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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Mr. Curtin, I have read your account of what happened, as well as Ricardo's article in the Hudson Reporter, which gave only your side of the story. Even under your own terms, its clear that there is nothing wrong with the ordinance, and for that matter very little wrong with the process.

There were three issues between you and HP staff. First, the color of your house. Although Dan initially said to paint the house Brown, he quickly agreed with you that you could paint the house the exact color you wanted. No need to go to the HPC, no need to call the mayor, no need to run into federal court and demand $10 milliion for deprivation of civil rights. In other words, you got exactly what you wanted. And you want to now change the law over this? Talk about a sore WINNER!

Second, the powerwashing. Again, you got your CNE. All that Bob Cotter required was a site visit. The Secretary's guidelines do not prohibit powerwashing, but do warn that such techniques need to be done with care because they can damage exteriors. This may be of greater concern with, say, a wodden barn, than it would with a brick row house. But the concern is still there, and it is appropriate to allow a site visit to make sure no damage would be done. But again, you got your CNE. No big deal.

Third, your railing. This is apparently the main point of controversy, and in this case, HP staff was absolutely correct. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards provide that "Each property will be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use." With respect to rehabilitation and restoration, the standards explicitly state "Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties, will not be undertaken. " This is very clear.

The local ordinance provides flexibility in this regard. You do not have to spend inordinate amounts of money to restore exact features. You are allowed to use a modern design so long as it distinguishes itself from the original, and otherwise fits in to the rest of the building with respect to size, scale and material. The only thing you cannot do is add pseudo historical features that were not part of the building.

I have reviewed your proposed changes to the ordinance. Bottom line: they would have taken our ordinance out of compliance with federal and state standards.

And when it gets to that, you are not simply dealing with your property, but my property and that of all the other residents of a historic district. When people purchased these houses, they knew or should have known that the property was in a historic district. They therefore purchased the property aware of the benefits, as well as the restrictions, that come with being a property owner in such a district. You are adversely affecting the value of our houses, as well as the non-economic benefits of living in such a district (education, aesthetics, etc).

The Conservancy is more than happy to work with people who want to improve historic preservation in Jersey City. This includes expediting the permit process and making it more user friendly. We cannot countenance, however, attempting to peddle changes in the law that would make preservation in Jersey City meaningless, incorrectly telling people that such changes are in accordance with national standards, and doing so because one has a personal crusade against some people because they allegedly did not show you enough respect.

Perhaps you long for the days of the Cucci administration. Or perhaps you wish you could walk into 30 Montgomery Street and pick up a signed, blank, form so you could get a CNE to do whatever you want to a historic house. Those days are long past us. Thank heaven they are.


Joshua Parkhurst
President
Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy

Posted on: 2005/12/29 15:35
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Just to respond to Mr. Parkhur, and to clarify some issues. One the only color dan weriden would sign for was brown. It was with great protest that he acquiesced to all me to paint my home the dark green because it was a previously approved color selection for my varick street and with protest he allowed it on my Hamilton park home. There was no offer of a color selection as dan explained it the color choice was based on his interpretation of the original intent of the designer??. That is a quote??. So at the time I went for my certificate there was no choice, understand as this has become an issue there is much more latitide in color selection. At the meeting with the councilman Steve Guccarido proposed to go back to that method to dictate to a home owner the color of their homes??.

In regard to the railings no choice was offered, and that is the case with many in the community we were at the time and as the ordinance is written forced to restore at great expense, time and research?..

In regard to property values, I have sold real estate since 1988 in the downtown section of Jersey City?.. the histroric ordinance as written and implemented I feel has impeded the down town real estate. Note Hoboken has long preceded Jersey City in restoration and real estate values without such an ordinance. In addition the last two transactions I did in the Historic District adversely effected the deal. So I would give no credit to the ordinance, and only credit to the market forces.

The ordinance needs to be changed.

