Frequently Asked Questions

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has compiled a list of frequently asked questions that will help when filing a Certificate of Approval (CoA) application. This list will be posted on the website for quick reference.

What is the purpose of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC)? HPC is charged to follow the rules and regulations put forth according to Township Code Chapter 21 and 93. The purpose of Chapter 93 is to implement the historic preservation element of the Master Plan, to provide guidance to property owners in achieving preservation of historic resources and to advance the public welfare in or to:

  •  Safeguard the heritage of the Township by preserving resources that reflect elements of the Township’s cultural, social, agricultural, economic, archeological, scenic and architectural history.
  • Encourage the continued use of historic sites and intervening and surrounding properties in historic districts and to facilitate their appropriate reuse.
  • Maintain and develop an appropriate and harmonious setting for historic resources within Cranbury Township.
  • Encourage any alteration or new construction to be in keeping with the historic character of the Township.
  • Discourage the unnecessary demolition, alteration or removal of historic resources.
  • Encourage the proper maintenance and preservation of historic settings and landscapes
  • Enhance the visual, aesthetic, and historic character of the Township.
  • Promote the conservation of historic sites and districts and invite voluntary compliance with the standards of Township Code 93.
  • Foster civic pride in the beauty and historic roots of the Township.

Does my project need to be reviewed by HPC? Properties located within the designated Historic Districts must submit a Certificate of Approval (CoA) for any exterior work that will be performed on the property. CoA applications that need review are:

  • a demolition or relocation of any building, improvement, or structure are considered major changes. 
  • changes in exterior appearance of any building, improvement, site, place or structure by addition, reconstruction, alteration or repair;
  • any addition to or new construction of a principal or accessory building or structure; any addition of signs or exterior lighting or changes to same.

Ordinary repairs are defined as repairs of any deterioration, wear or damage to a structure or any part thereof in order to return the same as nearly as practicable to its condition prior to the occurrence of such deterioration, wear, or damage with in-kind material and quality workmanship. Ordinary maintenance shall further include in-kind replacement of exterior elements, signs or accessory hardware, using the same materials and workmanship and having the same appearance. This type of repair does not need HPC review but an application should be submitted with details for a determination. Improvement projects for fences, signs, lighting, doors, windows, roofs, paving, exterior sheathing, trim, shutters, gutters, or streetscape work that strictly comply with the adopted design guidelines for the proposed improvement are considered minor application. Review of a complete application will determine the type. Changes to the interior of a building or structure do not need HPC review. 

How do I obtain a Certificate of Approval? A Certificate of Approval (CoA) can be found on the Cranbury Township’s website under Forms Permits and Licenses. The CoA can also be obtained at Town Hall.

Where do I submit my Certificate of Approval application? Applications can be mailed to or dropped off at Town Hall, 23A North Main Street, Cranbury, NJ, 08512. Once received, the application will be reviewed for completeness. The check list on Page 3 of 7 of the CoA application will aid in supplying the appropriate documents for completeness. Once deemed complete, the application shall be placed on the next meeting’s agenda for the Historic Preservation Commission. Completed applications must be received 10 days prior to the scheduled meeting date to be placed on the agenda. If deemed incomplete, the Administrative Officer will notify the applicant within 10 days of filing that the application is lacking. 

When does the Historic Preservation Commission meet? The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) meets in Town Hall, scheduled on the first and third Tuesday of each month. The meetings begin at 7:30 pm. There is a possibility that a meeting may be cancelled. Please refer to the Cranbury Township website.

What is the cost for me to submit a Certificate of Approval? There is no cost to submit an application. All HPC volunteers give freely of their time and expertise. 

I want to paint my house, does this need HPC review? HPC does not require that an application be submitted when a building or structure is being painted. However, if repair and or replacement of deteriorated building elements will be performed, approval may be required. Please call the Administrative Officer at 609-664-3140 for further details.

Copies of the Historic Preservation Ordinance and The Design Guidelines can be found on the Township website. To view Township Code Chapter 93 visit. To view the Design Guidelines on the HPC webpage visit.

Additional helpful links: