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Re: window replacement - historic district
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*sigh*

I don't have the time or the $$$ to fight this now. I have deteriorated door mouldings (circa 1980s) and a rusted out railing (same) as well. Going to leave them 'as is' with some minor repairs. Not going to touch the windows in the front.

Will replace the rear windows at least.

There is nothing "historic" about these townhouses other than their age. Not a single one has any of the original windows, mouldings, or railings.

At least I got the building repointed before this historic district took effect. So I at least avoid the cost of having to use "historic" lime mortars. There was an actual lawsuit years ago from someone downtown when he was forced to use lime mortar by the historic commission. At the time, there wasn't anyone actually making it (now there are two companies to my knowledge that do). It was the details of that lawsuit that made me forgo looking at any properties in historic districts.

Posted on: 11/6 11:14
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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brewster wrote:
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Bamb00zle wrote:
One day someone will stop Dan. However, it’s going to take a State Court lawsuit.


For most people the lawsuit would cost more than the windows, but I find it hard to believe that there weren't any lawyers among the many people who have dealt with this. Surely one of them would have escalated this fight to daylight?


You know the saying – you can’t fight City Hall…. Dan plays that to his advantage.

The law is straightforward, the procedure for getting to a judgment far, far less so. The appeal process is time consuming, bureaucratic and tedious. And you absolutely must follow the “rules” without any deviation. Knowing that the opportunity cost, time, effort, etc., makes an appeal uneconomic, attorneys either give in or sell their properties when they encounter this kind of nonsense from the City.

The actual appeal process is very similar to that for a zoning appeal. First you appeal from the JC Historic Preservation Commission to the JC Zoning Board of Appeals, and then to the NJ State Courts – Superior, Appellate and Supreme Courts, if you get that far. Make any procedural errors along the way, and it’s grounds for the case to be dismissed on a technicality – no matter how “minor.” All the neighbors within 200 feet have to be notified – by certified mail so you have proof – within so many days, and on and on it goes…. The timeline, everything has to be followed exactly. All the “T’s” crossed and the “I’s” dotted. If you miss a deadline, anything, you’re out of luck.

There is also the potential for a Federal Housing Law suit. These restrictive zoning codes have a “disparate impact” on certain defined groups – but that’s a much more complicated, uncertain approach.

One day someone with the time and interest will take the City on over the non-historic window replacement issue. And if they follow the rules exactly, they will win for sure. Dan's authority to regulate, based in the enabling provisions of NJ Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL), is clearly limited to “historic preservation.” And it’s impossible to "preserve" something that doesn’t exist – in MDM’s situation long ago removed historic windows.

Posted on: 11/6 10:24
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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animalrelated wrote:
If you didn't want to restore to historic code, why did you buy something in a historic district? If you like the way the neighborhood looks, then why wouldn't you help to preserve it?

It just seems to me that all the people who try to get out of historic preservation codes just want to flip their properties and spend the least amount of money possible on their property.


Do you have a reading comprehension problem? MDM clearly said he owned there long before the district was created. He's a buy and hold investor. Besides, most people have other important uses for their hard earned money other than satisfying Dan Reiden's fetishes. When there's nothing to preserve, there should be no compulsion of the homeowner to restore.

Posted on: 11/5 16:30
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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If you didn't want to restore to historic code, why did you buy something in a historic district? If you like the way the neighborhood looks, then why wouldn't you help to preserve it?

It just seems to me that all the people who try to get out of historic preservation codes just want to flip their properties and spend the least amount of money possible on their property.

Posted on: 11/5 15:29
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Bamb00zle wrote:
One day someone will stop Dan. However, it’s going to take a State Court lawsuit.


For most people the lawsuit would cost more than the windows, but I find it hard to believe that there weren't any lawyers among the many people who have dealt with this. Surely one of them would have escalated this fight to daylight?

Posted on: 11/4 13:06
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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MDM wrote:
Bumping this thread:

Anyone here with property in the historic district replaced non-historic windows? Found out my building is in one now. I want to replace the crappy vinyl windows installed by the previous owner.

If this project going to take hiring a lawyer to prevent being forced to install "historic" windows that cost a fortune to buy and need lots of maintenance... then I am keeping the crappy vinyl windows.

Trying to gauge how much of a bureaucratic pain the in ass this is going to be.


MDM, it's a huge pain, and I speak from direct experience with this exact issue - replacement of non-historic windows.

Fake, new, “historic” windows may look “nice”, but are beyond Dan’s limited, legal authority to demand as the only permitted replacement for non-historic windows in old houses in the City’s historic districts. And when government employees operate outside the limits of their legal authority, it makes me concerned, regardless of the aesthetic appeal of the outcome.

In actions that are ultra vires - beyond what is legally authorized by the enabling provisions of the State Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) - the JC HPO arbitrarily refuses to give the necessary “Certificate of no effect” for replacement of non-historic windows with essentially identical non-historic windows. He will not provide the required permit until you give in to his demands for fake “historic” windows. It’s a shakedown, pure and simple.

Below, in italics, I’ve copied parts of a paragraph about non-historic windows that is from a long post I wrote previously about the matter of window replacements. The original post is #3, dated 2017/7/12, at the beginning of this same string. I’ve also posted in other strings about various abuses of the historic preservation code, so search those posts as well if you’re interested.

Here’s what I previously posted, in post #3: “It is notable that the Code is completely silent on the situation of replacement of a non-historic window in an old building. There isn't a word about it. But there is no mystery in that, it is exactly as you'd expect. City Codes can't include wording that is inconsistent with the City's limited power to regulate. The City does not have the legal authority to order or require the replacement of non-historic windows by historic windows in an old building, so words to that effect aren't in the Code. Recall the City can only regulate “preservation.” Ordering someone to replace a non-historic window with a fake-historic looking window would not be “preservation”, it would be “restoration” or “reconstruction” – and is therefore outside the City's authority to require.

It troubles me when a government official who lacks legal authority attempts to compel me, or anyone, to spend thousands and thousands of dollars just because they “like” things a certain way. We’re supposed have government by rule of law, not by whim of some government official. One day someone will stop Dan. However, it’s going to take a State Court lawsuit. It’s a simple, clear, open and shut case that is way, way overdue. There’s nothing ambiguous at all in the MLUL’s applicable enabling provisions that limit the City’s authority to regulate to “historic preservation”.

Posted on: 11/4 11:50
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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SRhia wrote:
City Hall has them - I was able to walk in one day, and get a photo of my building from 1938 in about 5 min (and free). Very surprised!


Was that before or after Sandy?


I was told by the Jersey City Librarian that the 1938 photos are being stored somewhere by the tax office (post-Sandy) currently and nobody is sure of their whereabouts. Jersey City apparently received a grant to have those old photos digitized but someone in the mayor's office apparently didn't want to pay the balance to have it done, so they're in limbo.


Many were damaged by Sandy. They were sent up to Albany to be restored and digitized but that's the last I heard!

Posted on: 11/2 8:18
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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brewster wrote:
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SRhia wrote:
City Hall has them - I was able to walk in one day, and get a photo of my building from 1938 in about 5 min (and free). Very surprised!


Was that before or after Sandy?


I was told by the Jersey City Librarian that the 1938 photos are being stored somewhere by the tax office (post-Sandy) currently and nobody is sure of their whereabouts. Jersey City apparently received a grant to have those old photos digitized but someone in the mayor's office apparently didn't want to pay the balance to have it done, so they're in limbo.

Posted on: 11/1 21:50
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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SRhia wrote:
City Hall has them - I was able to walk in one day, and get a photo of my building from 1938 in about 5 min (and free). Very surprised!


Was that before or after Sandy?

Posted on: 11/1 21:00
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Reggay wrote:
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Dinger wrote:
FYI, this is what Wreiden will require per HP design guidelines for windows:

Sketches or signed archi drawings;
Color and materials samples and manufacturer specs for all materials to be used including cut sheets, sample paint chips, etc;
Current color photograph of front elevation of existing building;
1938 Tax Assessor’s photo (many of these were lost due to flood).


How does one find the 1938 tax assessor photo? Library? Did they photograph every house in the city at that time?