Warren curtin



Posted on: 2005/12/29 12:31
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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This is the first time I came across this thread. I wish I did sooner. A copy of my letter along with the current ordinance and the proposed changes I will send to anyone interested. My e-mail address is wacurtin@aol.com?. In answer to some of the questions the community presidents of all the associations basically turned any changes down, and gave very little or no reason for their position except they represented it was their communities position. Van Vorst Park Association President Bill Donohue, Harsimus Cove President Valerio Luccio and Paulus Hook President Gerry Bakarty killed the proposed changes. Bill Donohoe claimed that a vote by Van Vorst Park Association rejected the attached changes. The three presidents were in full agreement that we are either not responsible enough or do not have sufficiently good taste and we need to be told every detail of the care, preservation and detailing of our homes. If you have done any renovations to your home you will understand how horrific the process is. The three presidents were in full support of Steve Gucciarrdo the Chairman of the Historic Commission. The problem with our ordinance it requires restoration not just preservation, and as Steve Gucciardo said last year at the Hamilton Park Association meeting cost is never a consideration in preservation. My railings to restore will run between 30 and 38K with three quotes. To restore the existing fence and add railings of the period it will run 7,500-. That is the difference. We are in a historic preservation district not a historic restoration. The changes as proposed will bring our ordinance in to line with the standards of the secretary of the interiors recommendations as well as the most prominent historic districts in the country. The manwho did the proposal for us, prepares such ordinances on a consulting basis for local governments, he has review the current ordinance and has made the appropriate recommendations. Before a position is taken a careful review of the current ordinance and the proposed changes should be done. In addition discuss the issue with neighbors that have had to go through the process.

I can be reached by e-mail at wacurtin@aol.com and would look forward to discussing the issue with anyone and forwarding to those interested the proposed changes.

Warren Curtin


Posted on: 2005/12/29 8:47
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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I can't speak for the other groups, but VVPA did poll its members, who were opposed to any such changes.

If you don't believe that community "heads" are important, then presumably you would agree that the HPNA board doesn't speak for anyone except themselves.

I have repeatedly said that this is a democracy, and Warren Curtin and anyone else can continue whatever quixotic campaigns they may wish to carry out, even after losing resoundingly. I do have a problem with the misinformation given out by the proponents of changing the ordinance, but I recognize that the appropriate way to counter that is with fact based replies.

The JCLC and other advocates for historic preservation would much rather focus our resources advocating for restoration and preservation of landmarks such as the Powerhouse, the Bergen Arches, the Sixth Street Embankment, Reservoir No. 3, the Loews Jersey, and similar landmarks. Of course, if we have to once again support the historic districts in the neighborhood, a battle that has been fought and won numerous times, then we will do so.

You are entitled to say whatever you want. But repeating the same incorrect point and shouting louder and louder isn't going to make your position any more persuasive.

Joshua Parkhurst
President
Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy

Posted on: 2005/12/28 19:46
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Quote:

JPhurst wrote:

Although I was not at the meeting, I have spoken with people who were. I have also reviewed correspondence from some of the neighborhood association heads who articulated their position. They opposed the changes because they all recognized that historic preservation is what saved downtown when Jersey City was going through urban decay, because it has led to remarkable increases in property values, and the proposed changes would have completely gutted the ordinance



This should be a community decision and not left up to a few community "heads" to decide or members of the commission. Let everyone in on it. What are you afraid of?

Posted on: 2005/12/28 19:18
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Quote:

wacurtin wrote:
This is the first time I came across this thread. I wish I did sooner.


Actually, you posted one of your "form posts" earlier. I believe the webmaster deleted your duplicate posts.

Quote:
In answer to some of the questions the community presidents of all the associations basically turned any changes down, and gave very little or no reason for their position except they represented it was their communities position.


Although I was not at the meeting, I have spoken with people who were. I have also reviewed correspondence from some of the neighborhood association heads who articulated their position. They opposed the changes because they all recognized that historic preservation is what saved downtown when Jersey City was going through urban decay, because it has led to remarkable increases in property values, and the proposed changes would have completely gutted the ordinance

Quote:
Van Vorst Park Association President Bill Donohue, Harsimus Cove President Valerio Luccio and Paulus Hook President Gerry Bakarty killed the proposed changes.


