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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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Yvonne wrote:
the majority of the people who spoke in favor were from outside the district, the majority of the people who live in the district were against the historic district.


This is simply wrong. There were a few people on both sides (you and I included) who do not live in the district, but almost everyone who spoke lived in the district, and that includes most the people who spoke in support of the district.

Posted on: 2015/6/11 11:06
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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Jersey City City Council approves controversial West Side historic district

By Ben Shapiro | The Jersey Journal The Jersey Journal
June 11, 2015 at 12:46 AM

By a 6-3 vote after hours of speakers voicing the pros and cons of creating a new West Side historic district, the Jersey City City Council approved the new designation just after midnight.

More than 600 properties will be affected within the new West Bergen-East Lincoln Park Historic District under the measure that has been discussed for months.

Councilwoman Diane Coleman and Councilmen Richard Boggiano and Daniel Rivera voted against the ordinance.

Council President Rolando R. Lavarro Jr. cast the final vote. 

"People were asking me if I would want this to happen to my neighborhood," he said. "I live on Culver Avenue and I would want it to happen there, so I want it to happen for the city."

Proponents of the historic district believe it will help maintain the character of the neighborhood and increase property values. Those against the designation do not want to be restricted when renovating their homes and believe it will price people out of the community therefore reduce diversity.

Mayor Steven Fulop released a statement shortly after the vote.

"This is a landmark moment for Jersey City, as this will be the first historic district created in over 30 years and the first outside of Downtown," he said. "We are looking at relief measures for homeowners as well to make sure that all the current residents benefit and nobody gets left behind. This is a huge win for Jersey City."

Read more:  http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... avor_of_historic_dis.html


Posted on: 2015/6/11 1:40
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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55 people spoke before the city council, the majority of the people who spoke in favor were from outside the district, the majority of the people who live in the district were against the historic district. The city council voted 6-3. Boggiano, Rivera, and Coleman voted no. The speakers spoke for 5 and 1/2 hours.

Posted on: 2015/6/11 0:57
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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Huge turnout at City Hall to determine fate of a historic district on Jersey City's West Side

By Ben Shapiro | The Jersey Journal The Jersey Journal 
June 10, 2015 at 10:37 PM

The line never seemed to dwindle at tonight's council meeting as one by one Jersey City residents took to the podium at City Hall to voice their opinions regarding the proposed West Side Historic District.

The ordinance at stake is regarding the adoption of the West Bergen-East Lincoln Park Historic District.

The historic district would be the city's fifth, although the only one outside of Downtown Jersey City and the first historic district in the last 30 years. The designated area near Lincoln Park would affect over 600 properties and would provide an extra level of bureaucracy for homeowners inside the area's boundaries.

A wide array of residents took the stand, representing different ages, genders, and properties within and outside the proposed district. Some laid out facts, others spoke to the history of the city, while some residents quoted former presidents and even the bible.

A slight majority of the speakers favored accepting the designated historic district, which they believe will help maintain the character and upkeep of the community. Others believed the new designation would price people out of the community, and not allow them to do as they pleased with their homes.  

Read more:  http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... etermine_fate_of_wes.html


Posted on: 2015/6/11 0:13
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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New Jersey City historic district given initial OK by planning board

By Terrence T. McDonald | The Jersey Journal The Jersey Journal
on March 11, 2015 at 10:02 AM

JERSEY CITY -- A controversial measure creating a historic district on the West Side was approved unanimously by the planning board last night after a nearly four-hour public hearing.

Twenty six speakers addressed the planning board last night on the proposed historic district, which needs approval from the City Council and Mayor Steve Fulop before it becomes official. The district would affect over 600 property owners.

The planning board approved the measure 5-0.

Read more:  http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... ict_given_initial_ok.html


Posted on: 2015/3/11 13:12
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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thanks again to everyone for the replies, messages and links. and again, it is only my own ignorance that brought me to this conversation so late in the game. i've done some homework and talked to a bunch of people and this is what i think.

the best argument i can make for the historic district is that this administration is very "developy," and this could put reins on the 500-unit skyscraper which replaces boyd-mcguiness park, or on st. peters turning homes into parking garages. i do believe those are legitimate arguments.