City Hall has them - I was able to walk in one day, and get a photo of my building from 1938 in about 5 min (and free). Very surprised!

Posted on: 11/1 20:55
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Dinger wrote:
FYI, this is what Wreiden will require per HP design guidelines for windows:

Sketches or signed archi drawings;
Color and materials samples and manufacturer specs for all materials to be used including cut sheets, sample paint chips, etc;
Current color photograph of front elevation of existing building;
1938 Tax Assessor’s photo (many of these were lost due to flood).


How does one find the 1938 tax assessor photo? Library? Did they photograph every house in the city at that time?

Posted on: 11/1 19:44
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Yeah I've rebuilt my share of sashes, rails and stiles. Even found a place that still manufactures wavy glass. Time consuming but any window that has survived more than 100 years deserves another 100.

Posted on: 10/30 19:10
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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I redid my windows to the historic specifications. I was mad at first, but now they look really nice and the neighborhood looks great thanks to the people who put some extra time and effort to do it right.
Props to Dan who is willing to be the "bad"guy and keep the neighborhood looking nice. This also prevents investors and cheapo slumlords from choosing the cheapest and ugliest option.

Posted on: 10/30 14:12
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Most fences require zoning approval. The applications are online.

Posted on: 10/30 7:55
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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speaking of fences, doesn't one only need approval if visible from the street and the property is in an historic district area?

Posted on: 10/29 20:53
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Dinger wrote:
Sounds like someone got lucky or knew the right people Brewster. Chainlink fences have been explicitly prohibited in Jersey City for quite a while.


You sure about that? When they built a Bayonne Box next door in the heights they used chain link fence and gates in the alley between the properties. That was maybe 10 years ago.

I did not know this owner personally, but the case was used as a poster child for what they were saying was wrong at the Historic office. Supposedly he was told he needed to "borrow" an original cast iron section from the neighbor who still had the original, and take it to a foundry to have reproductions cast, at a cost approaching $100k. IIRC they eventually relented and let him install available cast iron fence. Perhaps someone closer to the issue has more details.

Posted on: 10/29 20:07
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Dinger wrote:
Nothing to restore with vinyl windows. Problem is he won't be able to replace like with like. It's gonna have to be an all wood window in the historic district, whether Marvin, Pella, Anderson or any other of the larger window companies. They will allow casements in place of double hung, but only if they have the simulated check rail and a wide bottom rail to mimic the look of a double hung.


Why is there no "like with like"? I recall there was a case of a chainlink fence in HP that the owner could replace with a new chainlink, but an iron fence would have to be a replica of what was in the historic photo.


Sounds like someone got lucky or knew the right people Brewster. Chainlink fences have been explicitly prohibited in Jersey City for quite a while. If you replace an entire fence there is no way zoning (in any district) is going to give you carte blanche to install a new one (replacement of a section of the fence would obviously be "ordinary maintenance" not requiring a permit or landmarking approval). If you are in a landmarked district you have to submit drawings of the fence to landmark first for approval.

There is no "grandfathering" or "pass" exemption in the code. If you had previously conforming (vinyl) windows that you've decided to replace you, like everyone else in the district, will be required to install historically "appropriate" examples.

Posted on: 10/29 15:51
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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bodhipooh wrote:
I know this is an unpopular opinion to hold, but this entire thread reads (to me) like a cautionary tale against purchasing a home in one of the designated historic districts.


I specifically avoided historic districts when I was buying property (many years ago). Unfortunately, my property got added to a historic district....

Posted on: 10/29 14:12
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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I know this is an unpopular opinion to hold, but this entire thread reads (to me) like a cautionary tale against purchasing a home in one of the designated historic districts. There is something about having to get approval from a capricious person or committee for an innocuous choice that just doesn't sit well with me, and I suspect the same is true for a lot of people.

That's not to say that historic districts are not valuable and can be a good idea, but the anecdotes shared in here in the past are somewhat sobering and cause for pause.

Posted on: 10/29 14:07
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Dinger wrote:
Nothing to restore with vinyl windows. Problem is he won't be able to replace like with like. It's gonna have to be an all wood window in the historic district, whether Marvin, Pella, Anderson or any other of the larger window companies. They will allow casements in place of double hung, but only if they have the simulated check rail and a wide bottom rail to mimic the look of a double hung.