As Steve Fulop previously explained, the other neighborhood association heads and the three members of the historic preservation commission who attended all pointed out to Steve that the proposed changes would have led to the disasters that occurred during the Cucci administration. Steve agreed.

Quote:
The three presidents were in full agreement that we are either not responsible enough or do not have sufficiently good taste and we need to be told every detail of the care, preservation and detailing of our homes.


It has nothing to do with whether they or anyone else thinks you have "good taste." It has to do whether the guidelines in question meet time tested and proven standards that have worked on the federal, state and local level.

Quote:
If you have done any renovations to your home you will understand how horrific the process is.


I know plenty of people who have renovated their homes. I've had to go to Mr. Wrieden twice. Although people sometimes complain that the process is too long, they all agree that in the end they received helpful advice and that they would not have known how to have done the work in accordance with guidelines unless they had gone to the HPO.

Quote:
The three presidents were in full support of Steve Gucciarrdo the Chairman of the Historic Commission. The problem with our ordinance it requires restoration not just preservation, and as Steve Gucciardo said last year at the Hamilton Park Association meeting cost is never a consideration in preservation.


Existing features do not need to be restored. If you do choose to change something, however, then it must be within the guidelines.

Quote:
My railings to restore will run between 30 and 38K with three quotes. To restore the existing fence and add railings of the period it will run 7,500-. That is the difference. We are in a historic preservation district not a historic restoration.


This is really what this is all about, that Warren Curtin couldn't install the specific railing that he wants. So he has gone on a personal crusade to fire the entire HPC and change the law.

To review. You have the choice of either 1) an accurate restoration of the previous features, or 2) a modern railing that distinguishes itself from the original. What you cannot do is play "pretend" and install a railing that is "sort of like" what may have been on another house. No one is requiring you to spend $30,000+ dollars. Nor is anyone requiring you to "restore" the railing unless you choose to do so. You can repair or replace the railing with modern features, you just can't create theme park history.

Quote:
The changes as proposed will bring our ordinance in to line with the standards of the secretary of the interiors recommendations as well as the most prominent historic districts in the country.

Tom Gibbons who prepares such ordinances on a consulting basis for local governments has review the current ordinance and has made the appropriate recommendations.


Jersey City is already in line with historic gudelines, and your October proposals would have completely gutted the ordinance. Unless Mr. Gibbons has completely overhauled your prior recommendations, then they are not in compliance.

Quote:
Before a position is taken a careful review of the current ordinance and the proposed changes should be done. In addition discuss the issue with neighbors that have had to go through the process.


This was all done, and everyone except you agreed that the guidelines should remain as is, or even be strengthened.

Joshua Parkhurst
President
Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy

Posted on: 2005/12/28 16:26
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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This is the first time I came across this thread. I wish I did sooner. A copy of my letter along with the current ordinance and the proposed changes I will send to anyone interested. My e-mail address is wacurtin@aol.com?. In answer to some of the questions the community presidents of all the associations basically turned any changes down, and gave very little or no reason for their position except they represented it was their communities position. Van Vorst Park Association President Bill Donohue, Harsimus Cove President Valerio Luccio and Paulus Hook President Gerry Bakarty killed the proposed changes. Bill Donohoe claimed that a vote by Van Vorst Park Association rejected the attached changes. The three presidents were in full agreement that we are either not responsible enough or do not have sufficiently good taste and we need to be told every detail of the care, preservation and detailing of our homes. If you have done any renovations to your home you will understand how horrific the process is. The three presidents were in full support of Steve Gucciarrdo the Chairman of the Historic Commission. The problem with our ordinance it requires restoration not just preservation, and as Steve Gucciardo said last year at the Hamilton Park Association meeting cost is never a consideration in preservation. My railings to restore will run between 30 and 38K with three quotes. To restore the existing fence and add railings of the period it will run 7,500-. That is the difference. We are in a historic preservation district not a historic restoration. The changes as proposed will bring our ordinance in to line with the standards of the secretary of the interiors recommendations as well as the most prominent historic districts in the country. Tom Gibbons who prepares such ordinances on a consulting basis for local governments has review the current ordinance and has made the appropriate recommendations. Before a position is taken a careful review of the current ordinance and the proposed changes should be done. In addition discuss the issue with neighbors that have had to go through the process.

I can be reached by e-mail at wacurtin@aol.com and would look forward to discussing the issue with anyone and forwarding to those interested the proposed changes.

Warren Curtin


Posted on: 2005/12/28 15:47
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Nothing in the guidelines requires that you use Marvin windows. Marvin windows are often recommended simply because they know how to do the job. On top of that, the contractor I had from Marvin knew exactly how to describe the scope of work and what designs to recommend that met the guidelines, so it made my application to the Historic Preservation Officer that much easier. That being said, you can use any other brand of window that meets the guidelines.

The proposed revisions to the ordinance would have treated painting as "routine maintenance" that would have been exempted from approval. In the past, we've had people who wanted to paint their houses red, white, and blue. In any event, it is my understanding that the HPO is not nearly as strict on colors as he has been made out to be. In fact, in the article which outlines Mr. Curtin's purported ordeal, it was clear that he was ultimately allowed flexibility in colors.

Regarding informing potential purchasers, I think this was a good idea. At one point, former Assemblywoman Elba Perez-Cinciarelli has sponsored a bill that would require such disclosure at the time of purchase. VVPA has advocated this for quite some time. Unfortunately the bill didn't go anywhere.

As for a "sub committee" of residents "not affiliated with either side," I'm not sure what this means. The proponents of changing the guidelines had their opportunity to present their case to councilman Fulop, to the three other neighborhood associations, and to three commisioners on the HPC. EVERYONE was opposed.

I suppose you can find someone who is willing to support some of the changes and then call that person a "neutral." But I don't see the opponents of the changes as being on a "side" that needs to be mediated. They are property owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, and they have overwhelmingly come to the conclusion that the guidelines should not be weakened.

Joshua Parkhurst
President
Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy

Posted on: 2005/12/15 22:43
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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The all or nothing approach to dealing with this issue isn?t working. It would be nice to have it examined more carefully and perhaps a sub-committee of residents not affiliated with either side could also play a role this time.

There are colors suited for a historic district and as a homeowner, I expect to be given more choices then just brown. I also expect to be able to choose the brand of my windows. Marvin makes a great window but they?re very expensive. There are other wood window options and this choice should be left up to the homeowner.

In other historic districts, if you are replacing a window that is not bigger or smaller but is the same size, then you don?t need special approval or even a permit. They allow both wood and vinyl and give you a choice in color.

If you?re going to start informing people who are interested in purchasing homes in the historic district here in Jersey City, then by all means, tell them the truth. Tell them that even if they have vinyl windows now that once they?re ready to replace them that they?ll be forced to install wood windows, that the brand of the window will have to be Marvin and that you won?t be allowed to select the color of paint. Because these were the complaints coming out of Hamilton Park last year.





Posted on: 2005/12/15 21:31
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Because I had not seen the actual guidelines, as opposed to summaries (since the Conservancy was never asked for input by the proponents of change), I withheld opinion. In any event, Dan L. was doing a fine job defending the current ordinance.

Having had a chance to review the proposal, I can say that the summaries understate the impact that these changes would have had. The proposed changes would have gutted the guidelines, creating loopholes one could drive a truck through.

Joshua Parkhurst
President
Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy

Posted on: 2005/12/15 3:14
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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This really should be a different thread - what Brewster describes and the images linked to is NOT Historic Preservation and neither are faux or generic period elements.

The building design in the link could be sited anywhere, but certainly not appropriate and nothing like it was ever located in what is now the Hamilton Park Historic District. Are original drawings still available to view online?

