
3. 
Replacement of any faucet or valve provided no rearrangement of the connecting piping system is required.
c. 
Ordinary electrical repairs shall include:
1. 
The replacement of any receptacle, switch, or lighting fixture rated at 20 amps or less and operating at less than 150 volts to ground with a like or similar item.
2. 
Repairs to any installed electrically operated equipment such as doorbells, communication system, elevators and any motor operated device.
d. 
Ordinary fire protection repairs shall mean and include:
1. 
The replacement of any sprinkler or smoke detector or heat detector head with a like device.
2. 
The replacement of any component of a fire alarm or smoke and heat detection equipment.
e. 
Ordinary heating, ventilation and air-conditioning repairs shall include:
1. 
Replacement of motor, pumps and fans of the same capacity.
2. 
Repair and replacement of heating supply and return piping and radiation elements, which does not require re-arrangement of the piping system.
3. 
Repair and replacement of duct work.
4. 
Repair and replacement of packaged air-conditioning equipment and systems with a like capacity that are listed by a nationally recognized testing agency.
5. 
Repairs or replacement of control devices for heating and air-conditioning equipment.
REMOVAL
Shall mean to partially or completely move a structure substantially intact.
REPAIR
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 repairs, when a building permit is not required for same.
SCOTCH PLAINS GUIDE
Shall mean design guidelines for historic districts and sites prepared for the Scotch Plains Historical Commission.
[Ord. No. 89-40]
Chapter 516, Laws of 1985, amending the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq. establishes an historic preservation commission (HPC) to advance the purposes of the historic preservation districts. The Mayor shall appoint the HPC membership consisting of seven regular members and two alternates.
The HPC membership includes the following categories of appointment:
a. 
Regular members. At least one member for each of the following classes:
1. 
Class A: A person who is knowledgeable in building design and construction or architectural history.
2. 
Class B: A person who is knowledgeable or who has interest in local history.
3. 
Class C: A person who is a citizen of the Township and holds no other municipal office, position or employment except for membership on the Planning Board or the zoning board of adjustment. Class C members shall constitute a majority by at least one.
b. 
Alternate members. Two alternate members who must qualify as Class C members. Alternate members may participate in all HPC 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. If a choice must be made as to which alternate member is to vote, Alternate No. 1 votes.
For members first appointed to the HPC, the expiration of their terms should be distributed as widely as possible so that in the interest of board continuity, simultaneous reappointments are remote. The expiration dates of regular members should be distributed evenly over the first four years after their appointments, and alternate members, evenly over the first two years after their appointments. The initial terms of regular members shall not exceed four years and the initial terms of alternate members shall not exceed two years. Vacancies occurring other than by expiration of terms shall be filled for the unexpired term only. The term of any member common to the HPC and the Planning Board or the zoning board of adjustment shall be for the term of membership of those boards.
The Mayor shall appoint a Chairman and the HPC shall elect a vice-Chairman from its membership and select a recording secretary who may or may not be a member of the HPC or a municipal employee.
a. 
Funds. Council shall make provision in its budget and designate funds for the expenses of the HPC.
b. 
Fees. Council shall establish by ordinance reasonable fees necessary to cover the expenses of administration and professional services to aid the commission in its review of an application. These fees are in addition to any other fees required under any portion of this or any other applicable ordinance. All fees shall be non-refundable.
c. 
Removal. A member of the HPC may, after public hearing if he requests it, be removed by the council for cause.
d. 
Conflict of interest. A member of the HPC may not act on any matter in which the member has any personal or financial interest, either directly or indirectly.
e. 
Expert assistance. The HPC may employ, contract for, and fix the compensation of experts and other staff and services as it deems necessary. The commission shall obtain its legal counsel from the municipal attorney at the rate of compensation set by council. Expenditures shall not exceed, exclusive of gifts or grants, the amount appropriated by council for the commission's use.
f. 
Rules. The HPC shall adopt such procedural rules for the conduct of its business as it deems necessary and advisable.
g. 
