Certificate of Appropriateness & Total Demolition

Certificate of Appropriateness

A Certificate of Appropriateness is a document issued by the Historic Preservation Commission that approves of certain modifications to Local Historic Landmarks and properties within Local Historic DistrictsApplications for a Certificate of Appropriateness can be filed to the Department of Planning & Community Development.

As detailed in Montclair Code § 347-136, modifications to these properties that require a Certificate of Appropriateness include the following:

  • Demolition or construction, either by addition or alteration (excludes total demolition, see below)
  • Relocation of a structure
  • Change in the exterior elevation or any improvement by addition, alteration or replacement
  • Any new construction of a principal or accessory structure
  • Any change in existing, or addition of new signage or exterior lighting

The following modifications to these properties DO NOT require a Certificate of Appropriateness:

  • Changes to interior
  • Changes not visible to the public, other than relocation or demolition
  • Repair or exact replacement of any existing improvement, provided that the work does not alter the exterior appearance.  The following are permitted repairs:
    • Identical replacement of existing windows and doors
    • Repairs of existing windows and doors and the installation of storm doors and windows that do not change their design, scale or appearance.
    • Maintenance and repair of existing roofing materials involving no change in the design, scale or appearance of the structure
    • Structural repairs which do not alter the exterior appearance
    • Replacement of existing clapboards, shingles or other siding with identical material.
    • Maintenance and repair of existing clapboards, shingles or other siding (including masonry) involving no change in the design, scale or appearance
    • Exterior or interior painting

However, any proposed modifications to a Local Historic Landmark or a property within a Local Historic District that is part of an Application for Development to either the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment, is exempt from the requirement of a Certificate of Appropriateness, as noted in Montclair Code § 347-136(A).  In these instances, the Application will be referred to the Historic Preservation Commission for advice to the respective Board to assist in decision-making, pursuant to Montclair Code § 347-142.


Total Demolition

Total demolition, defined below, in designated historic areas in the Township are subject to the Demolition of Historic Structures ordinance. Approval authority for total demolition of historic buildings, sites, and structures rests with the Historic Preservation Commission. There is a specific application form that must be filled out and submitted to the Planning Department for processing.

Definitions from Montclair Code § 347-142.1

Total Demolition: For purposes of this section the razing, dismantling or destruction of substantially all of any building or of any publicly visible facade wall, including removal of a building from its site, which may or may not include the foundation. "Total demolition" is to be distinguished from "demolition" as defined at § 347-128, which is a broader category that includes total demolition. "Substantially all" of a building means at least 50% of the exterior walls.

Historic Structure: Includes any property 1) in a federally, state- or locally designated historic zoning district; or 2) on a federally, state- or locally designated historic site identified on the Zoning or Official Map; or 3) identified as historic or potentially historic in the Historic Preservation Element of the Master Plan with a documented historic survey filed with the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office. The Department of Planning and Community Development shall maintain a list of properties deemed to be historic structures, and a notation to that effect added to the property record in the Tax Assessor's office.

See the Total Demolition Properties Map to find out if the demolition ordinance applies to your property.