There are many ways to have contemporary/modern archecture "fit" in or be compatiable with historic areas and fabric - proportion, bulk, density, volume, materials, carrying through horizontal and vertical lines, evoking styles and form etc. An architect could do a much better job articulating this than I can as I certainly am not implying that a glass sheathed bulding is appropriate. A good example is Bell Fuse in Paulus Hook.

I did see on the watch dog website - www.25mc.org the following-

"The architecture will complement the historic district and possess aesthetic integrity."

What Brewster describes sounds like the medicore at best infill architecture that has been built in the downtown historic districts. While barely complementing the historic district, they certainly do not "possess aesthetic integrity."

As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe it comes down to education and if the city cannot do it, possibly the neighborhood association(s) could coordinate something with the Landmarks Conservancy and bring in an outside expert skilled in community education.


Posted on: 2005/12/10 16:07
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Dan,

I guess we in HP are just not true believers in the Historic Purity Ideal. When the Silverman Bros presented us with their first designs for the St Frances site which were explicitly designed NOT to look faux victorian, in accordance with your philosophy, the concensus of the HPNA attendees was we preferred a faked historic look. The next design they brought http://jclist.com/modules/newbb/viewt ... 0&forum=11#forumpost36839, combining elements of classic prewar apartments buildings with mansard roofs and other period features, elicited general praise from the crowd. Basically, it seems we would rather things fit in than be authentic. We would prefer a inauthentic period fence to a rusty chain link one, or even a pristine but modern looking one. It's the latter that would have visitors to our neighborhood saying "what were they thinking?!!"

Your attitude reminds me of the people admonished on Antiques Roadshow for having reupholstered the shredded covering on an 18th century chair. It may have been more valuable intact but they loved it and wanted to live with it in their dining room, as we want to live in our historic neighborhood, rather than just relish the "Historically Pure" elements.


Quote:

DanL wrote:
The example sited hightlights the education and communication problems.

Using a period fence is not appropriate (especially in this instance) and blurs history.

This building is adjacent to 5 or 6 other homes with the exact same original fence and across the street from 6 more homes with the same original fence. A period, but not original design fence would compromise the historic integrity of the block. This becomes the Disney version of history.

However, the homeowner is not forced to spend money to replicate the original fence, he can replace the chain link fence with something that is contempory, but clearly delineates that it was not the original fence.

Posted on: 2005/12/8 17:52
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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The example sited hightlights the education and communication problems.

Using a period fence is not appropriate (especially in this instance) and blurs history.

This building is adjacent to 5 or 6 other homes with the exact same original fence and across the street from 6 more homes with the same original fence. A period, but not original design fence would compromise the historic integrity of the block. This becomes the Disney version of history.

However, the homeowner is not forced to spend money to replicate the original fence, he can replace the chain link fence with something that is contempory, but clearly delineates that it was not the original fence.

At the point that I heard the example cited in Brewster's post, the homeowner had not taken any application to the Historic Commission and had only seeked or explored a Certificate of No Effect from the Historic Preservation Officer.

The regulations are part of zoning and property owners both within and outside historic districts are subject to zoning regulations and restrictions.





Quote:

brewster wrote:
While I don't have a dog in this fight, as I live some 40 feet outside the district, I have heard some of the arguments and much of it sounds reasonable. On the other hand what sounds unreasonable is being told the only way to replace an ugly rusting chain link fence is to convince your neighbor to "loan" you a section of his fragile old cast iron fence and spend $40k having a custom mold and fence sections cast from it , when perfectly attractive period looking iron fence can be had at a fraction of that price. But the commission said since an old photograph exists showing that pattern fence, that was what he had to do. There were lots more crazy stories, but that one I remembered clearly for being over the top....................

