Union City, NJ
Hudson County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City 1-7-1997 as Ch. XXIII of the 1996 Revised General Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Historic Preservation Advisory Commission — See Ch. 4, § 4-92.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADDITION
The construction of new improvement as part of an existing improvement when such new improvement changes the exterior appearance of any landmark.
ALTERATION
Any work done on any improvement which:
A. 
Is not an addition to the improvement.
B. 
Changes the appearance of the exterior surface of any improvement.
DEMOLITION
The razing of any improvement or the obliteration of any natural feature of a landmark.
A. 
A definable group of Tax Map lots, the improvements on which when viewed collectively:
(1) 
Have a unique character resulting from their architectural style;
(2) 
Represent a significant period in the architectural and social history of the City; and
(3) 
Because of their unique character can readily be viewed as an area or neighborhood distinct from surrounding portions of the City.
B. 
Except as otherwise stated, all reference to "landmarks" in this chapter shall be deemed to include Historic Districts as well.
A. 
Any real property such as a building, structure, ruins, foundation, route, trail, place, including but not limited to a cave, cemetery, burial ground, camp or village area, or a natural configuration, geological formation or feature which:
(1) 
Is of particular historic, cultural, scenic or aesthetic significance of the City and in which the broad cultural, political, economic or social history of the nation, state or community is reflected or exemplified; or
(2) 
Is identified with historic personages or with important events in the main current of national, state or local history; or
(3) 
Shows evidence of habitation, activity or the culture of prehistoric man; or
(4) 
Embodies a distinguishing characteristic or an architectural type valuable as representative of a period, style or method of construction; or
(5) 
Represents a work of a builder, designer, artist, or architect whose individual genius influenced his age; or
(6) 
Is imbued with traditional or legendary lore.
B. 
All landmarks shall specifically be identified within the community facilities plan element of the Master Plan as recognized by the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28(b)(6).
C. 
The designation of a landmark shall be deemed to include the Tax Map lot on which it is located.
IMPROVEMENT
Any structure or part thereof constructed or installed upon real property by human endeavor and intended to be kept at the location of such construction or installation for a period of not less than 60 contiguous days.
REPAIR
Any work done on any improvement which:
A. 
Is not an addition to the improvement.
B. 
Does not change the appearance of the exterior surface of any improvement.
REPLACEMENT
Repairs when a building permit is required for same.
STRUCTURE
Any improvement, including but not limited to all buildings.
A. 
Creation. There is hereby created in and for the City a commission to be known as the "Landmarks Commission of the City of Union City."
B. 
Membership; appointment; terms.
(1) 
The Committee shall be comprised of not fewer than seven nor more than nine members, all of whom shall be citizens and residents of the City of Union City serving without pay. The membership shall consist of the Construction Official or his designee, a member of the Board of Education and such other citizens as are appointed by the Board of Commissioners.
[Amended 3-21-2006]
(2) 
Members shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners and serve for three-year terms, except that City officials shall serve during their incumbency in City office.
(3) 
Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner in which the previous incumbent was appointed, and such vacancy appointment shall be only for the balance of the incumbent's unexpired term.
C. 
Organization and rules for procedure.
(1) 
The Commission shall elect from its membership a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson.
(2) 
The Commission shall create rules and procedures for the transaction of its business subject to the following regulations:
(a) 
A quorum for the transaction of business shall consist of four of the Commission's members including the Chairperson, or in his/her absence, the Vice Chairperson, but not less than a majority of the full authorized membership may grant or deny a certificate of appropriateness.
(b) 
The Commission shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the Commission. The secretary shall keep minutes and records of all meetings and proceedings, including voting records, attendance, resolutions, findings, determinations and decisions. All such material shall be public record.
(c) 
All meetings shall comply with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7 et seq.
(3) 
The Commission members shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of official business.
(4) 
Within the limits of funds appropriated for the performance of its work, grants and gifts, the Commission may obtain the services of qualified persons to direct, advise and assist the Commission and may obtain the equipment, supplies and other material necessary to its effective operation.
D. 
Powers and duties. The Commission shall:
(1) 
Within six months of its organization prepare and adopt, pursuant to § 214-4A below, a landmark designation list and official map which shall then be referred to the Board of Commissioners for adoption by ordinance.
(2) 
Hear and decide applications for certificates of appropriateness, pursuant to § 214-5.
(3) 
Amend, from time to time, as circumstances warrant, the landmark designation list and landmark map in the manner set forth in § 214-4A herein.
(4) 
Report at least annually to the Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners on the state of historic preservation in the City and to recommend measures to improve same.
(5) 
Collect and disseminate material on the importance of historic preservation and techniques for achieving same.
(6) 
Advise all City agencies regarding goals and techniques of historic preservation.
(7) 
Adopt and promulgate such regulations and procedures not inconsistent with this chapter as are necessary and proper for the effective and efficient performance of the duties herein assigned.
(8) 
Preparation of a survey of historical artifacts in all public buildings.
[Added 3-21-2006]
(9) 
Recommend rules and regulations to the Board of Commissioners to protect historical artifacts from being destroyed, removed or taken from any public building approved for construction, reconstruction or demolition.
[Added 3-21-2006]
A. 
In adopting this chapter it is the intention of the Board of Commissioners to create an agency which can administer a system of preservation regulations, based on a rational plan and objective criteria, which will complement existing land use and construction code legislation. The controls herein established, while compatible with N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28(b)(6) and Section 317 of the BOCA Code, should be viewed as having an independent basis under N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.
B. 
This chapter should not be viewed as requiring or prohibiting the use of any particular architectural style. Rather, the purpose is to preserve the past by making it compatible with and relevant to the present. To that end, new construction in or near a landmark should not necessarily duplicate the style of the landmark; it should simply be compatible with and not detract from the landmark.
A. 
Survey. The Commission shall make a comprehensive survey of the City for the purpose of identifying Historic Districts and landmarks which are worthy of protection and preservation.
B. 
Designation of landmarks; notice to owners. Based on the survey or upon the recommendation of concerned citizens, the Commission shall document the importance and historical significance to the City, state or nation of each landmark designation in terms of the purposes and criteria set forth in this chapter. Thereafter, the Commission, by certified mail, shall:
(1) 
Notify each owner that his property has been tentatively designated an historic landmark.
(2) 
Advise each owner of the significance and consequences of such tentative designation, and advise him/her of his/her opportunities and rights to challenge or contest such designation.
(3) 
Invite each owner to consent voluntarily to final designation without the need for public hearing or other procedure.
C. 
Public hearings.
(1) 
The Commission shall, as soon as practicable, make public a complete list and map of the tentatively designated landmarks and districts specifying the locations, boundaries and popular names thereof. In designating any landmark or Historic district the Commission may exempt any improvement or any portion of any Tax Map lot the demolition or alteration or improving of which would not affect the landmark or district as to the purposes and criteria set forth in this chapter. Such exemption shall only be for good cause shown and upon affirmative vote of 2/3 of the full authorized membership of the Commission, The tentative list and map shall thereafter be submitted at a public hearing to the examination and criticism of the public. Interested persons shall be entitled to present their opinions, suggestions and objections at this public hearing. A list and map showing all proposed Historic districts and landmarks shall be published, together with notice of the hearing on same, in the official newspaper not less than 10 days before such hearing is to be held.
(2) 
After full consideration of the evidence brought forth at the special hearing, the Commission shall make its final decisions on the designations and shall issue its final report to the public stating reasons in support of its actions with respect to each landmark and Historic District designation.
D. 
Adoption of list.
(1) 
The list shall be submitted thereafter to the Clerk. The Board of Commissioners shall then consider whether to adopt the designation list and map by ordinance. Once adopted, the designation list and map may be amended in the same manner in which it was adopted.
(2) 
Copies of the designation list and official map as adopted shall be made public and distributed to all municipal agencies reviewing development applications and all building and housing permits. A certificate of designation shall be served by certified mail upon the owner of each site included in the final list, and a true copy thereof shall be filed with the County Clerk for recordation in the same manner as certificates of lien upon real property.
E. 
Plaques. Each designated Historic District or landmark may be marked by an appropriate plaque, in such form as the Commission shall promulgate by regulation.
A. 
Certificates of appropriateness. A certificate of appropriateness issued by the Landmarks Commission shall be required before a permit can be issued or, in the event no other type of permit is otherwise required, before any of the following work can commence on the property of any landmark or within any Historic District:
(1) 
Demolition of a historic landmark or of any improvement within any Historic District.
(2) 
Relocation of any historic landmark or of any improvement within any Historic District.
