Historic Preservation and Parks Commission
A community’s historic and aesthetic resources define its personality and reflect its unique character. Historic preservation and parkland add to the quality of its residents’ lives, creating a more livable place. The Montebello Historic Preservation and Parks Commission (HPPC), formed by the merger of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the Parks Commission in 2019, is charged with preserving the historic and aesthetic character of our buildings, neighborhoods, and parklands. Ongoing commitment to preserving our history and green space and dedication to its stewardship is the mission of the Montebello HPPC. The HPPC consists of seven full-time members and two ad-hoc members, charged with protecting and advocating for the Village’s historic and aesthetic resources, in addition to reviewing requests for historic designation of individual properties or districts.
The past is not the property of historians; it is a public
possession. It belongs to anyone who is aware of it, and
it grows by being shared. It sustains the whole society,
which always needs the identity that only the past can give.
– Dr. Walter Havighurst, With Heritage So Rich
The Montebello Historic Preservation and Parks Commission (HPPC) is charged with preserving the historic nature of our buildings and neighborhoods. As such, it is the HPPC’s duty to review requests for designation of a local landmark or historic district.
Since the creation of the original HPC in 2004, the Village has designated four properties as Historic Local Landmarks: “Montebello,” the mansion and property at Montebello Park; the Fant Farm Property (Red Barn) on Spook Rock Road; the Morse Cottage, which houses Village Hall on Montebello Road; and the Johnson Farm Property on Viola Road.
Historic designation of your home means that the Village of Montebello recognizes your property as historically significant to our community. Designation of your historic home adds you to a long line of people who wish to sustain and strengthen this history and make sure it is available to future generations. Designating your historic home is an important step in becoming part of the endeavor to preserve our collective identity as a Village.
The request for historic designation may be made by any person through submission of a written application setting forth the basis for the designation. The HPPC may also act on its own to recommend designation of a local landmark or historic district.
The criteria for designation of a landmark include an association with events in local history or the lives of significant historical figures; distinctive architecture or a unique location or physical characteristics. A historic district should contain multiple properties that meet one or more of the criteria and because of those characteristics, constitute a distinct section of the Village.
Upon recommendation of landmark or historic district status by the HPPC, the Village Board holds a public hearing before making a final determination on the historic preservation application.
Historic preservation, by designation of landmark status, insures that significant and unique properties within our Village will retain their characteristics for the benefit of all residents.
What does it mean to “designate” my property?
Designation of a property establishes a legacy for future generations, whether it is for your family or another. It allows certain protections to make sure that the property is kept in good repair and sustained for future generations. A property evaluation for historic designation would assess your property on the following criteria:
- Is it associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of the history of the Village of Montebello, Rockland County, the Hudson River Valley region, New York State or the United States of America;
- Is it associated with the lives of persons significant in our past;
- Does it embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction or that represent the work of a master or that possesses high artistic values or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction;
- Has it yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history; or
- Does it represent an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood in which it is situated because of unique location or singular physical characteristic.
(Village of Montebello Code, Article XI; Section 195-60 Historic Preservation Commission)
What is historic designation?
Designation means that the Village of Montebello officially recognizes your property as being significant to the community because of its historic associations, its architectural features or both.
Do I benefit from historic designation of my property?
Yes, designation brings many benefits, including:
- Improved property values and protection of the value of your investment. It has been found that historic designation of a property increases the desirability of a building. Historic buildings tend to attract a wider market and a higher selling price than non-historic properties.
- Protection of a group of properties (known as a Historic District) which help protect your neighborhood against unwelcome development.
- Protection of any restoration you have made on your property. Future owners will preserve your hard work and honor your dedication.
- Potential local, state and federal tax benefits (depends on whether you are listed on a Local, State or National Registry).
- The pride in the knowledge that you are part of preserving the heritage of your community for generations to come.
Why should I be care about preserving my property?
With such a rich history, the area that comprises the Village of Montebello boasts over 300 historic properties. All too often, historic properties are razed in favor of something new and fresh without a thought to what these actions do to destroy a community’s heritage and identity. Historic designation preserves the face of our historic properties to chronicle the dedication and craftsmanship of generations of tradespeople who built these houses. The architecture tells a story that defines who we are and how we evolved. Our story would be lost if we did not preserve the valuable resources that we possess.
Does it cost me anything to designate my property?
No. Historic designation honors and enriches your property, giving you the pride of knowing that you are part of something that will endure. In fact, there are potential economic benefits to designating your property through tax credits and increase in property value.
Will historic designation raise my property taxes?
No. In fact, you may be eligible for tax credits.
What happens next if my property is considered historically significant?
If your home is designated, you would be required to retain the integrity of the property’s facade so that its significant historic elements remain visible. To make sure that this is honored, any exterior change must be approved by the Village, however, this does not mean that changes cannot be made to a historically designated property. Exterior alterations that are in keeping with the integrity of the historic nature of the building would be reviewed by the village for appropriateness. Interior changes are not subject to review.
Anyone can request a designation through submitting an application at Village Hall. If you have a historic home and would like more information about Historic Designation for your property, please call Montebello Village Hall at 845-368-2211 or stop by to pick up a “Request for Evaluation” application. Come and join us in being a part of our history!
Protecting this country’s heritage—from fishing villages to city neighborhoods, from barns to courthouses, from historic bridges to older schools, from urban parks to rural landscapes—will help make America a better place…Preservation ensures that future generations will have a past to appreciate. Preservation is more than just saving buildings, a house museum here and there. It’s about creating and enhancing environments that support, inform, and enrich the lives of all Americans. – Richard Moe, Forum New
Download the Village of Montebello final version of the Historic Resource Survey August 2010.
- Lisa Levin, Chairperson
- Bill Ellsworth
- Robert Israel
- Dorice Madronero
- Rosemary Mocio
- Tony Piazza
- Josh Goldstein
- Matthew Moetzinger
- Craig Long, Village Historian
For more information about Montebello and local, state, and national historic preservation, please explore the following websites:
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route
“In 1781, General Rochambeau’s French Army joined forces with General Washington’s Continental Army to fight the British Army in Yorktown, Virginia. With the French Navy in support, the allied armies moved hundreds of miles to become the largest troop movement of the American Revolution. The effort and cooperation between the two sides led to a victory at Yorktown and secured American independence.” (National Park Service, Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route).
Known as the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, the Rockland County portion of this historic route, which Rochambeau, his 5,000 French troops and the allied armies followed, ran from Haverstraw to Suffern. The Montebello portion of the route ran along its historic roads: Viola Road, onto Route 202 (Haverstraw Road), onto Lake Road, to Memorial Drive, and then back on to Route 202 on the way to the Village of Suffern. These roads are designated under Montebello’s Historic and Scenic Roads Overlay District
The Historical Society of Rockland County
The Historical Society of Rockland County is a museum and
educational organization dedicated to engaging diverse audiences
in a dynamic dialogue about the rich historical heritage of the County.
The Historical Society of Rockland County (HSRC), located at the National Register listed Jacob Blauvelt House property (which includes the c.1832 house and Dutch style barn) in New City, New York, is an excellent resource dedicated to the history of Rockland County. The Jacob Blauvelt House offers a comprehensive view into the life of a typical middle class Rockland County family in the early to mid-19th century. The HSRC also maintains a large collection of Rockland County artifacts and its research library preserves a comprehensive collection of archival materials associated with the county’s history.
Hudson River Valley Heritage (HRVH)
The Hudson River Valley Heritage website features digitized collections from a variety of libraries and cultural institutions in the Hudson River Valley. Featuring historic photographs, newspapers, exhibits, maps and much more, HRVH is a great resource that provides a fascinating view of what makes the region’s people and places so unique.
New York Heritage
A collaboration of eight Empire State Library Network members, the New York Heritage website provides a comprehensive look at the historic places and people of New York State. Featuring links to digitized photographs, documents, newspapers, maps, archival materials, letters and more, these items are held in libraries throughout New York State.
National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been the leader in the historic preservation movement for the past 70 years. Its mission is to save the country’s historic sites, provide a historic narrative using the built environment, and encourage future investment in preservation so that people can not only read about the country’s history, but they can also see and experience it. Information on the process of designating your home (on a national level) can also be found on this website.
Meeting Minutes (including HPC, Parks, and HPPC)
Please check the Village calendar for Meetings Dates and Times.
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