Posted on: 2005/12/8 13:49
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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While I don't have a dog in this fight, as I live some 40 feet outside the district, I have heard some of the arguments and much of it sounds reasonable. On the other hand what sounds unreasonable is being told the only way to replace an ugly rusting chain link fence is to convince your neighbor to "loan" you a section of his fragile old cast iron fence and spend $40k having a custom mold and fence sections cast from it , when perfectly attractive period looking iron fence can be had at a fraction of that price. But the commission said since an old photograph exists showing that pattern fence, that was what he had to do. There were lots more crazy stories, but that one I remembered clearly for being over the top.

Here's an excerpt from a recent document from the HPNA committee, it's hardly a repeal of the historic zone, despite the hearsay. I will say that in my opinion Warren and colleagues should have raised some more public support from other districts before presenting their case.

Excerpt from HPNA Historic Preservation FACT Sheet:

What has HPNA recommended?

Based on the past year of review and meetings, the HPNA provided the following recommended changes to the Historic Commission:

? Historic Paint Colors

HPNA recommended that homeowners be allowed to choose paint colors from historic color charts as opposed to having the color dictated by the HPO.

? Routine Maintenance and Repair

HPNA recommended that historic review not be required for projects that meet the definition of routine maintenance and repair. Since maintenance and repair projects do not alter historic features, such projects have no historic effect and should be allowed to proceed without historic review.



? Existing Conditions

HPNA recommended that homeowners be allowed to repair and maintain existing conditions that are not historic. Homeowners should not be required to correct existing conditions in order to obtain a Certificate of No Effect. Allowing these conditions to continue does not have historic impact.

? Missing Historic Features

The Design Standard currently allows existing exterior features to be replaced with a "style and finish of the period." Yet, the standard for missing features requires the "accurate duplication of features." HPNA recommended that the design standard be modified to allow the replacement of missing features with a style and finish of the period instead of accurate duplications.

? Financial Incentives

HPNA recommended that the City provide financial assistance and incentives for restoration efforts. Many historic ordinances have provisions to freeze property taxes, and provide low-interest loans or grants for homeowners who undertake costly restoration projects.

What are the benefits of these changes?

The proposed changes would strengthen historic preservation in Jersey City by:

o Addressing and correcting homeowner confusion and frustration;

o Expediting the maintenance and repair of historic properties;

o Reducing the cost of replacing missing architectural features; and

o Encouraging restoration through financial incentives including tax abatements, low-interest loans, and grants.

Posted on: 2005/12/8 4:18
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Quote:

DanL wrote:
I say nay to changes in the ordinance!

....
Unfortunately, many people do not "discover" that they live in a historic district and its requirements until they begin to do some exterior work. There is no information on the municipal website, there is insufficient municipal staffing and a general lack of understanding.

....

Laughing out loud. Do you REALLY think Mr. Curtin did not know he was moving into a historic district? Please. That is just not credible.

But, I agree with you. The regs should not be changed. All of this nonsense is just part of a long running feud between Curtin and "you know who" in Historic Preservation.

Steve Fulop, and the other neighborhood associations rightly reject this attempt at putting lipstick on a pig.

--Warren -- time to move on buddy. Live and let live. Reconciliation in this holiday season. But Nooooo, you just gotta twist the knife in again, huh?

Way to go bucko!

-M



Posted on: 2005/12/7 23:17
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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I say nay to changes in the ordinance!

While I have not seen the final proposed changes, I have seen an earlier draft, observed an HPNA meeting on this subject, heard many of the HP complaints and heard many of the arguements including a few conversations with Mr. Curtin.

The problems appear to me to be education (lack of understanding requirements/procedures) and people (communication) related and not with the ordinance.

Unfortunately, many people do not "discover" that they live in a historic district and its requirements until they begin to do some exterior work. There is no information on the municipal website, there is insufficient municipal staffing and a general lack of understanding.

Some ideas-

1) Require that realtors disclose that a property is in a historic district in its listing.

2) Require the designation is on municipal tax bills.

3) Require an annual seminar or town meeting on historic district requirements and responsibilities (this could be done by DCNA or a neighborhood association). The Historic Preservation Officer has been a guest at HCA meetings to describe the process and answer questions; there were no complaints from members or residents.

