New tool for dealing with Teardowns
Sadly, New Jersey still ranks number one (#1) in the nation for the frequency of teardowns, the insidious phenomenon of older homes being demolished and replaced with much larger, out-of-scale new structures. The historic character of existing neighborhoods is dramatically altered and neighborhood livability declines as trees are removed, backyards are eliminated, and sunlight is blocked by towering new “McMansions” built up to the property lines. Economic and social diversity is diminished as huge new houses replace affordable homes. Preservation NJ highlighted this trend by naming “Teardowns” in our 2007 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites list, while NJN-TV’s recent program, Our Vanishing Past, depicted the out-of-control teardown trend in towns such as Wyckoff (Bergen County).
Now, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has had a long and active interest in the teardown problem, has published an extensive online resource, Teardown Tools on the Web, which provides an easy-to-share, user-friendly, one-stop-shop highlighting approximately 30 tools and more than 300 examples of best practices being used around the country. It’s very interactive and will be a terrific tool for preservationists, community and neighborhood leaders, planners and elected officials. Go to the Trust’s Teardowns website and scroll down to “Resources” to find the .pdf link to the Tools.