however, this area is not ready, as evidenced by the fact that most anyone i talk to refers to the added expense of keeping up their properties to historic standards. as far as i can tell from using the internet, this area only has 60 to 65 percent of the income levels of the other historic districts. i feel that a yes/no on this should be made by people from an aesthetic perspective, not a financial one. asking me if i want to buy a bently or a mazda is not a real question, because i have to say mazda. if a few years from now i have a few million in the bank (as a piano teacher), then it will be a more realistic question. if the people here could make a decision based on what they think would be best for the neighborhood from something other than solely a financial level, it would be a more realistic question.

the duncan projects were torn down just a few years ago only two blocks from the proposed district, there are stores on west side within the proposed district that have been boarded up for the 5 years we have lived here and there is still a bodega selling cheap alcohol and lottery tickets on 3 corners out of 4. i think this area is up and coming, but i do not think it has arrived yet, and i believe that this designation would retard, rather than enhance, growth in our neighborhood.

Posted on: 2015/2/10 11:56
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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Frinjc wrote:
If a city changes the rule for homeowners it has to foot the bill.


Exactly. You want to limit what I can do with my property? That limits its usability and price and that means it must be covered by the Taking clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Posted on: 2015/2/7 19:01
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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If a city changes the rule for homeowners it has to foot the bill.

Posted on: 2015/2/6 22:01
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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Wishful_Thinking wrote:

Should this be put to a vote? I think we all need to think hard about how that would impact on what gets saved. A lot is designated over owner objections where it would be demolished otherwise - imagine not having Greenwich Village, Elfreths Alley, or Van Voorst Park.


I can imagine it very easily, but I wouldn't see an automatic tragedy. The alternative possibilities are infinite. I was raised in a Buddhist home and was encouraged to embrace the concepts of impermanence and non-attachment. We're big on letting things go.

This article to me perfectly encapsulates what happens when preservation runs amok, and saving a pile of old bricks becomes more important than living, breathing people with real needs.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/world/africa/09mali.html

Posted on: 2015/2/6 19:08
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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JadedJC wrote:
@Wishful_Thinking: You never addressed my main point, which is letting the homeowners in the proposed district decide. What I find so egregious, both here and in NYC, is how the historic districts and landmarks are basically designated by a small group of mostly affluent people, and then shoved down the throats of residents and owners. Shouldn't the people who are paying for this have a direct vote?

In my experience, those advocating for historic districts come from all backgrounds and incomes, from the very affluent (Park Avenue) to working class (Ridgewood, Queens). And a good outreach campaign will try to address everyone's concerns.

Should this be put to a vote? I think we all need to think hard about how that would impact on what gets saved. A lot is designated over owner objections where it would be demolished otherwise - imagine not having Greenwich Village, Elfreths Alley, or Van Voorst Park.

Posted on: 2015/2/6 17:26
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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@Wishful_Thinking: You never addressed my main point, which is letting the homeowners in the proposed district decide. What I find so egregious, both here and in NYC, is how the historic districts and landmarks are basically designated by a small group of mostly affluent people, and then shoved down the throats of residents and owners. Shouldn't the people who are paying for this have a direct vote?

Posted on: 2015/2/6 15:46
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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Wishful_Thinking wrote:
@ JadedJC - I'm mainly addressing the issues you raised here, but hopefully I can 'demystify' the process for everyone.

I've worked for the NYC Landmarks Commission, in the regulatory and policy area, for 20+ years, and there are a few critical points I've consistently raised with homeowners for years when they are planning repairs to their properties:
- research indicate that in most cases, approximately 10% of the a buildings heating loss is through windows. You can save a lot of money with repairs and storm sash.
- Tax photos were, in many cases, taken 50 to 60 years after many buildings in historic districts (often, from the mid to late 1800s) were built, and may not reflect it's original appearance
- Paint color schemes were relatively limited in the 1800s, owing to the cost of pigments. Beige - or, as most preservationists prefer to describe it - sandstone color - was very often used on exterior woodwork, to give the illusion of dressed stonework.

No one doubts homeowners in historic districts are taking on added responsibility, and in some cases, added cost. But, like with zoning regulations, this is an issue that's long been decided to be a public good and has stood the test of time.


In no way did I object to beige trim for the windows. Beige or cream probably would have been the color I would have chosen if it had been left up to me. What I'm objecting to, is the weeks it took to settle on a beige shade when all beige pretty much looks the same to everyone walking by on the street. It was the dumbest reason to hold up a permit.

