Historic Preservation Commission Approves Building Renovations and Discusses Return to In-Person Meetings

The recent meeting of the Jersey City Historic Preservation Commission saw developments, including the approval of building renovations in historic districts and discussions about returning to in-person meetings. The commission also approved the revised 2024 meeting calendar and the Steno contract, while addressing public inquiries and ongoing recruitment for a vacant position.

One of the key items on the agenda was the application for a certificate of appropriateness for the construction of a bulk with pergola, interior renovations, and an ADA accessible entry ramp at an altered contributing Greek Revival mixed-use building in the Harismus Cove historic district. The proposed modifications, presented by architect Umberto Ramos representing property owners Alex and Maria Leon, were discussed in detail. The commission, including Commissioner Amuza, grilled the architect on the design’s visibility, the ironwork’s design, and the materials used for the bulkhead. The architect agreed to consider their suggestion of using stucco for the bulkhead to blend with the adjacent building.

Another significant project discussed was the proposal to convert a commercial building to residential use. The proposed ironwork design was a point of contention, but the commission ultimately saw no issue as there was no historical precedent to replicate. The commission approved the certificate of appropriateness, following staff recommendations that included conditions such as maintaining previous approval conditions, using downcast lighting, and seeking a franchise ordinance for an ADA ramp.

The commission also deliberated on a proposal for a three-story rear addition, facade restoration, and interior renovations at an altered contributing Greek Revival building in the PO Hook historic district. The architect of record, Jensen Vasa, presented the project in great detail, addressing various aspects of the building’s design, construction, and historical context. The discussion focused on maintaining the historical character of the building, compatibility of the proposed changes with the existing structure, and visual harmony with neighboring buildings.

Changes to windows and doors of a building on the block were also discussed. The client had addressed the neighborhood association’s concerns about the materials used for the rear and sides of the addition. Despite concerns about the varying sizes of windows on the top floor, the commission ultimately approved a certificate of appropriateness for the proposed changes.

In administrative matters, the commission discussed the transition to in-person meetings and the revised 2024 meeting calendar. It was noted that the number of meetings would be reduced from 14 to 12 to accommodate sharing the meeting space with the Cannabis Control Board on Mondays. The staff assured the commissioners that computers and other necessary equipment would be provided during the in-person meetings. Questions about parking arrangements and access to meeting materials were addressed, and the possibility of live streaming meetings in the future was mentioned.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.


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