MAHWAH HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION
June 13, 2002 MINUTES
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m.
SUNSHINE STATEMENT: The secretary read the Sunshine Statement.
Marthajean Drago Chair Barbara Shanley
John Bristow, Historian
Gus Vasiliadis (late)
Kenneth Cerullo (late)
Paul Gioni, Alternate I
* Salute to the Flag:
* PUBLIC SESSION: None at this time. On a motion by Mrs. Drago the meeting was opened to the public. There were no comments from the public and on a motion by Mrs. Drago, seconded by Ms. Kennedy and approved with a vote of 8 yes, and 0 no, the Public Session was closed at 7:40PM.
* NEW BUSINESS:
The Chairman made a motion to move New Business to allow Mr. Elkin, the architect for Temple Beth Haverim, to speak regarding the Milk House. Colleen Kennedy seconded the motion and all agreed.
Present: Mr. Michael Elkin, Architect
Elkin/Soblta & Associates
19 Park Avenue
Rutherford, NJ 07070
Mrs. Drago gave a summary of the 1994 Resolution between the Planning Board and Temple Beth Haverim which included the Temple's agreement to preserve the milk house (c. 1860) and pay for a historic plaque to describe the entire site's history. As discussed at the May meeting, the Temple, as a result of the addition, wanted to demolish the milk house. The Commission objected to the request and sent correspondence to the Planning Board voicing such objections. On May 23, the Commission received a letter from Mr. Elkin offering to preserve the foundation and basement of the milk house. On June 10, Mr. Elkin appeared before the Planning Board and proposed to preserve the foundation, flooring, beams and basement and adapt the structure as a seating area for their students. The Chairman appeared before the Board to represent the Mahwah Historic Preservation Commission's (MHPC) concerns about the milk house and the purchase and installation of the plaques. At that same meeting, Mrs. Drago requested that before agreeing to the plan, Mr. Elkin would appear before the Commission on Thursday, June 13, so that the Commission could hear the architect's ideas for adaptive re-use and vote accordingly. The Planning Board approved the concept of the adaptive re-use subject to the approval of the Commission. Mrs. Drago then introduced Mr. Michael Elkin.
Mr. Elkin stated he had been the architect for the 1994 structure, but not for the new expansion. According to Mr. Elkin, in 1994, no one could foresee the expansion of the school. The plans for the new expansion called for the school to be extended straight back which put it right adjacent to the milk house. Nobody, including the architect for the expansion, pointed out to the Temple how close the new structure would be to the milk house until the foundation was put in. It was then they discovered the milk house was only 3 or 4 feet from the addition. Mr. Elkin explained that he has been retained by the congregation to oversee the construction and handle the matter of the milk house.
Mr. Elkin distributed pictures of the milk house to the members. He described his proposal to retain the foundation, basement (with its old stone walls) and the floor structure directly above the basement which has some nice old beams. The rest of the structure would be taken down and the surface would be used as a seating area. The plan would include water-proofing the flooring or put a new structure across the top of the flooring to preserve it and ensure structural stability. Mrs. Drago commented that there had also been some discussion about the possibility of adding a gazebo style roof. Mr. Elkin concurred that such an approach was being considered and acknowledged that a covered seating area is a perfect situation for school children waiting to be picked up by their parents.
Mr. Elkin noted that there is access to the basement via existing bilco doors. The access will be maintained. Mr. Elkin stated that the upper structure had been re-done so many times that there is very little architectural value. However, he realized it would be a problem to demolish the foundation and basement, and the congregation supported his proposal preserve the structure.
Mrs. Greene inquired about the dimensions of the milk house to which Mr. Elkin replied it was approximately 15 X 18 feet. Mr. Gioni inquired about the possibility of finding any old timbers once the skin of the upper structure is removed. Mr. Elkin offered to take the skin off to see if any old timbers exist and if they do, he agreed that it would be a good idea to incorporate them into the seating area framework. Mr. Elkin agreed to notify the Commission before the upper structure was removed. Mr. Elkin pointed out that the beams which were required to be saved and incorporated into the lobby according to the original 1994 Resolution have again been saved. They will be incorporated into the new lobby.
Mrs. Greene asked for a site inspection and demolition inspection. Mrs. Drago asked Mr. Elkin to address the safety of the structure as a seating area. She also asked if he had any drawings of the proposed area. Mr. Elkin also reported that the Temple will pay for the historic marker plaque and Mrs. Drago reported that the MHPC will write the text. Mrs. Drago will write a letter of approval to the Planning Board subject. Let the minutes reflect that Mrs. Drago made a motion to approve the concept of saving the milk house with an adaptive re-use as a seating area as discussed on June 13, 2002. However, the Commission expected a drawing and withholds final approval until final a drawing is presented and reviewed. The Commission also requests that any future additions protect the existence of the milk house. If Construction Official does not approve, the applicant must re-submit a revised application. Mr. Nichols seconded the motion. The motion was approved with a vote of 8 yes and 0 no. Mr. Cerullo and Mr. Vasiliadis were not present for this vote.
* Historic Preservation Commission Attorney Appointed: The Chairman reported that she had met with Donna Tamayne, the attorney assigned to the Commission by the Township, on Wednesday, June 5. Ms. Tamayne is an associate with Herten Burstein et. al., Hackensack, NJ. Mrs. Drago gave Ms. Tamayne copies of the Ordinance, Master Plan and other documents. Mrs. Drago reported that she had requested that Ms. Tamayne attend the June 13, meeting.
Mrs. Drago reported that Ms. Tamayne was unable to attend the meeting and another attorney had not been assigned to fill-in for her. Mr. McCabe, the architectural historian that Mrs. Drago had hoped would attend the meeting, had broken his leg the previous Friday and would not be able to attend. Other issues also prevented Mr. McCabe from attending.
* Certified Local Government Grant: Mrs. Drago asked the members to review the CLG agreement with the State Hiotoric Preservation Office and submit any comments by Monday, June 17.
* Bergen County Preservation Awards Ceremony: Mrs. Drago reported that Mayor Martel and Council President John Spiech accepted the award from the Bergen County Historic Sites Commission for the work on the cemetery gravestones. Mrs. Drago and Mrs. Greene also attended. Copies of the Award program were provided.
* Mahwah Day: Mrs. Drago asked the members if they wanted to have a table reserved for Mahwah Day. It was agreed not to have a table, to instead have the Quackenbush Barn manned and open for the public. Mrs. Drago also reported that the Eagle Scout asked if they could plant peach trees at the barn, however, Mrs. Drago told him that he needs to address his request to the attention of the DPW. Mrs. Drago reported that the Barn still needs drains, and lighting. Mrs. Drago will contact the Business Administrator to get permission to work with Boswell McClave Engineering regarding these items.
* MINUTES: Mrs. Drago corrected under New Business, Beth Haverim Temple “displeasure” to “disapproval”. Let the minutes reflect that Mr. Bristow made a motion to accept the May 9, 2002 MHPC minutes as corrected and Mr. Nichols seconded the motion. The motion was approved with a vote of 7 yes, 0 no, and 2 absent.
STREET NAME: None at this time.
* Temple Beth Haverim - See above
* Vista Bohn Estates, Docket #440: Mrs. Drago reviewed with the Commission the voting procedures. Mrs. Greene recused herself from voting because she is within 200 feet of the property. Mrs. Greene left the room to attend the Township Council meeting. Mrs. Drago requested that Mrs. Greene read into Township Council record the Commission's recommendation supporting the naming of the Route 202 site Continental Soldier's Park. Mrs. Greene agreed.
Mrs. Drago reported that after several unsuccessful attempts she today finally spoke to the applicant’s attorney, Mr. Whitaker. Mr. Whitaker told Mrs. Drago that the barn is slated to be demolished and the house saved, but moved. Mr. Drago reported that according to architectural historian Mr. McCabe, once a structure is moved it loses its historic significance. Mrs. Drago recommends to the Commission to inform the Planning Board that the Commission request that the house be saved, but not moved, because its historic value would be lost, it could be damaged, and the foundation and kitchen lost. Let the minutes reflect that Mrs. Drago made a motion to disapprove Docket #440 because it has historic significance, and based on the change in application to move the historic house structure, which would destroy the foundation and historic value of the house, and that the house should be preserved and maintained in original location. Mr. Thornton seconded the motion. The motion was approved with a vote of 8 yes, 0 no, and 1 recused. Mrs. Drago will write a detailed letter to the Planning Board regarding this application.
* Franklin Turnpike Construction Co., LLC, Docket #441: Let the minutes reflect that after a thorough discussion Mr. Bristow made a motion to approve Franklin Turnpike Construction Co., LLC, Docket #441 because it has no historic significance. Mr. Vasiliadis seconded the motion. The motion was approved with a vote of 7 yes, 0 no, and 2 recused.
* Isaac Bogert House Restoration: No report at this time.
* Historic Property Variance: No report at this time.
* Quackenbush Barn: Mrs. Drago reported that she had sent thank you notes to the Boy Scouts for their work on staining the barn.
* 2001 Ornament: No report at this time.
* Historic Plaques: Mrs. Greene and Mr. Bristow volunteered to write the text for the Beth Haverim Temple (Sheffield House) historic plaque.
* Public Relations: No report at this time.
* Bills: Mrs. Drago submitted a bill of $ for printing expenses regarding the copying of the blue print Ms. Kennedy made a motion to approve payment for the printing expenses and Mr. Thornton seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.
Mrs. Greene reviewed the State Plan recommendations to the Commission and reported that the State Plan designated the Highlands as a historic visual characteristic and the Ramapo’s are part of the Highlands. Mrs. Greene reported that the State Plan is a good source for MHPC in regards to historic planning guidelines and language concepts in recommendations to the Planning Board. Mrs. Drago explained that The State Plan a voluntary program that was introduced in 1992 or 1993. According to Township Planner Malcolm Kassler, when the Master Plan was adopted in 1989 it made reference to the State Plan, but it was never adopted by the Township. Mr. Cerullo commented that many communities are reluctant to adopt the State Plan.
These minutes are a synopsis of the MHPC tapes, which are on file at the Township Hall.