Riverton Borough Council takes a big step toward preservation!

Riverton moves decisively to preserve our Historic Sites and District.

Last night’s Council meeting in Riverton was a gratifying example of a town’s people all working together as colleagues toward a common goal: stopping teardowns.

Council voted unanimously to introduce a strong new ordinance and move on quickly to Second Reading and a vote.

That vote will take place in a full public hearing in the Riverton School gym on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 6:00 pm (note early time). Please come!

A complete copy of the ordinance should be forthcoming from the Borough Solicitor for release to the public in the next day or so and we will post it here for everyone to read closely.

This new ordinance is based on one of the ordinances from the towns that were specifically mentioned by the Judge at Superior Court when she threw out Riverton’s old ordinance on January 25, 2023. It was modified somewhat for Riverton’s own needs.

Its tough language also parallels ordinances from other beautiful, historic towns in New Jersey who protect their historic charm from teardowns.

402 Midway, the Richardson home, in happier times.

This ordinance was adapted by the ad hoc citizens’ “Historic Preservation Roundtable” that was convened by the HSR after a developer’s lawsuit prompted Superior Court to throw out our old ordinance last January. Pursuant to State law, it will create a Historic Preservation Commission in parallel with the Planning Board.

Simply put, Riverton’s will require review of all demolitions in the Historic District, specifying that a home can only be destroyed if it can be proven that there is no choice available to the owner other than demolition.

Other changes to exterior appearance will continue to be addressed in non-binding advisory services, just as they have for many years with the Architectural Review Committee (whose duties will now be folded into the new HPC).

There continues to be no regulation of paint colors or interiors.

Last night, the Mayor and all Councilmembers spoke strongly in favor of this new ordinance and were deeply appreciative of the volunteer work the Roundtable has put into its creation. The vote to approve introduction was unanimous.

Proudly and unmistakably telling the world that you are crossing the border into a very special place.

It was very gratifying to see an overflow crowd in Borough Hall, with many more attending via Zoom. During the public comment period, there was not a single comment in opposition and many urged moving as quickly as possible, as the Judge’s decision has left our beautiful historic homes defenseless.

The recent demolitions have deeply shaken many of us who love Historic Riverton.

There is good reason to hope that our town will soon have the tools to keep Historic Riverton looking like Historic Riverton for generations to come.

Thanks to everyone’s vocal support for preservation! Persistence pays off.

The Historical Society of Riverton is a 501(c)3 charitable educational organization founded in 1970 to bring together people interested in history, especially the history of the Borough of Riverton, New Jersey.

It’s easy to join us. Dues are very affordable and an active membership amplifies our voice in the community. Larger donations leverage strong volunteerism to make many of our more significant educational and outreach efforts happen. Please click here to help!

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Thank you and please spread the word about Historic Riverton, Everyone’s Home Town!

Published by

Roger Prichard

Roger is a board member of the Historical Society of Riverton, the Borough Historian, and the researcher and author of most of HSR's historical interpretive markers.

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