I've bolded the critical clause they ignore:
“If historic windows have deteriorated to a point precluding repair, rehabilitation or restoration, based on documentation submitted by the applicant, or a field inspection by the Historic Preservation Officer, replacement windows may be approved under a Certificate of No Effect if they match the historic windows....”
This clause specifically refers ONLY to historic windows that have deteriorated. Everything following in that sub-section of the code is exclusively about deteriorated historic windows. The code is totally silent about replacing existing NON-historic windows in historic buildings. Replacing NON-historic windows with fake, “historic looking” windows isn't “preservation”. You can't preserve something, here a historic window, that doesn't exist.
So what is that section of JC code about? It describes what you must do when you have a deteriorated, existing historic window. You retain (preserve) as much of the original, historic window as possible. Everything of the existing historic window that can be saved must be “preserved”. Parts that are beyond repair must be “restored.” It means that if part of an original, historic window can't be repaired, you can't tear out the entire window. You must “restore” the beyond repair part and keep all the rest of the window.
For example, consider an existing historic window with a sash so badly deteriorated it can't be repaired. The sash holds the windowpane and moves when you open the window. The code allows you to make a new sash (or part of it), essentially identical to the historic sash, and use that “restored” sash to repair the existing, historic window. Only the “beyond repair” part, the sash, is “restored.” The rest of the window must stay and be preserved. That's “historic preservation.” As it is custom work, it can be (is) very costly, and you should carefully consider that before you buy a house in a historic district.
When HPO and HPC demands go further than “preservation” activities they are misapplying the code and acting outside their lawful authority. And when they leave critical clauses off sections of code they are supposed to know and correctly administer, thereby changing the meaning of the code, that is plain, willful abuse. It is damaging to property owners, it ignores the State MLUL, and it raises serious legal risks for the City with Federal Housing Law. The City should put a stop to it.
*A note about definitions of “restoration” and “reconstruction”:
Although similar, the words “restoration” and “reconstruction” have particular meanings when used in Historic Preservation Codes and Guidelines. The best definitions (clearest, most precise, easiest to understand) are found in the Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for Historic Preservation. Updated guidelines were released earlier this year. The JC Historic Code specifies the Secretary's Guidelines as the standard the JC HPC shall follow.
In the JC Historic Zoning Code, the definition for “reconstruction” (§345-6. - Definitions) is so badly expressed it doesn't make sense. It seems a typographical error was made repeating part of the wording from the definition for “restoration.” That's a problem because when wording in a law, regulations or code is poorly expressed and not “understandable by a person of common intelligence”, the law or regulation (or part of it) is invalid.
Thank you for clarifying these points about windows for ALL Jersey City properties contained within the municipality's designated Historic Districts. Regarding your words of caution when considering property purchases in a Historic District [Highlighted Above]:
What advice do you have for those of us already residing on the Westside who purchased Homes prior to having this Municipal HDO Ordinance [devoid of appropriate guidelines] imposed upon us, without our permission, BWO a myriad of blatant Illegal Procedures [including but not limited to eradication of our property rights] employed by this current Administration in their unrelenting Quest for Gentrification on a grand scale?
When a Municipality simply eliminates key elements [property owner permissions] from the Federal & State Historic Preservation program guidelines that they then defer to, [gutting the State MLUL/ Federal Law & simply ignoring the mandate of an updated MasterPlan] they create an untenable situation of the Perfect Storm for AMPLIFIED Abuses!
Should Jersey City Taxpayers be bled out completely to shoulder additional Multi-Million$ costs associated with the resultant litany of Budget-Busting Lawsuits coming down the pike ???
[as the Direct consequence of This Mayor's Bad decisions plus his Administration's sloppy Work-Product and Improper Handling of their Fiduciary/Legislative responsibilities.]