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Lieberman Blecher and Historic Paulus Hook Association Successfully Save Historic Jersey City Buildings from Demolition

Lieberman Blecher & Sinkevich, P.C. successfully represented the Historic Paulus Hook Association before the Jersey City Zoning Board on June 7, protecting two historic buildings from demolition.

In 2018, St. Peter’s Preparatory School filed an application with the Jersey City Historic Preservation Commission requesting a certificate of appropriateness for demolition of two 19th-century buildings formerly used as St. Peter’s Grammar School. St. Peter’s sought to demolish the two buildings, constructed circa 1861 and 1898 in the historic Paulus Hook neighborhood, due to what it argued were serious structural problems. A number of residents opposed the demolition of the building at hearings before the Historic Preservation Commission in 2018 and 2019, and the Commission denied the application, holding that there was not sufficient evidence that the buildings, which are historically significant, needed to be torn down.

In 2019, St. Peter’s filed an appeal with the Zoning Board, which was heard this June. On behalf of the Historic Paulus Hook Association, Stuart Lieberman successfully argued that the Zoning Board must uphold the prior decision of the Historic Preservation Commission because the Commission had based its decision on substantial evidence. With the testimony of engineer Don Friedman, historic preservation expert Michael Lynch, and architect and president of the Historic Paulus Hook Association Diane Kaese, Mr. Lieberman demonstrated to the Board that there was not sufficient evidence presented that the buildings had to be destroyed. A number of residents commented in support of the Commission’s decision and urged the Board to uphold the decision.

After over six hours of testimony, the Board upheld the Historic Preservation Commission’s determination, denying St. Peter’s Prep’s application, and ensuring that these two historic buildings will not be demolished.

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