Don't soft peddle this. There will be added cost - sometimes a crushingly HUGE amount - for everyone involved and not just "some cases." Often times, whose who can't afford to comply will just let the home fall into ruin and shabbiness, which basically defeats the purpose of this "public good."

Posted on: 2015/2/6 14:54
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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I live in the area that will be zoned historic. I am on the fence about this.
I believe in preservation, but I wish that it did not have to entail the extreme measures that downtown currently has to go through in order to get anything done.
The permit process alone takes forever, I can imagine that having to then get permission from the historic board will just add to the time burden.
And what happens when the historic board decides a homeowner has to do something that does not fall within code? Who reigns supreme in this situation?
Btw, I have kept nearly all of our windows. The few that were replaced we custom built out of wood and while they look like the originals, they are not name brand.
I have heard that Dan really only likes Marvin windows to be used (for whatever reason). Would this also be the case here?

Posted on: 2015/2/6 14:38
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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@ JadedJC - I'm mainly addressing the issues you raised here, but hopefully I can 'demystify' the process for everyone.

I've worked for the NYC Landmarks Commission, in the regulatory and policy area, for 20+ years, and there are a few critical points I've consistently raised with homeowners for years when they are planning repairs to their properties:
- research indicate that in most cases, approximately 10% of the a buildings heating loss is through windows. You can save a lot of money with repairs and storm sash.
- Tax photos were, in many cases, taken 50 to 60 years after many buildings in historic districts (often, from the mid to late 1800s) were built, and may not reflect it's original appearance
- Paint color schemes were relatively limited in the 1800s, owing to the cost of pigments. Beige - or, as most preservationists prefer to describe it - sandstone color - was very often used on exterior woodwork, to give the illusion of dressed stonework.

No one doubts homeowners in historic districts are taking on added responsibility, and in some cases, added cost. But, like with zoning regulations, this is an issue that's long been decided to be a public good and has stood the test of time.

Posted on: 2015/2/6 14:19
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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penumbra wrote:
Yes, we are bound by building codes, which do change over time and there is no requirement to retrofit. However, historic commissions are purely an aesthetic opinion versus the infrastructure and safety requirements of building codes.

These boards attempt to enforce a static view of the exterior of the building. For example, if one wants to put in more energy efficient windows and has a curved frame, windows will be 3 to 5 more expensive and completely custom versus rectangular. Paint colors must be approved and so on. After the declaration of historic, the homeowner must pull a permit for nearly any type of exterior maintenance.

Notification is not sufficient and not reasonable. It should be put to a vote of the residents. This is a material change in the cost structure of future improvements and basic maintenance.


Spot on, Penumbra. I completely agree that this should be put up for a vote by all the building owners affected. They will be the one shouldering the substantial cost of compliance in perpetuity.

Based on my own experience and speaking with 20-20 hindsight, I would fight tooth and nail if any home I owned was in a district up for historic designation, especially in Jersey City. It literally is an emotional and financial drain. It doesn't help that the city's Historic Preservation Officer will almost always require the most expensive option for whatever work you're seeking to have done, and he'll even go against established preservation guidelines if he thinks something looks prettier or dovetails with his vision of making downtown JC "look like Greenwich Village." My window replacement cost more than doubled because he insisted on a certain type of window even though there was no evidence in the historic record - including the 1938 tax assessor photos - that my building ever had that type of window. The permit was then held up for several weeks while he picked the historically correct shade of beige (yes, freaking beige) for the window frame. Window replacement is just the tip of the iceberg. God help you if you have a cornice or bricks that need repointing. Trying to reason with him on cost grounds is pointless. He'll repeatedly say that cost is not his concern. Easy to say when he's not writing the checks. The whole process is a joke and completely unprofessional. I felt like a crushing burden had been lifted when I sold the place, and I still toast the anniversary of the closing every year with a nice bottle of wine. Financial ruin averted. (If anyone is wondering, neither seller nor realtor disclosed the historic status when I bought the place and being new to JC at the time, I never thought to ask. I'm not blaming anyone, but it's by far the costliest lesson of my life.) In my experience, the people who push hardest for historic districting are snobbish aesthetes who care more about appearances than the real people who live in a community. This change will have a significant impact on owners who don't make six figures or are on fixed incomes.

Best of luck to the homeowners affected. You should fight hard to make this decision yours, and not the Planning Board's or City Council's.

Posted on: 2015/2/5 0:02
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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Yes, we are bound by building codes, which do change over time and there is no requirement to retrofit. However, historic commissions are purely an aesthetic opinion versus the infrastructure and safety requirements of building codes.

