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Do I live in a Historic District?

Plainfield's historic architecture is second to none in the state of New Jersey.  Plainfielders take pride of our history and our ten historic districts, and landmarked structures.  There are many wonderful   stories of homes built before the 1900's – still standing strong today, through the stewardship and proud ownership of many Plainfield residents.  The efforts made to preserve these wonderful   homes, not only have strengthened our property values but also helped build strong and cohesive communities in Plainfield.

Maps
Landmarked Properties

 

Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission

The purpose of this Ordinance is to promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the City through the preservation of historic building, structures, places and districts, to develop and maintain appropriate settings for such resources and to document and promote the public enjoyment of such resources which impart a distinct aspect of the City and which serve as visible reminders of the historical and cultural heritage of the City, the State and the Nation.

About the Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission

In 1979, spearheaded by citizen activists and neighborhood
associations, the Plainfield City Council enacted its first historic preservation ordinance, and in 1980 established a Historic Review Committee to guide the City’s historic preservation policies and programs. By 1981 the first four historic districts had been designated – Crescent Area, Hillside, North Avenue, and Van Wyck Brooks. These districts also were successfully nominated to the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. The historic preservation ordinance was revised and strengthened in 1986 and 2002 to create the current Historic Preservation Commission.

Members of the Historic Preservation Commission are City residents appointed by the Mayor of Plainfield and confirmed by the City Council.

The Historic Preservation Commission serves to identify and protect Plainfield’s historic homes, religious and commercial buildings, historic sites and entire districts throughout the city. Historic preservation helps in strengthening the sense of connection to the community's past and creating a distinctive environment and sense of place for our community. The Commission intends to foster civic pride in the accomplishments of Plainfield’s past, promote the use of historic districts and landmarks for the educational, cultural, and recreational welfare of its residents, and help to insure the harmonious and efficient growth of the City.

Historic preservation designation helps to support the local economy by promoting tourism and encouraging investment, which results in revitalizing neighborhoods and stabilizing, and in many instances even increasing, property values. Buyers know that the qualities that make a particular area attractive will be protected over time. Real estate agents use historic district status as a marketing tool to sell properties.

What is the purpose of Plainfield’s historic preservation ordinance?

The purpose of the ordinance is to preserve historic sites and districts that reflect the architectural, cultural, social and economic history of Plainfield, New Jersey. Through its historic preservation program the City seeks to promote its rich heritage, protect valuable historic housing and neighborhoods, encourage the revitalization of commercial areas, foster civic beauty, and strengthen the local economy through renovation and adaptive reuse of the City’s diverse historic resources.

What is the procedure for designation of historic sites and districts in Plainfield?

The Historic Preservation Commission holds the initial hearing to review the nominations. Upon approval by the Commission, the nomination is forwarded to the Planning Board. Owners of nominated sites are notified by certified mail of the Planning Board hearing date. After Planning Board approval, the nomination is sent to City Council for adoption to amend the zoning ordinance.

What are the benefits of historic site designation?

If designated, your historic property will join a distinguished group of over 600 designated historic sites and places in Plainfield. Municipal actions that would affect your property will be reviewed by the Commission, which will act as a “check” against potentially harmful undertakings. Designation also helps to defend your property from threatening county or state government actions, since your property becomes officially recognized as a historic site. Designation will not increase your property taxes. Preservation of historic appearance, however, can increase the re-sale value of your property.

What is the Historic Preservation Commission?

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is part of Plainfield city government and consists of 9 regular members and 2 alternate members who are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council for four-year terms. Commission members are volunteers who are knowledgeable in local history and building design. The HPC reviews all work that will change the exterior appearance of designated historic sites, including all buildings, garages, carriage houses, gazebos, fences, walls, driveways, sidewalks, signs and parking lots. The review process ensures that the distinctive character of historic sites is preserved.

When Do You Need Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) approval?

A Certificate of Appropriateness issued by the HPC is required before any of the following work on historic sites can commence:

  • Exterior work that requires a building permit.  Examples include roof repair or replacement, porch repair or replacement, new siding, decks, additions, and demolitions.
  • Exterior repairs or replacements such as windows, doors, stairs, and railings.
  • Adding or replacing fences, walls, signs, solar panels, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.

What Can You Do Without Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) approval?

  • Any work to the interior of your building.
  • Any work that is not visible from a public street.
  • Ordinary maintenance that does not require replacing existing materials.
  • Paint your building.

How does the HPC review proposed work?

In reviewing all applications, the HPC must follow the Plainfield Design Guidelines for Historic Districts and Sites. The guidelines do not impose a particular design or style on the applicant. The intent is to encourage work that is compatible with the historic structure in scale, materials, and related features. Commission members also have expertise in building projects, and can offer practical and cost-effective advice on materials, product sources, and methods of construction.

Working with the Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission

Plainfield now includes six residential historic districts, one commercial district, one civic district, as well as two parkland districts and 19 individually landmarked structures. Property owners in the districts and owners of the landmarked buildings apply to the Historic Preservation Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness (CA) when they intend to make changes to the outside of their properties if those changes will be visible from a public right-of-way.

Property owners unsure of how to proceed with renovation or improvements can request informational hearings to explore their options. Property owners can request an emergency hearing for repairs that are needed to prevent imminent property damage, such as storm-related accidents.

Plainfield’s Historic Preservation Ordinance and Commission (part of Plainfield’s Municipal Code) describes the purpose and benefits of Plainfield’s Historic Preservation Commission, as well as its procedures and requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions explains what types of property modifications do – and do not – require advance approval from HPC. It also explains the hearing and application process when a Certificate of Appropriateness is necessary.

Click here to read Plainfield’s Design Guidelines for Historic Districts and Sites.

Click here to download the Application for Certification of Appropriateness.

How can I obtain more information?

In addition to the links on this website, you may contact HPC by email at scott.bauman@plainfieldnj.gov or by phone at 908-753-3580. The Historic Preservation Commission is under the auspices of the office of Division of Planning and Community Development at Plainfield City Hall.

Maps of Historic Districts

Historic District and Sites


 

Historic District

Local Designated Historic District

NJ State Register 
of Historic Places

National Register
of Historic Places

1

Broadway Historic
District

12/7/92

Not listed

Not listed

2

Cedar Brook Park
Historic District

Not listed

6/25/07

8/28/07

3

Crescent Area
Historic District

1979

8/15/80

12/12/80

4

Green Brook Park
Historic District

Not listed

3/18/04

5/14/04

5

Hillside Avenue
Historic District

2/2/81

8/14/80

6/1/82

6

Netherwood
Heights Historic
District

1988

Not listed

Not listed

7

North Avenue
Historic District

8/17/81

2/9/84

3/29/84

8

Plainfield Civic
Historic District

1993

5/11/93

6/17/93

9

Putman-Watchung
Historic District

1987

   

10

Van Wyck Brooks
Historic District

2/2/81

10/7/85

12/10/85

City of Plainfield Designated Historic Sites 2010


 

Historic Site

Local Designation

NJ State Register of Historic Places

National Register
of Historic Places

1

315 Central Avenue:
Central Fire Headquarters

 

1/25/93

3/4/93

2

501-511 Central Avenue : 
Plainfield Seventh Day Baptist Church

7/19/06

 

 

3

1012-1036 Central Avenue
George A. Strong House / DuCret School of the Arts

7/19/06

 

 

4

600 Cleveland Avenue : Grace Episcopal Church

7/19/06

12/20/01

 

5

232 East Front Street
YWCA of Plainfield / North Plainfield

 

1/15/98

3/12/98

6

857-859 East Front Street
Gate House to the John Taylor Johnston Estate

7/19/06

 

 

7

133-139 East Seventh Street : J.K. Myers House

7/19/06

 

 

8

500-506 Madison Avenue
Plainfield Seventh Day Baptist Church / Plainfield Board of Education Building

7/19/06

 

 

9

1102-1108 Myrtle Avenue : H.C. Fuller House

7/19/06

 

 

10

523-525 Park Avenue : Clawson House

7/19/06

 

 

11

1362-1366 Randolph Road : Fitz-Randolph House

7/19/06

 

 

12

1015-1017 South Avenue : City Firehouse #4

 

1/25/93

3/11/93

13

846-854 Terrill Road : Lampkin House

7/19/06

 

 

14

602 West Front Street : Nathaniel Drake House

 

1/29/73

6/19/73

15

201-209 West Second Street
Titsworth-Sutphen House

7/19/06

 

 

16

516 West Sixth Street
St. Mary’s Catholic Church Complex

 

1/28/85

4/11/85

17

1170-1174 Woodland Avenue

7/19/06

 

 

18

Netherwood Railroad Station

 

3/17/84

6/22/84

19

Plainfield Railroad Station

 

3/17/84

6/22/84