The Downe Township Historic Preservation Commission was established by Township Ordinance in 2012 as one of three local commissions in the Township of Downe.
The Downe Township Historic Preservation Commission was created to:
- Encourage the continued use of historic resources and facilitate their appropriate reuse.
- Safeguard the heritage of the Township by pre- serving the resources within the Township which reflect elements of its cultural, social, economic and architectural history.
- Maintain and develop an appropriate and harmonious setting for the architecturally significant buildings, structures and sites within the Township.
- Stabilize and improve property values and discourage the unnecessary demolition of historic and architectural resources within the Township.
- Foster civic beauty.
- Promote appreciation of the historic and architectural resources for the education, pleasure and welfare of the citizens of the Township and its visitors.
- Spur beautification and private reinvestment.
- Recognize the importance of historic and architectural resources by urging property owners and tenants to maintain their properties.
- Encourage the proper maintenance and preservation of historic and architectural settings and landscapes.
- Encourage appropriate alterations of historic and architectural resource.
- Enhance the visual and aesthetic character, diversity, continuity and interest of the Township.
- Promote the conservation of historic and architectural resources and invite voluntary compliance.
The Historic Preservation commission shall consist of five (5) members and (1) alternate who all shall serve without compensation.
The Commission positions shall be filled by people who are interested in and qualified to contribute to the preservation of historic and architectural resources, structures, sites and objects. The Commission shall represent the following categories:
Class A: Persons who are residents of the Township and are knowledgeable in building design and construction or in architectural history.
Class B: Persons who are residents of the Township and are knowledgeable or have a demonstrated interest in local history.
Class C: Persons who are residents of the Township and who do not hold a paid Municipal Office, position or employment except for membership on the Planning/Zoning Board.
- There shall be at least one (1) member from Class A and Class B.
- Commission Members shall be appointed by the Mayor with advice and consent of the Township Committee and shall serve as follows: two (2) members will serve for one (1) year, one (1) member shall serve for two (2) years, one (1) member will serve for three (3) years and one (1) member will serve for four (4) years. The alternate Member shall initially serve for a two (2) year term. If a Commission Member is also a Planning/Zoning Board Member, the term of office as Commission Member is the same length as the other position. 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 an unexpired term.
- The Commission shall adopt internal rules and procedures for the transaction of its business, subject to the following:
- The Commission shall elect from its Members a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.
- A quorum for the transaction of all business shall be three (3) Members.
- All Commission minutes and records are public records and all Commission meeting shall comply with the open Public Meetings Act (N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq.).
- Commission meetings shall be scheduled once every month or as often as required to fulfill its obligations.
- No Commission Member shall be permitted to act on any matter in which he or she has, either directly or indirectly, any personal or financial interest.
The Historic Preservation Commission shall be responsible for:
- Identifying and recording historic and architectural buildings, structures, sites and objects and evaluating these resources. The survey material shall be reviewed and, if necessary, updated at least every other year to incorporate any newly acquired historical documentation and to reflect changes to a resource’s integrity or condition.
- Conducting research on and nominating significant resources to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. If the Township is certified under the State’s Certified Local Government (CLG) Program, the Commission shall, in accordance with the State’s CLG Guidelines, review and comment on all State and National Register nominations for historic resources within the Township of Downe.
- Assisting other public bodies in aiding the public in understanding historic resource significance and methods of preservation.
- Advising the Township Committee on the relative merits of proposals involving public lands to restore, preserve and protect historical buildings, places and structures. Including the preparation of a long range plan, thereby securing State, Federal and other grants and aid to assist therein and monitoring such projects once underway.
- Securing the voluntary assistance of the public and, within the limits of the budget established by the Township Committee for the Historic Preservation Commission’s operation, to retain and consult experts and incur expenses to assist the Historic Preservation Commission in its work.
- Cooperating with local, county, State or national historical societies, governmental bodies and organizations to maximize their contributions to the intent and purposes of this chapter.
- Advising and assisting the combined Planning/Zoning Board during the preparation of a Historic Preservation Plan element of the Master Plan.
- Preparing and distributing a Historic Guideline Handbook to be utilized to foster appropriate rehabilitation or restoration of historic and architectural resources.