4) The City Planning Department needs more staffing. I believe that it was reported that the Historic Preservation Officer heard in excess of 300 application in 2004, no wonder some have complained he can be hard to reach.

Yes, we can grumble about additional time, effort and cost involved, but as Council President Vega explained during the Warehouse Historic Designation votes, the highest per square foot prices in the city are not on the waterfront, but in the historic districts. The ordinance also protects you from your neighbor doing something that could compromise your property, block or district.

Lets not change or weaken what has worked, but improve the process to work with the existing ordinance.

Daniel Levin
3rd St.

Posted on: 2005/12/7 23:12
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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My apologies. Steve was in fact correct. According to the letter, 3 association presidents (VVP, HC and PH) killed the proposed changes, and VVP Pres. Bill Donohue "claimed that a vote by Van Vorst Park Association rejected the attached changes."

I just re-read the letter and noted that Warren is urging the recipients to pass it on to friends and neighbors, so I am posting his letter here, hopefully without any objection from him. The proposed edits were also attached to the email I received, however, this is a 21-page .pdf file and I don't think it would be appropriate to post that here. If anyone else wishes to see the proposal, I recommend that you contact Warren directly at wacurtin@aol.com.

On a side note, I, too, agree with Warren's proposed edits to the Ordinance. Could someone from the VVP association confirm that there was in fact a vote on this proposal? I live in VVP and do not remember seeing any meeting announcements with this particular item on the agenda.


Quote:


Warren G. Curtin
[Address removed]

Dear Neighbor,

For the past two years, I have worked to amend the Historic Preservation Ordinance. The changes proposed would bring our ordinance into line with the standards of the Secretary of the Interior?s guidelines for such a district. That would allow us choices in a wide range of areas that do not affect the historic nature of our district, and would eliminate the subjective and arbitrary way it exists today. I have attached the current ordinance along with the proposed changes.

The presidents of the neighborhood associations and a subcommittee of the Historic Commission met with Councilman Fulop. Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association President Sam Stoia has worked for the past year to have the current ordinance revised. Van Vorst Park Association President Bill Donohue, Harsimus Cove President Valerio Luccio and Paulus Hook President Gerry Bakarty killed the proposed changes. Bill Donohoe claimed that a vote by Van Vorst Park Association rejected the attached changes. The three presidents were in full agreement that we are either not responsible enough or do not have sufficiently good taste and we need to be told every detail of the care, preservation and detailing of our homes. If you have done any renovations to your home you will understand how horrific the process is.

I was so taken aback after the meeting that I could not sleep and wrote an e-mail to councilman Fulop for his position in regard to the proposed legislation. My e-mail and his response are attached. It seems the legislation, for now, is going nowhere.

I have trouble believing that mature, well educated adults in this democratic community would voluntarily surrender their decision-making to the Historic Preservation Officer and the Commission. To me, the current system is demeaning and degrading, especially when the city?s qualifications for the position of Historic Preservation Officer are, as Bob Cotter advised me, simply that the individual meet the minimum civil service requirement. I feel we deserve much more as we make substantial financial investments, doing our best to upgrade our homes while preserving the historic character of our neighborhoods.

If you want a change, we can do it but I need your help . . . and it?s very easy.

1. Review the changes and the attached e-mail, then respond to the councilman by phone (201)547-5204 and then by e-mail fulops@jcnj.org. Advise him that you have reviewed the changes, state your position and include which community you live in.
2. Keep this letter going, pass it on to your friends and neighbors, and have them pass it on again. Voice your opinion to your community groups and have their members contact the councilman to support the legislation and see if the individuals suppressing this proposal really represent their community?s point of view.
3. If you send me your e-mail address I will keep you informed, or better yet, come to the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association meeting on Wednesday at 7:30 pm at Corador School on Erie Street between Pavonia and 9th Streets and voice your opinion.