Records. The HPC shall keep minutes of its meetings and proceedings including voting records, findings, determinations and recommendations. Copies shall be sent to the Township council and made available to municipal agencies and officials for their use. When the Planning Board or the zoning board of adjustment refers an applicant to the HPC, then the referring board shall receive a copy.
The HPC shall have the responsibility to:
a. 
Prepare a survey of historic sites of the Township of Scotch Plains according to criteria from "The Survey Report," which shall include but not be limited to sites identified in the book entitled "Under the Blue Hills" and as further specifically incorporated in a document prepared by the Office of Cultural and Environmental Services, Historic Preservation Section of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Said document was prepared by .
b. 
Make recommendations to the Planning Board on the historic preservation plan element of the master plan and on the implications for preservation of historic sites of any other master plan elements.
c. 
Advise the Planning Board on the inclusion of historic sites in the recommended capital improvement program.
d. 
Advise the Planning Board and zoning board of adjustment on applications for development.
1. 
The Boards shall make available to the HPC informational copies of applications submitted to them for development in historic districts or sites. Failure to provide this copy shall not invalidate any hearings or proceeding. If requested by either the Boards or the applicant, the HPC will provide a representative to testify orally at the Board's hearing on the application to convey its advice and to explain any written reports.
e. 
Provide written reports on how the zoning ordinance applies to historic preservation.
1. 
Applications for permits concerning historic sites or properties in the historic districts shall all be referred to the HPC for a written report concerning how the zoning ordinance applies to the proposed changes. The HPC shall promptly submit this report to the administrative officer within 45 days from the time they receive the application. If they recommend against the issuance of the permit or place conditions on the permit, the official shall deny the permit or include the conditions in the permit. Failure to report within the 45-day period constitutes a report in favor of issuance of the permit without conditions.
2. 
Appeals from determination of the construction official may be made by the applicant to the zoning board of adjustment, according to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70a.
f. 
Evaluate properties included in the community-wide inventory against the criteria for the National Register of Historic Places and prepare nominations for the consideration of the State Historical Preservation Officer. All inventory material shall be:
1. 
Compatible with the New Jersey Historic Sites Inventory.
2. 
Accessible to the public, except that access to archaeological site locations shall be restricted.
3. 
Update periodically.
g. 
Designation of landmarks, landmark sites, and historic districts.
1. 
The commission shall prepare surveys of the Township of Scotch Plains at its discretion for the purpose of identifying landmarks, landmark sites, and historic districts which are worthy of protection and preservation because of their historical, cultural, social or architectural significance.
2. 
The commission shall tentatively designate property as a landmark, landmark site, or as within an area being considered for designation as an historic district. Thereafter, the commission, by certified mail, shall:
(a) 
Notify each owner that his or her property is being considered for designation as a landmark, land-mark site, or is within an area being considered for designation as an historic district.
(b) 
Advise each owner of the significance and consequence of such designation and of the opportunity and right to challenge or contest such designation.
(c) 
Invite each owner to voluntarily consent to final designation without the need for public hearing or other procedure.
3. 
Where the owner of property refuses to consent to designation of the property as a landmark or landmark site or where the commission is considering the designation of an area as an historic district, the commission shall hold a hearing on such designation as follows:
(a) 
After full consideration of the evidence brought forth at the hearing, the commission shall make a decision on the designation of such landmark, landmark site, or historic district and shall issue a report stating reasons in support of its action. A copy of the commission's decision and report shall be mailed to each owner of property entitled to receive same.
4. 
In the event property is designated as a landmark, landmark site, or with an historic district, such designation shall be submitted to the Township council together with the report of the commission. Such report shall be submitted to the Planning Board for inclusion in the master plan and to the Township council for inclusion in the Land Use Ordinance, informing both boards of any objections. The Township council shall have 45 days to disapprove of the designation.
5. 
A certificate of designation shall be served upon the owner of each property designated as a landmark, landmark site or within an historic district and copy thereof, certified as a true copy by the Township Clerk, shall be filed in the Office of the Register of Deeds and Mortgages for Union County.
