Historical Ordinance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Is the proposed ordinance mandatory for owners of “historic” properties?
No.  The proposed ordinance is totally voluntary for property owners who wish to “opt in” for historic preservation status and protections.

Why does Wyckoff need an historic preservation ordinance?
Communities adopt preservation ordinances for a variety of reasons.  Some create them simply as a way to protect significant properties.  Some establish them to encourage development in older areas and to strengthen the local economy.

Do other towns have historic preservation ordinances?
More than 140 New Jersey municipalities have established historic commissions and ordinances to aid in preservation efforts.

What about the impact on property values?
Local historic preservation ordinances are very successful as tools for maintaining property values because they directly contribute to an improved image of the community, and therefore increase property values. Preservation ordinances are used to safeguard the heritage and character of established neighborhoods by allowing for the voluntary preservation of those properties that reflect elements of the neighborhood’s history and architecture. They can also serve as guidelines to encourage any future construction in those neighborhoods that is harmonious with existing architecture and surroundings.

Will the “historic” designation of a property add another level of bureaucracy to the township’s construction permit process?
No.  Any property which has been voluntary designated as historic would be reviewed by Wyckoff’s existing Design Review Board in a timely manner which would not delay the permit application.  There will not be any additional fee for construction permits for protected properties.

Will designation cause unnecessary hardship to property owners?
No.  Historic designation would be voluntary. Many owners of historic properties already understand the value of preserving their properties for future generations to enjoy.  These owners realize there is a sense of obligation to remain respectful to the architecture, design, and character of these homes. An historic preservation ordinance will support owners of historic properties in their preservation efforts.

If I “opt in” to preserve my property will I be able to change or add to my building?
Yes.  Depending on the level of protection you wish to commit to, you can chose to preserve the entire property or specific elements of individual structures from any future alterations.  Regular maintenance is not affected by the ordinance, nor is the “un-altering” of historic properties in order to return them to their original appearance.  

Zabriskie House in Wyckoff

Does my house or property have to be of a certain age or be linked to a historical event or person to qualify for protection?
No.  There are many reasons to protect a property.  Age is relative and is constantly changing, but is a standard which most preservation programs use as a guide.  Links to specific events or people in Wyckoff’s history are also a main reason for preservation, but there are several others which are equally as important.  Homes which typify a certain architectural style, or are “landmark buildings” in their neighborhoods are also perfect candidates.  Properties reflective of the design of a particular neighborhood are important in anchoring that area to our history.

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