As individuals we can make a change for our own homes and not give over to a commission or the Historic Preservation Officer all our property rights. If you wish to discuss the proposed changes I can be reached at my e-mail wacurtin@aol.com.

Very truly yours




Warren Curtin

Posted on: 2005/12/7 20:59
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Steve is correct. Van Vorst, Harsimus Cove and Paulus Hook association presidents were ALL against changes to the ordinance. While I could understand them not agreeing to all of the proposed changes, the fact is that they didn't agree to any of them. Nadda.

Having been through the "black headache" experience, I find it terribly hard to believe that only residents in Hamilton Park were having problems, and meanwhile, residents in other downtown neighborhoods were "praising the system".

I suppose there is only one way to find out if residents in the other neighborhoods had any problems...... to ask!

I agree with Curtin... the guidelines are nebulous.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?ne ... =461&dept_id=523586&rfi=6


Posted on: 2005/12/7 19:52
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Wait a second. jc_insomniac references the letter saying only VVP dissented, and Steven Fulop (who was at this meeting) says everyone dissented EXCEPT HPNA and FofHP. Which was it? Am I missing something?

Posted on: 2005/12/7 18:42
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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You guys got a problem with Warren tryin' to regulate?

Posted on: 2005/12/7 18:08
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Thank you for your quick and succinct reply to my question.

Posted on: 2005/12/7 14:39
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Unfortunately, I have not been privileged to the letter as of yet but I have been told the gist of it. I can anticipate where this conversation may head without all the background so in the interest of avoiding this issue being spun I would like to clarify where we are up to this point.

Warren Curtin and some on the HPNA board have had a difficult time with the parameters set by the ordinances that govern historic districts. At the time this was brought to my attention, I said that I was not averse to changing the ordinance if it was something that was supported by all the historic communities downtown (I thought a fairly reasonable approach as they would be impacted the most). Subsequently, I set up a meeting in city hall that included me, the Presidents of Harsimus Cove, Van Vorst, Paulus Hook, Hamilton Park, FofHP, and three members of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) - Yost, Gucciardo, Russell.

The end result was that the HPC, and each of the community group presidents with the exception of Hamilton Park and FofHP were adamantly opposed to changing the ordinances as suggested. The rationale to this decision is that the ordinances have been crucial in creating the fabric of the community downtown. It was pointed out with pictures of developments downtown (including one on the western side of Paulus Hook) that were built during the Cucci administration when he loosened the Historic Preservation Ordinances. These are tangible strong examples of the development risk that has happened in the past when these ordinances were loosened. All agreed that while we are certain that the individuals who support the changes to the ordinance at the aforementioned meeting have Jersey City?s best interest at heart and would develop their properties consistent with a historic district, by changing the ordinance loop holes would be opened for developers who don?t care about the best interest of Jersey City. There is clearly a risk and history to show this as a possibility.

Hope that is helpful as background

Steven Fulop
Councilman Ward E

Posted on: 2005/12/7 14:13
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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I know a lot about it, because I was at that meeting. Of course, the HPNA fail to mention that part.

I saw the newsletter, but I didn't receive the attached letter from Warren. Can somebody post it here!

I also noticed that at the wee bottom of the newsletter, that it mentions a dirty little thing called NOMINATIONS!

Posted on: 2005/12/7 2:15
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Re: What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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I received this letter as well. It's about the ongoing dispute between downtown homeowners and the historic preservation.

The letter didn't really provide details on that vote that took place, and the reason(s) why, of all the neighborhood associations, only VVP voted against the proposed amendments to the ordinance.

If anyone is interested in seeing the letter, PM me.

Posted on: 2005/12/7 0:16
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What's this letter from Warren G. Curtin about?
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Why was a letter from Warren G. Curtin, attached to the agenda of the HPNA, left in my mailbox? Who has the background on this? It doesn;t sound pretty.

And just out of curiosity should material not delivered by the mailman be put in a mailbox? (a pet peeve of mine)

Posted on: 2005/12/6 23:43
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