Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Van Wyck Brooks mansion on Preservation Commission agenda tonight

The Van Wyck Brooks masnion on West 8th Street, after which the District is named.
Plainfield's iconic Van Wyck Brooks mansion on West 8th Street is on the Historic Preservation Commission's agenda tonight. The commission meets in the City Hall Library at 7:30 PM and the public is welcome.

At issue are window replacements to the sunroom at the rear of a first floor apartment. The owner has already replaced the windows and is seeking a certificate of appropriateness for 'wood or vinyl grids to be placed on the outside of'.

The Van Wyck Brooks Historic District, the city's largest, discussed the proposed changes at its monthly meeting last week, and a sizeable contingent is expected to attend and speak at tonight's meeting.

Though an important item on tonight's agenda, several of the other items may also spark considerable comment -- especially as some property owners have failed (or evaded) fulfilling work agreed upon with the HPC.

In a dire real estate market, preservation-minded homeowners need more than ever to press home the argument that maintaining the integrity of historic homes and properties in the city is integral to undergirding the overall value of the city's trove of historic and vintage residential properties.

A decline in property values would negatively affect the city's tax base. While it is widely understood that external factors such as the collapse of the real estate market due to the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent foreclosures are factors beyond the control of local homeowners, maintaining the fabric of the city's residential neighborhoods and historic districts certainly is within the scope of things the City can ensure.

But as in all things regarding City Hall, citizens and property owners must adopt the ancient motto: Semper Vigilans.

Be always watchful.


Tuesday - October 25
7:30 PM

City Hall Library
515 Watchung Avenue
(Parking and entry in the rear)

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I have been aware of a recent reinterest in Plainfield. Lower taxes than surrounding areas, and beautiful homes. If we let our homes rot, as some have, we will lose our most valuable asset and draw to Plainfield.

Here's hoping that the HPC and the people do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Would be nice if the home had better landscaping, especially since it is so significant in Plainfield's history.

Michael Townley said...

Not related to the windows...does anyone know if this building was once home to Muhlenberg Hospital?

Dan said...

Michael -- Far as I know, Muhlenberg moved directly from its original building on Muhlenberg Place (between West 3rd and South Second) to its first building on Randolph Road, from which the whole campus grew.

Anonymous said...

It's not an historic home issue. ALL homes need to be maintained. To have an older home in good condition next to an unmaintained 'newer' home, or in the Historic Preservation Commission terms, a "Non-contributing" home isn't acceptable either. AS you know the maintenance of a home is not under the jurisdiction/enforcement of the Historic Preservation Commission.