Glen Ridge has an interesting architectural heritage, which includes the highest concentration of pre-war (WWII) homes in the State of New Jersey. Towards that, over 80% percent of the homes in the borough are located in the historic district. Most of the citizens of Glen Ridge share a common commitment to the protection of our unique architectural heritage. The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) members own homes in the historic district themselves, and we know from personal experience how challenging it can be sometimes to fit a 21st century family's needs into an "older" home, while acting responsibly as history's caretakers and also, not incidentally, keeping within a realistic budget. The HPC is here to help you strike the right balance, and its members (which include three architects and a builder) are committed to making the review process as helpful as possible. In return, we ask that you "think historic," being sensitive to what the original architect of your home may have proposed for your 21st century project. Please leave enough time for us to review your project before you are ready to begin work, and that you give us enough information so that we can be helpful in a timely manner. It is to that end that, with the support of the Community Affairs Committee of the Borough Council and Mayor, we distribute this summary of the review process from time to time.
We encourage you to attend one of our monthly meetings, just to see how we function. For most projects, you should seek our informal advice well before you make a formal application as this could potentially save you time and expense. For large projects, we strongly suggest that applicants retain an architect to facilitate the HPC review process.
The following is a brief summary of how the Borough's historic preservation review process works, and please contact any one of us whenever you have questions.
The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), established by municipal ordinance in 1987, is charged with conserving, protecting, enhancing and perpetuating the landmarks, properties and improvements within the Glen Ridge Historic District. This District, comprising over 80 percent of Glen Ridge, runs roughly from Dodd Street in the north to Carteret Street in the South.
By ordinance, all exterior changes which can be seen from any street (regardless of existing or future trees, shrubs, or other landscaping) to the houses and properties in the Historic District are subject to review by the HPC before a Building Permit for such changes is issued. The Commission strives to assist owners in planning renovations or remodeling to meet the historic preservation criteria and standards. HPC meetings are held monthly in the Council Chambers at Borough Hall, and, by law, are open to the public.
An applicant for a Building Permit for any work fitting the above criteria (also, see "EXCEPTIONS" below) will be required first to file an application for the HPC, and to appear personally before the Commission with the builder, contractor or architect before the HPC at their monthly meeting (usually the first Wednesday of each month). Applications must be accompanied by photographs of the property as it exists, sketches to scale, working drawings, or architectural elevations of the proposed work, and samples of materials, where appropriate. In reviewing applications, the Commission considers the visual compatibility of the proposed alteration with the structure, its history, and its surroundings.
The following are some of the actions which require the approval of the Historic Preservation Commission before a Building Permit can be issued:
- Application of new roofing or siding if using a material other than that presently on a structure
- Alteration of structures such as the house or garage, or of some portion of a structure, e.g., porches, decks, or new additions
- Moving, adding or removing windows or doors
- Changing or covering any portion of the exterior, e.g., with vinyl or aluminum
- Demolition or removal of any exterior structure
- Building any new structure
- The Commission does not oppose changes, but seeks to ensure that any changes do not detract from the historic character of the Historic District.
EXCEPTIONS: The HPC does not review paint or roof color, or roof materials if they are the same as the existing materials. Window and door replacement, if there is no alteration of the original opening or material, do not require HPC approval, although the Commission welcomes applicants wishing to consult them.
The Building Department of the Borough of Glen Ridge can provide further specific information. Call 973-748-8444 and ask for the Construction Code Official. Also, any of the HPC members (below) will be happy to answer any questions. If in doubt, ask!
Daniel T. Murphy
Sarah Githens (Alt. #1)
Kathryn Schackner (Alt. #2)
Historic District Map
Historic Preservation Commission Application
Historic Preservation Commission Meeting Minutes