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MAHWAH HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION (MHPC)

January 8, 2004 minutes

The meeting was called to order at 7:36 p.m.

SUNSHINE STATEMENT: The secretary read the Sunshine Statement

ROLL CALL
PRESENT ABSENT

Marthajean Drago, Chair Mark Nichols (excused)

John Bristow, Historian

J. Thomas Thornton

Kenneth Cerullo

Barbara Shanley

Carol Greene

Paul Gioni

Colleen Kennedy (late 7:55)

Gus Vasiliadis

Also present Technical Advisor, Wayne Mc Cabe, and Jeanne Kolva of Mc Cabe & Associates.


FLAG SALUTE:


MINUTES: Bristow moved approval of the December 11, 2003 minutes as read, and Gioni seconded the motion. All approved.

PUBLIC SESSION:

Carol Greene made a motion to open the Public Session and John Bristow seconded the motion. All approved. Public Session was opened at 7:40 p.m. Drago asked if anyone from the public would like to speak now or wait until the Public Session of the application. Mr. Whitaker reported that he will wait.

Greene made a motion to close the Public Session and Mr. Bristow seconded the motion. All approved. The Public Session was closed at 7:41 p.m.

NEW BUSINESS:

Chair requested to table until after the applications. All approved.

LEGAL: No report, at this time.

TECHNICAL ADVISOR: McCabe & Associates
Mr. McCabe reported that Mrs. Kolva has prepared the majority of the text for the design guideline booklet. A draft copy is being sent down to George Chidley for his first review. He is expecting the return of the draft copy with Mr. Chidley’s comments next week and the final copy by the end of the month, at which time copies will be made for the Commission members for their final approval. It was suggested that Mr. McCabe make electronic copies for the members and that the members email Mr. McCabe their comments.


STREET NAMES: None at this time.

APPLICATIONS:
Vista Bahn Estates, LLC, Docket 461.

Let the minutes reflect that Mrs. Greene recused herself stating that she is a bordering property owner and moved from the Commission table and sat with the public. (8:45 p.m.)

Bristow moved to open Docket 461 to the public and Shanley seconded the motion. All approved. The Public Session for Docket 461 was opened at 8:46 p.m.

The Chair recognized Bruce Whitaker, Esq. Mr. Whitaker reported that he was representing his client, Barret Homes, the contractor of Vista Bahn Estates. Mr. Whitaker reported that his client’s previous application for 25 lots was denied by the Planning Board and that the application the Commission is looking at now calls for a 9 lot sub-division and the large part of the property to remain in its current state. There is a possibility of future development of that large parcel of land, only if the current owners, (the Constantine family) wish to proceed in that fashion. The Garrison/Dator/Price house site ruins are on the Constantine family site and will not be touched. The northern end of the property is where the proposed 9 build able lots are, which include the Winter farmhouse and the barn on the 9th lot. The proposed homes would be of the size caliber of the large stately homes in Rio Vista. The applicant’s original proposal was to demolish these sites and build on this 9th lot. Mr. Whitaker went on to say that his client had retained Mr. George Turell to examine the barn and Mr. Turell advised both Mr. Whitaker and his client that the barn has little no historic value. Mr. Turell described the condition of the barn as “hodge podge” and therefore, the applicant plans on tearing down the barn. In regards to the Winder farmhouse, the applicant proposes with the Township’s approval to pay for the disassemble and movement of the building to a location the of the HPC’s choice. The applicant will not pay for the re-assembly of the building. Mr. Whitaker stated that this is a compromise in replace of demolition of the properties on the site.

Mr. McCabe asked why farmhouse couldn’t be retained on its own lot. Just because someone wants to come in a build McMansions on these lots is no justification why these historic buildings should be demolished. This house represents the type of housing and buildings that would have been built along this road in the early part of the 19th century and would loose the historic and architectural integrity if it where to be moved. Mr. McCabe stated that as a Professional Planner and Architectural Historian he would strongly advise the Commission not to accept this compromise because it would be a disservice to the community to loose a historic structure in its original setting just to allow a developer to build a Mc Mansion for the developer’s profit.

Mr. Whitaker reported that in the 2 acre R80 zone, keeping the farmhouse would not be economically possible. Mr. McCabe stated that based on the rulings by the State Attorney General, the HPC cannot take economics into account on its decision making.

Cerullo asked why the contractor does request variances from the Township to allow for the farmhouse to remain as a historic structure.

Drago commented that Mr. Turell is very expense and reported that when the HPC had Mr. Turell look at the Quackenbush Barn, he commented that he would love to get an inside look at the barn located on Route 202 because it was so precious. Drago stated that this is Mr. Turell’s business, but he is very, very, very expensive. To re-assemble the Quackenbush barn, he wanted $80,000.00. The HPC does not have a site, or the money to relocate and re-assemble the house. Drago reported that the compromise is not feasible.

Bristow reported that the Baldwin property was granted a lot size variance to preserve the historic house, and that it is possible to request and be granted a lot size variance for the Winter farmhouse property.

