When planning a renovation, often one of the first steps is to gain approval from your local Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), especially if the changes you want to put in place can be seen from the street. HPC is dedicated to maintaining the historic integrity of a town’s architecture. When towns don’t have anyone looking out for how buildings or homes look, you can find gems like these popping up in your neighborhood.
We live in Glen Ridge, NJ and the stated goal of the Historic Preservation Commission is… “conserving, protecting, enhancing and perpetuating the landmarks, properties and improvements within the Glen Ridge Historic District.” Not all towns have an HPC, but if you purchase a home with the hopes of renovating it, you’d best look into it. You won’t get the necessary building permits for your project without their green light.
Having been a founding member of a local NJ Architectural Review Board, Steve is familiar with typical HPC concerns and we kept that in mind when planning any exterior changes.
The steps for HPC review are simple. Here’s what we did recently…
1. Call or stop by your town hall and out what papers are necessary to file with your HPC application. These might include photos of the existing structure, photos of other houses in the neighborhood, and architectural drawings of your project.
2. Be sure that your application is turned in to the building department before the deadline for the next HPC meeting. They typically meet once a month.
3. Go to the meeting! The commission members will have questions (regarding materials etc). It is important that you can answer them or promise to get them the information they need in a timely manner. If you’re working with an architect, have him or her on hand to answer questions. This will make the process much easier and add credibility to your application.