If the measure passes, it would increase the number of homes under historic preservation from roughly 80 to 90 percent of the town. (See the map here.) Homeowners whose properties are listed in the register would need permission to perform certain kinds of work on their homes, to keep the streetscape the same in terms of scale, style and materials.
According to a member of the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission, the vast majority of the homes that apply for permission receive it. The member doesn’t foresee much of a controversy at the hearing tonight. “Most folks kind of like the way it is in Glen Ridge,” he said. In addition, he noted that the commission doesn’t concern themselves with such issues as paint color or anything that can’t be seen from the street. Rather, they focus on such considerations as maintaining a scale appropriate for the lot size, as well as ensuring that the style and materials used for renovations are in keeping with the house.
“This isn’t Litchfield, CT where everything must be painted white,” said the member, who also noted that the commission’s decisions are rarely appealed to the planning board.
He noted that in some neighboring towns, such as Montclair, houses have been “changed at the whim of the home owner without consideration of the neighborhood…I think it’s a shame as Montclair is losing some really nice homes. And I’m not just talking about the grand homes in the Estate Section. It’s also about the smaller homes that have been morphed into something terribly wrong.”