After a lengthy discussion, the Commission stated they would be willing to go before the Planning Board in defense of the contractor to ask for a lot size variance to preserve the farmhouse, but would not accept the compromise as presented by Mr. Whitaker. Mr. Whitaker will speak to his client.

Mr. Whitaker thanked the Commission for allowing him the time to present his clients compromise and will relay their concerns and recommendations to his client.

Mr. McCabe suggested that the Commission take a vote supporting the applicant in requesting the lot lines in order to preserve the historic Winter farmhouse.

Kennedy moved that the Commission would go before the Planning Board and support the variances that are required to change the lot line in order to preserve the historic Winter farmhouse from demolition and Vasiliadis seconded the motion. The motion was approved with a vote of 8 yes and 0 no.



Gioni, yes; Bristow, yes; Cerullo, yes; Thornton, yes; Shanley, yes;

Kennedy, yes; Vasiliadis, yes; Drago, yes.

Drago recognized Mr. Richard Greene, 800 Ramapo Valley Road. Mr. Greene, asked Mr. Whitaker if the ruins where being noted as historic designation on the final draft of the applicants plans. Mr. Whitaker stated that the applicant has noted the farmhouse and the barn; however, the Garrison/Dator/Price ruins are not part of this application. Mr. Greene asked if the applicant has first option to buy the remaining 29 acres. Mr. Whitaker reply yes, if the Constantine’s want to sell.

Bristow moved to close the Public Session and Shanley seconded the motion. All approved. The Public Session was closed at 8:45 p.m.

Vasiliadis moved to re-open the Public Session and Bristow seconded the motion. All approved. The Public Session was re-opened at 8:50. p.m.

Mr. Greene stated the importance of noting on the plans the County numbers on the Garrison/Dator/Price ruins and the Winter farmhouse and barn.

Bristow moved to close the Public Session and Cerullo seconded the motion. There was no public in attendance. All approved. The Public Session was closed at 8:51 p.m.

Let the minutes reflect that Thornton moved that the HPC deny Vista Bahn Estates, Docket 461, stating the same reasons as previously submitted and Kennedy seconded the motion. The motion to deny Docket 461 was approved with a vote of 8 yes 0 no.

Gioni, yes; Bristow, yes; Cerullo, yes; Thornton, yes; Shanley, yes; Kennedy, yes; Vasiliadis, yes; Drago, yes.

Drago requested that the Commission attend the January 12, 2004 Planning Board meeting in support of the Winter farmhouse lot size variance.

Greene returned to the Commission table at 8:55 p.m.

LaSala Developer, Inc. Docket #466
Technical Advisor, Jeanne Kolva reported that she drove by the site and all the buildings have been demolished, and recommended approval of Docket #466. The secretary reported that she had not received a demolition permit application for this property.

Let the minutes reflect that Thornton moved that the HPC approve Docket #466 sub-division noting objection to demolition without seeking council from HPC, since the application return date was February 1, 2004 and Gioni seconded the motion. The motion was approved with a vote of 8yes, 1 absent and 0 no.


Gioni, yes; Bristow, yes; Cerullo, yes; Thornton, yes; Shanley, yes; Kennedy, yes; Vasiliadis, yes; Greene, yes; Drago, absent.


Gregory & Alfred Swisher, Docket #465
Technical Advisor Jeanne Kolva reported that after reviewing this application it has been determined that the property has no historic significance and recommends approval with no comment.

Let the minutes reflect Bristow moved to approve Docket #465 with no comment and Shanley seconded the motion. The motion was approved with a vote of 8 yes, 1 absent, and 0 no.

Gioni, yes; Bristow, yes; Cerullo, yes; Thornton, yes; Shanley, yes; Kennedy, yes; Vasiliadis, yes; Greene, yes; Drago, Absent.

Demolition Applications: None at this time.

New Business:
Chair’s Report: Drago urged the Commission’s attendance at the Planning Board meeting, especially when applicants submitted to the HPC for their review are on the agenda.

The following is the Commission Planning Board attendance schedule.

January 12 Drago
January 26 Shanley
February 9 Vasiliadis
February 23 Bristow
March 8 Gioni
March 22 Greene
April 12 Cerullo
April 26 Thornton

Old Business:
Planning Board Report: No further report

Memories of Mahwah Ornaments: The secretary reported that the 2003 ornaments are selling very well along with the past years.

Historic Plaques: The secretary reported that she needs the write ups for the Valentine and Quackenbush barn plaques ASAP. Gioni reported that he will get them to the secretary by Monday, January 12, 2004.

Quackenbush Barn: No report, at this time.

Public Relations: No report, at this time.

Moffatt Road Cemetery: No report, at this time.

Mahwah Museum: No report, at this time.

GENERAL DISCUSSION: None at this time.

Let the minutes reflect that Bristow moved to adjourn and Cerullo seconded the motion. All approved. The HPC meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

These minutes are a synopsis of the MHPC tapes, which are on file at the Township Hall.
/dms



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