Why is there no "like with like"? I recall there was a case of a chainlink fence in HP that the owner could replace with a new chainlink, but an iron fence would have to be a replica of what was in the historic photo.

Posted on: 10/29 14:07
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Nothing to restore with vinyl windows. Problem is he won't be able to replace like with like. It's gonna have to be an all wood window in the historic district, whether Marvin, Pella, Anderson or any other of the larger window companies. They will allow casements in place of double hung, but only if they have the simulated check rail and a wide bottom rail to mimic the look of a double hung.

Posted on: 10/29 13:57
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Steve Nuding retired, but I believe he dealt almost exclusively in Marvin Windows. He replaced a couple of my Harsimus Cove neighbors' windows, with no rebuke from the Historical Association. They are WAY more satisfied with their results than we are after going the (more expensive, more time-consuming, ultimately lower quality) restoration route.

So maybe find out who's the current Marvin dealer/installer?

Posted on: 10/29 13:48
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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FYI, this is what Wreiden will require per HP design guidelines for windows:

Sketches or signed archi drawings;
Color and materials samples and manufacturer specs for all materials to be used including cut sheets, sample paint chips, etc;
Current color photograph of front elevation of existing building;
1938 Tax Assessor’s photo (many of these were lost due to flood).

Posted on: 10/29 13:31
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Historic district mandates replacement of existing non-historic windows with all wood (no exterior cladding) with original grill pattern. You'll also be required to buy them primed and paint them in an approved color. Cladded or any type of fiberglass is a absolute no go and you won't get a certificate of appropriateness for those. You are better served leaving the existing vinyls in place.

Posted on: 10/29 13:24
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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brewster wrote:

Which district is this? I thought all your property was in the Heights.


I have a 2 family near St. Peter's college. I actually want to replace the windows with wood interior / fiberglass clad exterior. Based on this thread my fear is an attempt to force me to do 'historic' windows with wood exterior or something else silly.

Posted on: 10/29 12:44
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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MDM wrote:
Bumping this thread:

Anyone here with property in the historic district replaced non-historic windows? Found out my building is in one now. I want to replace the crappy vinyl windows installed by the previous owner.

If this project going to take hiring a lawyer to prevent being forced to install "historic" windows that cost a fortune to buy and need lots of maintenance... then I am keeping the crappy vinyl windows.

Trying to gauge how much of a bureaucratic pain the in ass this is going to be.


I seem to recall from the HPNA "uprising" some years back that in theory you'd be fine replacing vinyl with vinyl, it's "no effect", but in practice Reiden's office would illegally force people to "restore" their property to historic condition. Perhaps that's changed.

Which district is this? I thought all your property was in the Heights.

Posted on: 10/29 12:26
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Bumping this thread:

Anyone here with property in the historic district replaced non-historic windows? Found out my building is in one now. I want to replace the crappy vinyl windows installed by the previous owner.

If this project going to take hiring a lawyer to prevent being forced to install "historic" windows that cost a fortune to buy and need lots of maintenance... then I am keeping the crappy vinyl windows.

Trying to gauge how much of a bureaucratic pain the in ass this is going to be.

Posted on: 10/29 12:19
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Bamb00zle wrote:
light12v, I've left a lengthy PM for you. I'd have posted it, since I think everyone should know how the HPO and HPC operate and what might done, but the post was just too long. The situation is difficult, but I think there are several possible approaches to improving things. No guarantees though....

Thank You.
Please take a look at my reply to Papadage in the other HD thread here.
Sent you PM response also.

Posted on: 2017/8/8 10:05
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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light12v, I've left a lengthy PM for you. I'd have posted it, since I think everyone should know how the HPO and HPC operate and what might done, but the post was just too long. The situation is difficult, but I think there are several possible approaches to improving things. No guarantees though....

Posted on: 2017/8/6 23:22
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Re: window replacement - historic district
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Bamb00zle wrote:
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.
See: https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/treatment-guidelines-2017.pdf

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.]



Posted on: 2017/8/4 17:55
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