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New Jersey Register of Historic Places Act Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:4, Readopted with
Technical Changes

Effective July 2, 2015

Since 1970, the State of New Jersey has recognized and protected historic properties with a straightforward and effective law, the New Jersey Register of Historic Places Act (N.J.S.A. 13:1B-15.128 et seq.). The law allows historic properties to be nominated and entered in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places, which is maintained by the Historic Preservation Office. Once a property is listed in the New Jersey Register, any public undertaking that would "encroach upon, damage or destroy" the registered historic property must by reviewed pursuant to this law and receive prior authorization from the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. Strictly private undertakings are not reviewable.

Review Steps


The procedures implementing review under the New Jersey Register of Historic Places Act are outlined in N.J.A.C. 7:4, and consist of the following steps:

  • Submission of an Application for Project Authorization;
  • HPO review for determination of Encroachment or No Encroachment;
  • Review by the Historic Sites Council for those projects deemed Encroachments. Projects that do not constitute an encroachment are approved administratively;
  • Final action by the Commissioner based on HPO and Historic Sites Council recommendations

Application for Project Authorization


(PDF Format)

The Application for Project Authorization must be submitted by any state, county, or local government agency (or their lessees or agents) whose project, or undertaking, may encroach upon a New Jersey Register listed property. Applications must be technically complete and sufficient in order for the review process to begin; therefore, applicants are encouraged to contact the HPO as early in the planning process as possible to discuss the undertaking.

Examples of undertakings requiring New Jersey Register authorization include: rehabilitations, alterations, demolitions, relocations, acquisitions, sales, leases, transfers of deed, and easements. The following examples would not be considered undertakings: changes in local zoning, issuance of building or demolition permits to private entities, and routine maintenance.


Encroachments are those undertakings which adversely effect listed properties. An effect occurs when an undertaking impacts the historic characteristics for which a property is listed in the New Jersey Register. These effects may be beneficial or adverse, and may be direct or indirect. When such effects adversely impact the property, and do not meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties, the project is considered an encroachment. Examples of encroachments include demolition of a contributing resource in a historic district, the taking of property from a historic resource, or the alteration of key character-defining elements of a listed property.

Based on review by HPO staff, a project determined not to be an encroachment will be authorized in writing within forty-five days of receipt of the technically complete application. Projects determined to constitute an encroachment are submitted to the Historic Sites Council for review.

Historic Sites Council

2024 Meeting Schedule:

  • February 14
  • April 17
  • June 20
  • August 15
  • October 17
  • December 19

(Agendas PDF format)

The Historic Sites Council is a gubernatorially appointed body of eleven citizens created to advise the Commissioner. The Council reviews proposed "encroachments" at an open public meeting, and makes a recommendation to the Commissioner for final action. The Historic Preservation Office acts as staff to the Historic Sties Council. The Historic Sites Council meets on the third Thursday of every other month. Meetings typically begin at 10:00 AM.

Public notice of the meeting is provided by both the HPO and the applicant. The HPO notifies the Secretary of State, the chief elected local official, and major circulation newspapers in the project area, while the applicant must notify directly affected property owners, local historical societies and historic preservation commissions, relevant local agencies concerned with historic preservation, and relevant Statewide preservation organizations.

At the meeting, the applicant is given an opportunity to present the application and interested members of the public are provided with an opportunity to comment on the project. After receiving the applicant's and public comments, the Council makes a formal recommendation to the Commissioner. In considering the application, the Historic Sites Council evaluates whether the undertaking is in conformance with the above referenced criteria and standards, the public benefit of the proposed undertaking, potential prudent and feasible alternatives, and the measures taken to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the encroachment.

Meeting Location:

Until further notice, all HSC meetings will be held virtually. See the current agenda for meeting details and links.

Meeting Time: 10:00am

All HSC meetings take place on the 3rd Thursday of the month, unless otherwise noted.

Click the dates at left for the agenda (PDF Format) or contact the HPO for times and locations.

Final Action

Based on the recommendations of the Council, the Commissioner may:

  • Authorize the encroachment as described in the application;
  • Authorize the encroachment with conditions;
  • Temporarily deny the application based on the need for additional information or exploration of additional alternatives; or
  • Deny the application with specific reasons.

The Commissioner's final decision must be rendered within 120 days of receipt of the technically complete application.


Forms and Publications:

  1. Application Form and Instructions (PDF Format)
  2. New Jersey Register of Historic Places Act (N.J. S.A. 13:1B-15.128 et seq.) (HTML)
  3. New Jersey Register Review Procedures (PDF Format)
  4. Five Minute Look at New Jersey Register Reviews (PDF Format)
  5. Alternatives Analysis Outline for Protecting Buildings (PDF Format)

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 2024
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: May 28, 2021