(3) 
Change in the exterior appearance of any existing landmark or of any improvement within any Historic District by addition, alteration or replacement.
(4) 
Any new construction of a principal or accessory structure.
(5) 
Changes in or addition of new signs or exterior lighting, except that no certificate of appropriateness shall be required for one unlit sign per premises if the surface area of such sign does not exceed one square foot.
B. 
Exceptions. A certificate of appropriateness shall not be required for any repainting, repair or exact replacement of any existing improvement. In the event that the color or exterior surface material of the improvement is changed as a result of such repainting, repair or exact replacement, a certificate of appropriateness shall not be required of the new color or exterior surface is one that has been previously approved by regulations duly promulgated by the Commission for similar improvement in that district or as to that landmark. In the event that the repainting, repair or exact replacement does not conform to the regulations, a certificate of appropriateness shall be required.
C. 
Applications for certificates.
(1) 
Application for a certificate of appropriateness shall be made on forms available therefor from the secretary of the Landmarks Commission. Completed applications shall be delivered to: Landmarks Commission, City of Union City, City Clerk's Office, 3715 Palisade Avenue, Union City, NJ 07087.
(2) 
Applications shall include the following:
(a) 
All forms shall be completed by the applicant.
(b) 
A certificate that all property owners within 200 feet of the lot lines of the landmark property have been sent certified mail notice of the application not less than 10 days before the hearing.
(c) 
Proof of publication of a notice of the application in the official newspaper not less than 10 days prior to the hearing.
(d) 
The following exhibits:
[1] 
An overall site plan layout, at a minimum scale of one inch equals 20 feet, showing the location of all adjacent properties.
[2] 
Sufficient color photographs of all adjacent properties and buildings within a minimum of 60 feet of the landmark property lines. Each photograph shall be properly identified and referenced on the site plan.
[3] 
Elevation drawings may be optional at the Commission's request. All building elevations required shall be at a minimum scale of 1/8 inch equals one foot.
(3) 
The Landmarks Commission shall reach a decision on the application within 21 days after the secretary has declared an application to be complete; otherwise the application shall be deemed to have been approved. Nothing herein shall prohibit an extension of time by mutual agreement of the applicant and the Landmarks Commission. The Landmarks Commission may advise the applicant and make recommendations in regard to the appropriateness of proposed action, and may grant approval upon such conditions as it deems appropriate within the intent and purposes of this chapter. If an application is approved, the Landmarks Commission shall forthwith issue a certificate of appropriateness. If the Landmarks Commission disapproves an application, the Commission shall state its reasons, in writing, in resolution form, within 10 days of such decision. In case of disapproval, the Landmarks Commission shall notify the applicant, in writing, of such resolution of disapproval and provide the applicant with a certified copy thereof. A summary of the Commission's action shall be published in the official newspaper.
(4) 
In the event that an applicant alleges that compliance with the requirements of this section would be an unreasonable hardship and that the nature of his application is such that the minor change sought neither justifies the time and expense of the plenary proceeding nor will impact negatively on the public good nor specifically on the historic qualities sought to be preserved. The Commission, by a two-thirds affirmative vote of its full authorized membership, may grant such relief from the requirements of this section as it deems consistent with the public good and the purposes of this chapter.
(5) 
An applicant may allege that a certificate of appropriateness should be granted without his/her fulfilling all of the application requirements set forth herein because the addition or alteration contemplated will not be visible from any place to which the public normally has access and, therefore, that the addition or alteration cannot adversely affect the public interest. In that event the Commission, by a majority vote of its full authorized membership, upon a finding that the applicant's claim is accurate, may forthwith grant a certificate of appropriateness on that basis.
D. 
Issuance of certificate; effects. Issuance of a certificate of appropriateness shall be deemed to be final approval pursuant to this chapter. Such approval shall neither cause nor prevent the filing of any collateral application or other proceeding required by any other City ordinance to be made prior to undertaking the action requested vis-a-vis the landmark or structure in the Historic District.
E. 
Denial; appeal.
(1) 
Denial of a certificate of appropriateness shall be deemed to preclude the applicant from undertaking the activity applied for vis-a-vis a landmark or improvement in a Historic District.
(2) 
The granting or denial of a certificate of appropriateness may be appealed to the Board of Commissioners in the same manner as if the appeal were taken, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-17 from action by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment.
(3) 
Nothing herein shall be deemed to limit the right of judicial review of the municipal action after an appeal is concluded by the Board of Commissioners.
F. 
Permit review. All municipal officials reviewing all permit applications involving real property or improvements thereon shall determine whether such application involves any activity which should also be the subject of an application for a certificate of appropriateness. If it should, such official shall inform both the secretary of the Commission and the applicant.
A. 
Demolitions. In regard to an application to demolish a historic landmark or any improvement within a Historic District, the following matters shall be considered:
(1) 
Its historic, architectural and aesthetic significance.
(2) 
Its use.
(3) 
Its importance to the City and the extent to which its historical or architectural value is such that its removal would be detrimental to the public interest.
(4) 
The extent to which it is of such old, unusual or uncommon design, craftsmanship, texture or material that it could not be reproduced or could be reproduced only with great difficulty.
(5) 
The extent to which its retention would promote the general welfare by maintaining and increasing real estate values, generating business, creating new jobs, attracting tourists, students, writers, historians, artists and artisans, attracting new residents, encouraging study and interest in American history, stimulating interest and study in architecture and design, educating citizens in American culture and heritage or making the City a more attractive and desirable place in which to live.
(6) 
If it is within a Historic District, the probable impact of its removal upon the ambience of the Historic District.
B. 
Removals out of the City. In regard to an application to move a historic landmark within a Historic District, to a location outside the City, the following matters shall be considered:
(1) 
The historic loss to the site of original location.
(2) 
The compelling reasons for not retaining the landmark or structure at its present site.
(3) 
The proximity of the proposed new location to the City, including the accessibility to the residents of the City and other citizens.
(4) 
The probability of significant damage to the landmark or structure itself.
(5) 
The applicable matters listed in Subsection A.
C. 
Removals within the City. In regard to an application to move a historic landmark or any structure in a Historic District to a new location within the City, following matters shall be considered in addition to the matters listed in Subsection B:
(1) 
The compatibility, nature and character of the current and of the proposed surrounding areas as they relate to the intent and purposes of this chapter.
(2) 
If the proposed new location is within a Historic District, the visual compatibility factors as set forth in Subsection G.
D. 
Additions or removals. In regard to an application to move a landmark or structure into, or to construct a new structure or add to or alter an existing structure within a Historic District, or a landmark, the visual compatibility of the proposed structure with the structures and surroundings to which it would be visually related shall be considered in terms of the visual compatibility factors as set forth in Subsection G.
E. 
Consideration on other actions. In regard to an application for other approval of any proposed action as set forth in § 214-5A, the following matters shall be considered:
(1) 
If a historic landmark or a structure in a Historic District is involved:
(a) 
The impact of the proposed change on its historic and architectural character.
(b) 
Its importance to the City and the extent to which its historic or architectural interest would be adversely affected to the detriment of the public interest.
(c) 
The extent to which there would be involvement of textures and materials that could not be reproduced or could be reproduced only with great difficulty.
(2) 
The use of any structure involved.
(3) 
The extent to which the proposed action would adversely affect the public's view of a landmark or structure within a Historic District from a public street.
(4) 
If the application deals with a structure within a Historic District, the impact the proposed change would have on the character and ambiance of the Historic District, and the structure's visual compatibility with the buildings, places and structures to which it would be visually related in terms of the visual compatibility factors set forth in Subsection G.
F. 
Interiors. In regard to all applications, additional pertinent matters may be considered, but in no instance shall interior arrangement be considered.
G. 
Visual compatibility factors. The following factors shall be used in determining the visual compatibility of a building, structure or appurtenance thereof with the buildings and places to which they are visually related and shall be known as "visual compatibility factors":
(1) 
Height. The height of the proposed building shall be visually compatible with adjacent buildings.
(2) 
Proportion of the front facade. The relationship of the width of the building to the height of the front elevation shall be visually compatible with buildings and places to which it is visually related.
(3) 
Proportion of openings. The relationship of the width of windows to the height of windows in a building shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
(4) 
Rhythm of solids to voids on front facades. The relationship of solids to void in the front facade of a building shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
(5) 
Rhythm of spacing of buildings on streets. The relationship of the building to the open space between it and adjoining buildings shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
(6) 
Rhythm of entrance and/or porch projections. The relationship of entrance and porch projections to the street shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
(7) 
Relationship of materials, texture and color. The relationship of materials, texture and color of the facade and roof of a building shall be visually compatible with the predominant materials used in the buildings to which it is visually related.
(8) 
Roof shapes. The roof shape of a building shall be visually compatible with buildings to which it is visually related.
(9) 
Walls of continuity. Appurtenances of a building, such as walls, open-type fencing, evergreen landscape masses, shall form cohesive walls of enclosure along a street, to the extent necessary to maintain visual compatibility of the building with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
(10) 
Scale of building. The size of a building, the mass of a building in relation to open spaces, the windows, door openings, porches and balconies shall be visually compatible with the buildings and places to which it is visually related.
(11) 
Directional expression of front elevation. A building shall be visually compatible with buildings and places to which it is visually related in its directional character, whether this is vertical character, horizontal character, or nondirectional character.
A. 
Findings. Recognizing the need for preventive maintenance to ensure the continued useful life of landmarks and structures in Historic Districts, the Board of Commissioners hereby declares that code enforcement vis-a-vis landmarks and structures in Historic Districts is a high municipal priority.
B. 
Notice of violations. In the event that any landmark or improvement in a Historic District deteriorates to the point that, in the best estimate of the Department of Inspections, the cost of correcting the outstanding code violations equals more than 25% of the cost of replacing the entire improvement on which the violations occur, the Department shall serve personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, a notice on the owner of the landmark listing the violations, the estimate for their abatement, and the replacement cost of the improvement and stating that if the owner does not take all necessary remedial action within 90 days, or such extensions as the Department shall for good cause grant, the City may, at the expiration of 90 days, enter upon the property and abate such violations itself and cause the cost thereof to become a lien on the property.
C. 
Hearing.
(1) 
Upon receipt of such notice the owner, within 10 days after such receipt, may notify the Department of Inspections of his/her wish to have a hearing as to the allegations and estimates set forth in the department's notice. Such hearing shall be conducted by the construction official and so far as possible, by a formal adversary proceeding in which the Department of Inspections, shall establish the matters alleged in the notice by a preponderance of the evidence.
(2) 
If the owner does not request a hearing, the procedures set forth in Subsection B shall prevail. If a hearing is requested, the Construction Official, within 10 days following the hearing, will serve on the owner an opinion, in writing, setting forth his/her conclusions and the reasons therefor. Such opinion shall be deemed to be a first notice pursuant to Subsection B.
D. 
Abatement by City.
(1) 
Thereafter, if the owner does not comply, the Department may enter onto the premises and, by use of municipal labor or outside contractors or both, perform such work as is necessary to abate all violations.
(2) 
The head of the Department shall then certify to the Board of Commissioners the cost of such work, plus all administrative, clerical and legal costs and overhead attributable thereto and shall present same to the Commissioners.
(3) 
The Board of Commissioners, by resolution, may vote to cause the sum so certified to become a lien upon the landmark property payable with the next quarter's property taxes, and if not then paid shall bear interest at the same rate as delinquent taxes.
A. 
Violation.
(1) 
If any person shall undertake any activity vis-a-vis a landmark or improvement within a Historic District without first having obtained a certificate or appropriateness, such person shall be deemed to be in violation of this chapter.
(2) 
Upon learning of the violation, the Zoning Officer shall personally serve upon the owner of the lot whereon the violation is occurring, a notice describing the violation in detail and giving the owner 10 days to abate the violation by restoring the landmark or improvement to its status quo ante. If the owner cannot be personally served within the City with the notice, a copy shall be posted on site and a copy sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner at his/her last known address as it appears on the municipal tax rolls.
(3) 
In the event that the violation is not abated within 10 days of service or posting on site, whichever is earlier, the Zoning Officer shall cause to be issued a summons and complaint, returnable in the Municipal Court, charging violation of this chapter. Each separate day the violation exists shall be deemed to be a new and separate violation of this chapter.
B. 
Penalties. The penalty for violations shall be as follows:
(1) 
Up to 10 days: not more than $25 per day.
(2) 
Eleven to 25 days: not more than $50 per day.
(3) 
Each day beyond 25 days: not more than $75 per day.
C. 
Emergency procedures. In the event that any action which would permanently change adversely the landmark or Historic District such as demolition or removal is about to occur without a certificate of appropriateness having been issued, the Zoning Officer is hereby authorized to apply to the Superior Court of New Jersey for such injunctive relief as is necessary to prevent the destruction of any landmark.