It is widely believed that placing a historic structure on the State and National Registers of Historic Places is the only way that the structure can be protected from demolition, from moving it to another site or from inappropriate exterior alterations or renovations. That is not true. The only way such protection can be accomplished is for the local municipality to designate the building as a Historic Landmark. The primary purpose of the Montvale Historic Preservation Commission is to identify structures or properties that are worthy of preservation and protection and then to arrange for said structures or properties to be designated as Historic Landmarks. A secondary purpose is to review all plans for demolition and relocation and all plans for exterior maintenance, alteration and renovation of designated Historic Landmarks.
The Historic Preservation Commission is comprised of five regular members and two alternate members, all of whom are appointed by the Mayor. One of the regular members (Class A) must be knowledgeable in building design and construction or in architectural history, and another member (Class B) must be knowledgeable of, or have a demonstrated interest in, local history. Both of these members may reside outside the Borough. However, the other three regular members (Class C) and the two alternate members must be residents of the Borough.
The Commission's current members have experience in the fields of architecture, building construction, historic building rehabilitation and historic research. Thus, they are able to provide guidance to owners of designated landmarks in maintaining the historical and architectural integrity of their structures and in the selection of building materials and components.
While it is not necessary, it is customary for the Commission to obtain the consent of the owner before moving forward with a recommendation for designation. The designation process is as follows:
- Commission identifies a property worthy of designation and prepares a written justification.
- Commission recommends designation of the property to the Planning Board.
- Planning Board conducts a Public Hearing, giving all interested parties a chance to comment on the proposed designation.
- Planning Board deliberates on recommended designation. If the Commission's recommendation is approved and the property has been listed in the Historic Preservation Element of the Borough's Master Plan, the Planning Board forwards the recommendation to the Mayor and Council.
- Mayor and Council conducts a Public Hearing, giving all interested parties a chance to comment on the proposed designation.
- Mayor and Council deliberates. If approved, an Ordinance of Designation is adopted, and a bronze plaque is erected at the site.
Borough of Montvale Centennial Journal
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