6. 
All landmarks, landmark sites, and historic districts shall be listed and plotted on a map and kept as the permanent designation record of the commission. A copy of such list and map shall be filed with the Township, the secretary of the Planning Board, the secretary of the Board of adjustment and the construction official.
7. 
Each designated landmark, landmark site, and historic district may be marked by an appropriate sign carrying a brief description and account of the historical and/or aesthetic significance of the property. The maximum size of the sign shall be no larger than eight square feet and located on the property in question as outlined in subsection 23-3.4b of the Township ordinance.
h. 
Carry out other advisory, educational, and informational functions to promote historic preservation in the community.
[Ord. No. 89-40]
A certificate of appropriateness issued by the historic preservation commission shall be required before a permit is issued for any of the following, or, in the event no other type of permit is required, before any work can commence on any of the following activities involving any site or landmark or within any historic district:
a. 
Demolition of a historic site or landmark or of any improvement within any historic district.
b. 
Relocation of any historic site or landmark or of any improvement within any historic district.
c. 
Change in the exterior appearance of any existing historic site or landmark or of any improvement within any historic district by addition, alteration or replacement.
d. 
Any new construction of a principal or accessory structure on any historic site or in any historic district.
e. 
Changes in or addition of new signs or exterior lighting, except that no certificate of appropriateness shall be required as outlined in paragraph g, 7 above.
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 re-painting, 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 historic preservation commission for similar improvement in that area or as to that particular historic landmark. In the event that the repainting, repair or exact replacement does not conform to the said regulations, or the options in the Scotch Plains Guide, a certificate of appropriateness shall be required.
In terms of exact replacement of finishes, materials or architectural elements, it is understood that the historic preservation commission would prefer an applicant to maintain, stabilize and repair the original or existing finishes, materials or architectural elements before considering the replacement of same. However, the original or existing finishes, materials or architectural elements should be designed and installed to replicate the material, color, size, contour, configuration and design of that which is being replaced, or alternate recommendation in the Scotch Plains Guide.
[Ord. No. 89-40]
Application for a certificate of appropriateness shall be made on forms available from the Township Clerk.
The historic preservation commission shall reach a decision on the application within 45 days after the HPC 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 historic preservation commission. The historic preservation commission may advise the applicant and make recommendations in regard to the appropriateness of proposed action, and may grant approval upon such conditions as it deems appropriate within the intent and purpose of this section.
If an application is approved, the historic preservation commission shall forthwith issue a certificate of appropriateness. If the historic preservation commission disapproves an application, the historic preservation commission shall state its reasons in writing in resolution form within ten days of such a decision. In case of dis-approval, the historic preservation commission shall notify the applicant, in writing, of such resolution of disapproval, and reasons therefor, and provide the applicant with a certified copy thereof.
a. 
Standards of review and design criteria. In reviewing any application for an historic district certificate of appropriateness, the HPC and the Planning Board shall make their determinations as to whether an application should be approved, approved with conditions, or denied.
The provisions of the chapter, and the following criteria of review adapted from the Secretary of Interior's "Standards for Re-habilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings," and/or the Scotch Plains Guide, and the following design criteria. The Standards and Design Criteria are requirements. The Guidelines and Description of Styles and Check List provide general design and technical recommendations and shall be made available to applicants, their architects, contractors and subcontractors.
1. 
Every reasonable effort shall be made to provide a compatible use for property which requires minimal alteration of the building, structure, or site and its environment, or to use a property for its originally intended purpose.
2. 
The distinguishing original qualities or character of a building, structure, or site and its environment shall not be destroyed. The removal or alteration of any historic material or distinctive architectural features should be avoided when possible.
3. 
All buildings, structures, and sites shall be recognized as products of their own time. Alterations that have no historical basis and which seek to create an earlier appearance shall be discouraged.
4. 