These boards attempt to enforce a static view of the exterior of the building. For example, if one wants to put in more energy efficient windows and has a curved frame, windows will be 3 to 5 more expensive and completely custom versus rectangular. Paint colors must be approved and so on. After the declaration of historic, the homeowner must pull a permit for nearly any type of exterior maintenance.

Notification is not sufficient and not reasonable. It should be put to a vote of the residents. This is a material change in the cost structure of future improvements and basic maintenance.

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DanL wrote:
aren't we all governed "by the law of the land," and zoning and building codes?

and laws (and rules and regulations), can be implemented or changed.

the historic district does not make an owner tear out what exists and force a restoration or rehabilitation.

the laws require notification (which Jersey City is not proficient at) which should be complied with.

and yes, learn about how this impacts your property. unfortunately, a lot of good things fail (like this) because of our city's dysfunction and more, and I hope that this does not happen here.

since it sounds like there may be an additional public meeting, come out and learn more about it.


Posted on: 2015/2/4 20:44
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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Anyone know when will this actually go into effect if it passes next month?

Posted on: 2015/2/4 20:20
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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This should be up to the people who live there. I suggest you place a voting machine at the Hank Gallo building in Lincoln Park and allow homeowners who will eventually foot the bill to vote if they want this. Replacing windows in historic homes, especially, if you have a large property would be 3 or 4 times more expensive than regular windows.

Posted on: 2015/2/4 11:05
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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aren't we all governed "by the law of the land," and zoning and building codes?

and laws (and rules and regulations), can be implemented or changed.

the historic district does not make an owner tear out what exists and force a restoration or rehabilitation.

the laws require notification (which Jersey City is not proficient at) which should be complied with.

and yes, learn about how this impacts your property. unfortunately, a lot of good things fail (like this) because of our city's dysfunction and more, and I hope that this does not happen here.

since it sounds like there may be an additional public meeting, come out and learn more about it.

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penumbra wrote:
Quote:

dntshootthepianist wrote:
is there anyone who lives in an historic district who has an opinion about whether it is a good or bad thing? i have read a lot of stuff online and i know some of the arguments for/against, but i haven't heard any first hand victory or horror stories. we are inside this area and have done a bunch of work to our place, and though it may not be historic, it looks a lot nicer than when we moved in. any experiences? thanks.


I feel sorry for anyone who currently owns a home in the proposed area. They purchased it without the encumbrances of an HOA or historic district and now will be forced to comply with the district at great cost, as noted previously.

My opinion is these are a huge overreach of authority and punitive on homeowners like those in the West Side. Buyers purchasing in a historic district or HOA at least could find out what they're in for. For me, the core notion of ownership means freedom to make the choices you want.

If you want to paint the house/car/whatever you own neon orange, it's your call. Not my style, but maybe it's yours. However, I'm in the minority. Most of my friends feel these districts protect their home values and they're willing to give up their freedom and incur the additional costs.

If I owned on the West Side, I'd fight it tooth and nail.

Posted on: 2015/2/4 10:59
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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dntshootthepianist wrote:
is there anyone who lives in an historic district who has an opinion about whether it is a good or bad thing? i have read a lot of stuff online and i know some of the arguments for/against, but i haven't heard any first hand victory or horror stories. we are inside this area and have done a bunch of work to our place, and though it may not be historic, it looks a lot nicer than when we moved in. any experiences? thanks.


I feel sorry for anyone who currently owns a home in the proposed area. They purchased it without the encumbrances of an HOA or historic district and now will be forced to comply with the district at great cost, as noted previously.

My opinion is these are a huge overreach of authority and punitive on homeowners like those in the West Side. Buyers purchasing in a historic district or HOA at least could find out what they're in for. For me, the core notion of ownership means freedom to make the choices you want.

If you want to paint the house/car/whatever you own neon orange, it's your call. Not my style, but maybe it's yours. However, I'm in the minority. Most of my friends feel these districts protect their home values and they're willing to give up their freedom and incur the additional costs.

If I owned on the West Side, I'd fight it tooth and nail.

