The Mahwah Historic Preservation Commission (MHPC) is appointed by the Township to safeguard the community's architectural, archaeological, scenic and cultural heritage by preserving, protecting, and conserving historic sites, structures, objects, roads, and cemeteries. The Commission meets on the first Monday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.
The Township of Mahwah has had an Historic Preservation Ordinance for 23 years. The Mahwah Historic Sites Committee (HPSC) introduced the first Ordinance in 1978, and in 1981 several homes were designated as local historic sites. In 1990, the HPSC was re-named the Mahwah Historic Preservation Commission (MHPC), and the Ordinance was amended to conform to the Municipal Land Use Law. Nine years later the Ordinance was amended again, resulting in several changes to the list of designated-sites. In October 2001, the MHPC received word from the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office that it had been recognized as a Certified Local Government.
In accordance with the Municipal Land Use Law, the 11 member board, appointed by the Mayor, is responsible for preparing and maintaining a survey of more that 300 historic sites, recommending the designation of historic sites to the Council and reviewing permit applications for designated structures. The MHPC also advises the Planning and Zoning Boards on all applications for development, including historic sites designated on the zoning or official map, or identified in any component element of the Master Plan. In 2001, the MHPC received a $12,000 matching grant from Bergen County and the Township to supervise a restoration project of more than 40 historic gravestones. In 1994, the MHPC conducted a rescue dig at a site slated for development. The dig uncovered an Indian camp ground and 3,000 year old pottery shards. The MHPC is committed to educating residents about the benefits of preservation. Each November the Commission hosts the Mahwah Heritage Month Awards to recognize individuals and property owners who have contributed to the preservation of Mahwah's historic resources. Starting with the 1994 holiday season and continuing annually until 2003, the MHPC has offered for sale a holiday ornament decorated with a local artist's drawing of one of the Township's historic sites. These ornaments are available for sale at the Mahwah Museum. The MHPC has supervised the restoration of the Quackenbush barn spared from demolition and now relocated at Winter's Park. The MHPC also works closely with the Mahwah Museum Society by sponsoring preservation related workshops in the newly acquired Township Museum.
Barbara Shanley, Chair
Randall V. Brewster
Carol W. Greene - Township Historian
Deborah L. Grob
Ronald J. Wohlberg
Marthajean Drago, Alternate I
Yvonne Beatrice, Alternate II
Denise Storms, Secretary
Andrew T. Fede, Esq., Township Attorney