Redevelopment to Include Historic Home

By Grant, Meghan | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), February 8, 2018 | Go to article overview

Redevelopment to Include Historic Home


Grant, Meghan, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


RUTHERFORD – Mindful of the objections of the Historic Preservation Committee and public, a future redevelopment plan for the Meadow Road redevelopment area will "take the historic nature" of the Kip Homestead into account.

The Planning Board and borough fell short of removing the Kip's parcel from the zone, however, despite removing two others.

Last summer, the mayor and Borough Council commissioned T&M Associates – funded by contract land purchaser Madison Hill Properties LLC – to perform an investigative study about whether a neighborhood where East Erie Avenue connects with Meadow Road meets the criteria to be declared an area in need of redevelopment. In January, the mayor and council approved the Planning Board's recommendation to authorize the designation and begin a redevelopment plan.

Within the newly created redevelopment zone is the Kip Homestead. Built in 1743, prior to the American Revolution, the stone farmhouse is the last of what was once dozens of homes along the old Polifly Road that served Bergen County's political and economic elite up until the Civil War.

Inclusion of the Kip Homestead in the zone has made borough history buffs worried about the homestead's future.

The Rutherford Historic Preservation Committee has requested "prudent attention" be given to protecting the integrity of the Kip Homestead, asking for an advisory role in proceedings.

"The HPC does not wish to become an obstacle to redevelopment but does not want valuable National, State and local historic assets damaged or destroyed for the sake of a development plan," wrote Chairman John Trosky.

"We wish to work with the Mayor, Borough Council, property owners, developers and other interested parties to come up with a workable solution that will satisfy the needs of historic preservation and also allow a sensitive redevelopment plan to move forward if that is what the Borough Council chooses to do. The HPC hopes to engage the use of an historic preservation consultant to help determine the precise historical attributes of this home such as building methods, unique features, condition and historic alterations."

Committee consultant Carla Cielo also penned a letter to the Planning Board about the Kip Homestead.

During a Dec. 21, 2017 hearing, the Planning Board discussed whether or not to recommend the area in need of redevelopment designation to the mayor and council.

Jeff Cucinotta of T&M Associates said that, while the rear of the Kip Homestead lot was included, the building itself – listed on the National Historic Register – was not designated by the study.

T&M's report noted the Kip Homestead had "a falling roof and soffits."

The home is privately owned by Richard Brooks.

"The report does not anticipate what could, or what might or what should, depending on the opinion, happen to the property, but rather the conditions on site," said Cucinotta.

The Kip Homestead is the "oldest house in the Borough of Rutherford," said Teddy Van Winkle, whose great-grandfather once owned the house.

"An old Dutch farmhouse which, although it has become dated in some areas, the foundation for the most part is real solid and has been that way for 300 years, and will probably be that way for another 300 hours," said Van Winkle. "I hate to see this disappear, because there are only a few of them left in Bergen County, and only one left in Rutherford, and that's it."

A planner representing Madison Hill Properties, Steven Lydon, testified that Rutherford should consider a piecemeal approach to the redevelopment declaration – breaking up the proposed redevelopment zone into smaller plans and areas.

As each would be evaluated individually, it would make the process easier, said Lydon.

The board opted not to split up the study area.

People seeking to protect the Kip Homestead agreed with Lydon's piecemeal approach, maintaining that the historic plot should be removed. …

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