HPC is not under the purview of MLUL. That guides planning and zoning. Not preservation. Thus, it makes perfect sense that they don't follow it.
This is 100% incorrect.
For those who may not be aware the City's Historic Preservation Ordinance is part of the Zoning Code.
The City's Historic preservation ordinance (345-71) is a section of the City's zoning and development code – aka the JCLDO – “Jersey City Land Development Ordinance”. It is found at Chapter 345 “Zoning” in the Jersey City Code of Ordinances.
The NJ MLUL is the enabling legislation that permits the HPC to regulate “preservation.” The HPC draws ALL of it's authority to regulate from the relevant provisions of the MLUL. In respect of preservation, the intent and purposes of MLUL provisions, as stated in the legislation are:
“j. To promote the conservation of historic sites and districts,...” NJSA 40:55D-2.
Other sections of the MLUL provide details of how this must be accomplished in order to be compliant with state law. Both make for interesting reads given the abuse of power by the HPO and HPC.
You are right, I got ahead of my self. What I was trying to convey was that the MLUL does not set forth the rules and/or guidelines for historic preservation. Yes, it enables that historic preservation bodies may exist. But the Secretary's Standards are not part of the MLUL or the JCLDO.
So why do they get to have a "say" on sites when an historic element has been removed? Well since you brought up the MLUL, it defines historic sites as "any real property, manmade structure, natural object or configuration or any portion or group of the foregoing of historical, archaeological, cultural, scenic or architectural significance." This means anything within a district contributes to the preservation of the district as a whole. And yes, sometimes that means replacing something that was inappropriately removed.
Legal interpretations go on to say that Commissions must deal with the question of "whether a particular proposed alteration or construction blends aesthetically with existing buildings in the vicinity in order to retain the character of the particular streetscape." That is why it matters, and why the Commission is allowed to regulate, what kind of fence goes up.