LONG HILL TOWNSHIP
HISTORIC PRESERVATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE
915 VALLEY ROAD, GILLETTE, NJ 07933
Millington School / Old Long Hill (Passaic Township)Town Hall
Township Committee Meeting February 8, 2006
from a postcard, 1950s
Very brief history:
1871 Property acquired by The Trustees of Millington School District #4 of Passaic from James Jackson, et. al. Morris County Deed Book D 8, p. 395. One of six schools in system in 1910: (Millington (1871), Elm Street (1888), Long Hill Rd. (1826). Pleasant Plains (1888), Logansville, New Vernon).
Town Hall since 1928- municipal renovations ca. 1928 (plus later additions)
Concurrent school/municipal use 1928-33 after Central school opened
Vacated after move to New Town Hall October-November 2003 after 75 years; 132 yrs old at the time
Currently mothballed at cost of several thousand dollars per year
Reasons to Keep It:
Oldest Local Cultural Resource
Touchstone to town's history
...... Icon of the town's image
Last remaining heritage building in local inventory.
Sets tone and scale for Master Plan guidelines.
Makes a statement of continuity about the town's personality.
Is a truer representative of Passaic Twp../East Jersey architectural style than any newer buildings (including new Town Hall).
Once it's gone, it's gone.
Converted to residential or teardown/rebuild site would likely contribute to tax burden--the chasing ratables fallacy.
Taxes on 1/4 acre property negligible in township-wide tax aggregate.
Teardown/rebuild on small site would limit allowable home to very modest dimensions (i.e. generate low tax revenue).
Sale revenue would be a one-time budget gift.
There are a variety of possible reuses to be discussed.
What Other Towns Do:
Most have at least one non-producing building in municipal inventory as cultural heritage resource.
...... Morris County partial list *
...... Somerset. Union **
Bad examples: Livingston (Essex)--almost none; has completely lost its connection to its rural origins. No public structures remain except for several severely altered schools and one old house.
What To Do With It:
Historical Society museum, archive and meeting space under granted use of the space or minimal rent payment.
School history program in conjunction with Board of Ed curriculum (Florham Park).
Rental of meeting space to other organizations.
Rental of office side to regional nonprofit or branch of regional government; shared access to meeting hall.
After care center (Long Hill Board of Ed, Berkeley Heights Y, Somerset Hills Y).
Any low-impact use that will not burden the neighborhood.
(note: The residents of Elm Street generally opposed altering their familiar streetscape in 1996; supported low-impact reuse over new residential construction)
Overflow storage for Long Hill Municipal government and services.
Old building will require maintenance and upkeep over time (roof, heating, drainage, etc.)
Good point: already meets ADA accessibility requirements; could be improved with alterations.
There appears to be no additional cost for Joint Insurance Fund coverage.
Town may not want to become a landlord but there are ways to deal with that; operating foundations, etc.
As discovered with the Elm Street School sale, municipal properties must be sold at auction and that property could not have deed restrictions, such as architectural requirements or added historic deed restrictions and easements. A potential buyer would be free to do anything that conforms to local planning and zoning.
The best way to guarantee the streetscape on Long Hill Road will remain the same is for the Township to continue to own the property and structure.
* Other Towns; Morris County Historic Trust municipal recipients: