PLAINFIELD, NJ — Plainfield Historic Preservation Commissioners deliberated Tuesday for almost an hour on an “after the fact” repair application that had been carried from a prior meeting. Applicant Arpie Maros appeared before the HPC Board seeking a certificate of appropriateness for a porch located at 916 Madison Avenue in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District.

According to discussions, the applicant failed to obtain the necessary work permits, and after a visit from the City’s zoning officer and inspections department, a stop-work order was issued.

Armed with mahogany wood samples for the steps and flooring that were requested at a previous meeting, Maros explained his choice of materials and presented his case. He pointed out that with the repair he was also trying to resolve other issues, including poor insulation from the adjacent kitchen.

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HPC Vice Chair Larry Quirk quickly voiced concern over the size of the newly constructed porch that now extends 28-feet which he said far exceeded the original porch.  He stated that it was “after the fact” and really was not a repair, but a new addition to the house.

Chairman William Michelson added that while the design was better than what originally existed, the problem the board was having with the overall application stemmed from the fact that the original porch was already non-conforming, and without the necessary permit approvals, the new porch may have to be removed.

“The old use of the porch changed into a mudroom. Your application and what you did are apples and oranges,” Board Member Gary Schneider commented.

Quirk added that the proposal could go away, which was a possibility; there would be a chance of getting a more suitable design.

During public comment, neighbor Gerry Heydt considered the new construction not very “porch-like” and said while it was a dignified house, the porch looked like an addition and not like a part of the house. She also mentioned that while additional neighbors could not attend the meeting, they also had similar concerns over the lack of approvals.

A decision was made to carry the application for another month or two to give Maros time to submit a redesigned architectural plan, incorporating the many design suggestions made by HPC members, as well as to resolve the permit issues.

HPC members also approved an application from Xavier Ruiz Caseras, owner of a new Ecuadorian coffee shop business at 122 North Avenue, seeking to install an awning. The business is anticipated to open on March 6.

 

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