Changes which may have taken place in the course of time are evidence of the history and development of a building, structure, or site and its environment. These changes may have acquired significance in their own right, and this significance shall be recognized and respected. However, if an earlier appearance of a building is of primary significance, then restoration may be the preferred treatment. Removal of later changes may be allowed in certain cases, if such changes alter, obscure, or destroy the building's "character-defining" space, materials, features, or finishes of the building as it appeared during its primary period of significance.
5. 
Distinctive stylistic features or examples of skilled craftsmanship which characterize a building, structure or site shall be treated with sensitivity.
6. 
Deteriorated architectural features shall be repaired rather than replaced, wherever possible. In the event replacement is necessary, the new material should match the material being replaced in composition, design, color, texture and other visual qualities, or alternate recommendations in the Scotch Plains Guide. Repair or replacement of missing architectural features should be based on accurate duplication of features, substantiated by historic, physical or pictorial evidence rather than on conjectural designs or the availability of different architectural elements from other buildings or structures.
7. 
The surface cleaning of structures shall be under-taken with the gentlest means possible. Sandblasting and other cleaning methods that will damage the historic building materials shall not be undertaken without the consent of HPC.
8. 
Every reasonable effort shall be made to protect and preserve archaeological resources affected by, or adjacent to any project.
9. 
Contemporary design for alterations and additions to existing properties shall not be discouraged when such alterations and additions do not destroy significant historical, architectural or cultural material, and such design is compatible with the size, scale, color, material, land character of the property.
10. 
Whenever possible, new additions or alterations to structures shall be done in such a manner that if such additions or alterations were to be removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the structure would be unimpaired.
b. 
Design criteria. In assessing design of any proposed additions or new construction, the following design criteria shall be considered, in conjunction with the Standards of Review set forth above, by the historic preservation commission and the Planning Board. These design criteria shall be used to analyze the improvements within the historic district or immediate surrounding areas, as follows:
1. 
Area and height regulations. Maximum building height, minimum lot size, maximum coverage, etc., shall be provided in the zoning ordinance for the respective zones, except the zoning board of adjustment or Planning Board may grant a variance where necessary to preserve historic characteristics, upon recommendation of the historic preservation commission to the zoning board or Planning Board.
2. 
Directional expression. A building shall be visibly compatible with buildings and places to which it is visibly related in its directional character, whether this be vertical character or horizontal character.
[Ord. No. 89-40]
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.
Upon learning of the violation, the construction code official 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 sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner at his last known address, as it appears on the municipal tax rolls.
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 construction code official shall cause to be issued a summons and complaint, returnable in the municipal court, charging violation of this ordinance. Each separate day the violation exists shall be deemed to be a new and separate violation of this chapter.
The penalty for violations shall be as follows:
a. 
For each day, up to ten days - not more than $250 per day.
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 construction code official 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.
In the event that demolition or removal occurs without a certificate of appropriateness having been obtained, then the penalty for such an act or acts shall be a $1,000 fine and a mandatory 30 days sentence in jail.
[Ord. No. 89-40]
Recognizing the need for preventive maintenance to insure the continued useful life of landmarks and structures in historic districts, the governing body of the Township of Scotch Plains hereby declares that code enforcement in relation to landmarks and structures in historic districts is a high municipal priority.
In the event that any landmark or improvement in an historic district deteriorates to the point that, in the best estimate of the municipal construction code official, 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 construction code official 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 re-medial action within 90 days, or such extensions of time as the construction code official 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.
Upon receipt of such notice from the municipal construction code official, the owner may, within ten days after such a receipt, notify the construction code official of his wish to have a hearing as to the allegations and estimates set forth in the construction code official'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 this section shall pertain. If a hearing is requested, the construction code official 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 this section.
Thereafter, if the owner of the property in question does not comply, the construction code official 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 construction code official shall then certify to the governing body of the Township of Scotch Plains and the cost of such work, plus all administrative, clerical and legal costs and overhead attributable thereto and shall present same to the governing body of the Township of Scotch Plains.
The governing body of the Township of Scotch Plains 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 paid, bearing interest at the same rate as delinquent taxes.