Posted on: 2015/2/4 10:30
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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thanks to all for the thoughts and referrals. we are in fine shape, as we did a ton of work after sandy, so won't need to again (hopefully) for a while. but we have had maybe three houses bought and refurbished on our block in the last year and i'm curious to know how much of that would have taken place if it needed to be done within certain guidelines. we've also had some multi-family homes bought and turned back into single-families, which is cool because that means less cars and more invested occupants, and i'm not certain what this means for that. i guess the one thing that this all means is that i need to be better about being informed about local goings-on so i don't get to the next party so late. i know that jc has a twitter account. does anyone follow that and find it helpful? i'm (gasp!) not even on twitter.

Posted on: 2015/2/4 9:22
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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dntshootthepianist wrote:
is there anyone who lives in an historic district who has an opinion about whether it is a good or bad thing? i have read a lot of stuff online and i know some of the arguments for/against, but i haven't heard any first hand victory or horror stories. we are inside this area and have done a bunch of work to our place, and though it may not be historic, it looks a lot nicer than when we moved in. any experiences? thanks.


i've owned two houses in Harsimus Cove. I've never had any problems with Dan and I am pleased that my neighborhood has been designated. However, the cost of compliance is steep. I would suggest that the neighborhood association of the proposed district invite some of the contractors who replace windows, custom build doors and repair old stone work to give you some idea of the costs involved. For example, in DTJC all windows seen from the street need to comply when they are replaced. For a non-corner this is usually 10 for a 4 story. In the proposed area, where the houses are free standing, this number could more than double. A window that meets compliance downtown costs about $2,000 or more. Can the present owners afford that? Are you setting yourselves up to benefit the next wave of owners? I think you need to think about that. Best of luck, yours is a lovely area.



Posted on: 2015/2/4 7:18
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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I suggest all of JC becomes a historic district, or a HD Lite as someone else mentioned, if it means no more of that gaudy chrome and fake gold plated railings.

Posted on: 2015/2/4 6:48
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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DanL wrote:
Brewster, Hoboken has a historic district and commission. I worked with them to get a approvals a number of years ago for painting a store front and installing a sign.


Dan, far as a quick search can turn up, only the station area and all of Washington St are historic Districts. But as an "Observer of Infill", I can say they don't get the trash we do. I guess I'll have to ask someone there in the know why.

Hoboken Master Plan ca 2004

Posted on: 2015/2/4 0:12
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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Ditto Dan...the weak link is the erratic often punitive oversight in the districts...Interior work despite the citys' claim does not require historic approval. Where you get squeezed is that if you don't get the interior approval a historic permit won't be granted. Big players get a pass as witness the recent Grove & Montgomery construction which sailed past the Historic Commission.

Posted on: 2015/2/3 23:29
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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I owned a home in a historic district downtown for 17 years and now own a home within the new proposed district. I also have a good friend who is an architect working locally, that has no problems with the rules and can work within it. And I look forward to the designation of the new westside historic district.

the problems are not related to the rules and regulations, but as is usually the case with our city's poor and hap hazard administration over the years.

and Brewster, Hoboken has a historic district and commission. I worked with them to get a approvals a number of years ago for painting a store front and installing a sign.




Posted on: 2015/2/3 20:42
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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thanks brewster. i will search that out when i get home tonight.

Posted on: 2015/2/3 17:01
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
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What's sad is that issue is addressed here as "all or nothing". While HD designating is pretty restrictive, plenty of cities all over the country have looser regulations dealing with neighborhood aesthetics from "historic lite" codes to general "can't be too cheap and ugly". I'm not sure what the laws are in Hoboken, but I'm pretty sure it's not all historic, yet they don't end up with as cheap and ugly infill as we do.

dntshootthepianist: f you have the time, there's threads from back when HPNA insurgents tried to get the law amended. You'll find more than you wanted to know!

Posted on: 2015/2/3 16:35
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
#7
Just can't stay away
Just can't stay away


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is there anyone who lives in an historic district who has an opinion about whether it is a good or bad thing? i have read a lot of stuff online and i know some of the arguments for/against, but i haven't heard any first hand victory or horror stories. we are inside this area and have done a bunch of work to our place, and though it may not be historic, it looks a lot nicer than when we moved in. any experiences? thanks.

Posted on: 2015/2/3 16:32
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Re: Historic district may come to Jersey City's West Side
#6
Home away from home
Home away from home


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Just want to add in here that I spoke today to city officials, who said HPC does indeed have to sign off on some interior renovations, to certify that they would not harm the structural integrity of the house or affect the exterior of the house.

Posted on: 2015/2/3 14:46
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