PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Historic Preservation Commission is proposing expansion of two Plainfield historic districts and expects to hold public hearings in 2018.
As explained by HPC Chairman William Michelson, the process will involve the HPC first, then the Planning Board and finally passage by ordinance of the expansions. Plainfield has six residential historic districts, but only the Van Wyck Brooks and Netherwood Heights districts are being considered for expansion at this time.
Preservationist Barton Ross surveyed all 249 properties under consideration, producing a hefty document about three inches thick. Michelson said the Netherwood properties are at the edges of the existing district, while the Van Wyck Brooks expansion goes in three directions, west on Eighth Street to Grant Avenue, south to Du Cret School of Art and along Kenyon Avenue.
While preservation has many enthusiasts in the city, the HPC anticipates some objection to the expansion and will launch an educational campaign on the benefits of inclusion in a district. Since the preservation movement was launched in the 1980s, it has gained national attention and brought many visitors to the city for house tours showcasing its eclectic historic styles of architecture.
Michelson said every property owner will be notified of all the hearings, which are likely to start in early 2018. The HPC will lead the effort.
Plainfield’s resources on preservation include online maps and details of every district and site designated so far, as well as Historic Preservation Guidelines. The main rule for repairs or renovation is replacing “like with like,” meaning use of wood, slate, and other original materials. The HPC offers guidance, such as it did Tuesday for a Brooklyn couple looking to renovate a newly-purchased property in a Plainfield historic district.