September Decisions

Here’s a rundown of the wide variety of decisions and discussions this month.

The Historical Commission had previously determined that the house at 16 Foster Court is historically significant; we will vote on whether it is also preferably preserved at a special meeting, currently scheduled for October 3.

We also voted to lift the demo delay at 130 Boston. This property was found to be Preferably Preserved earlier in the year. We tabled the release of the demo delay at 20 Otis Street.

We reviewed the submission of an application for a demolition permit from 8 Hamlin Street; a vote on whether it is Historically Significant will take place next month.

In addition, property at 80 Canal was determined to be NOT Preferably Preserved, and the property at 11 Orchard was determined to be NOT Historically Significant. These applicants will be granted their demolition permits.

We did not receive an application for 31 South Street, which was on the agenda, so we were unable to proceed with review.

And finally, we determined the Shiloh Baptist Church of West Medford to be Historically Significant. This designation will support their application for Community Preservation funding.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the meeting. If you have items for next month’s agenda, PLEASE send them to us via email ahead of time.

August Business

At our August meeting, we received an application for a demo permit for 11 Orchard Street. This begins the demolition review process – next month we will assess the building’s historical significance. 75-77 West Street had also applied for a demo permit this month but they will not need to continue the review process; we reviewed their plans and the developer is doing interior renovations, not exterior work.

We also voted to lift the demo delay at 76 Sharon Street, where the developer created plans that preserved much of the historic character of the home. This property was found to be Preferably Preserved earlier in the year.

There was also some discussion of the house at 16 Foster Court; built between 1804 and 1814 it is one of Medford’s earliest surviving examples of a New England Cape Cod. The previous developer, who had been before the commission in 2019, has sold the property and redevelopment plans are now unclear.

We also discussed the Site Plan Reviews we are preparing for the Office of Planning, Development & Sustainability, for redevelopment at 595 Broadway (a residential building) and 162 Mystic Avenue (Medford’s cannabis dispensary).

Although a historic property on Canal Street is currently in the midst of the demo review process and has been on the agenda, the owner did not post their “demo permit applied” yard signs to alert neighbors, so the Preferably Preserved vote must be postponed until September.

Finally, we introduced Kit Nichols, who will become a new member of the Historical Commission, replacing Abigail Salerno who left the commission earlier this year.

July Decisions

At our well-attended July meeting, the house at 76 Sharon Street and the carriage house at 20 Otis Street were both determined to be Preferably Preserved. Thanks to the neighbors of both properties for joining the meeting to share their concerns. Hopefully, as plans progress, we can address these concerns with developers.

Whenever a building is found to be “preferably preserved” an 18-month delay of demolition is imposed, to give the applicant time to consider sale, renovation, reuse, relocation and other alternatives to demolition. However, the demolition delay may be lifted before the 18-month period, if a plan is developed that addresses the concerns of the public and the commission. The applicant is always invited to return to the Commission’s upcoming public meetings to present plans and alternatives and to discuss the preservation concerns that their neighbors and the commission have; often the applicant works directly with a subcommittee that can help them develop appropriate plans.

Carriage House at 20 Otis Street, Wellington Neighborhood

We also voted to lift the demo delay at 69 Jerome Street, in West Medford, where the developer created plans that preserved much of the historic character of the home. This property was found to be Preferably Preserved earlier in the year.

We reviewed the submission of an application for a demolition permit from 80 Canal Street, a property that was severely damaged by fire. Because this property is on the National Register of Historic Places, it is automatically considered to be of historical significance. This means that our vote on whether it’s preferably preserved will take place next month.

In addition, properties at 10 Newcomb Street, 85 Fern Road, 2-4 Capen Street and 50 Winthrop Street were determined to be NOT historically significant. Both the Capen Street and Winthrop are properties owned by Tufts, and their plans are to renovate these into small-scale student housing that retains the appearance of residential property.

July Agenda 2022

The July agenda is ready to share – ahead of next week’s meeting. Tune in and keep tabs on the changes afoot in your neighborhood. There are 2 votes – on the Preferably Preserved status of 76 Sharon Street and the carriage house at 80 Otis Street – plus we will be reviewing the submission of 1 application for demolition, and determining the historical significance of 6 properties.

June Decisions

At our busy June meeting, the house at 130 Boston Avenue was voted to be Preferably Preserved.

Whenever a building is found to be “preferably preserved” an 18-month delay of demolition is imposed, to give the applicant time to consider sale, renovation, reuse, relocation and other alternatives to demolition. However, the demolition delay may be lifted before the 18-month period, if a plan is developed that addresses the concerns of the public and the commission. The applicant is always invited to return to the Commission’s upcoming public meetings to present plans and alternatives and to discuss the preservation concerns that their neighbors and the commission have; often the applicant works directly with a subcommittee that can help them develop appropriate plans.

Both the carriage house at 20 Otis Street and the home at 76 Sharon Street were found to be historically significant. Public hearings, and votes, will be taken at next month’s meeting to determine if they are also preferably preserved.

The house at 136 Boston Avenue and the Bertucci’s building, at 4045 Mystic Valley Parkway, were determined to be NOT historically significant.

We also voted to lift the demo delay on both 17 Edward Street, in South Medford, and 78 Cotting Street, in Hillside. Both these properties were found to be Preferably Preserved earlier in the year.

We also reviewed the submission of applications for demolition permits from 4 properties: 10 Newcomb Street, 85 Fern Road, 50 Winthrop Street and 2-4 Capen Street. We will determine historical significance for these properties next month.

The owners at 43 Wright Avenue, who also submitted a demo application, were allowed to go ahead with their plans without further review, as the plans were determined to be minor renovations, not demolition. The owners at 80 Canal Street had requested to be on the agenda, but were not present.

Phew. Thanks to all who joined us, especially those who stayed til the very end ; )

June Meeting Materials

We have a packed meeting coming up. Here are the materials for the general public to read so you can follow along with the discussions:

130 Boston Avenue as seen from the sidewalk.

130 Boston Avenue: We will be determining the preferably preserved status of this late nineteenth century Queen Anne Victorian. You can read all about the home’s history in the MHC form B. This state level inventory form is the standard for all our determinations and is generally used for every building reviewed under the demolition delay ordinance.

130 Boston Avenue – MHC Form B

At our last meeting, we also voted to add additional contextual information for this and the other property along Boston Avenue up for review. Those forms are included here:

We will be receiving demolition applications for the following properties:

  • 10/12 Newcomb Street
  • 43 Wright Avenue
  • 85 Fern Road
  • 50 Winthrop Street
  • 2-4 Capen Street
  • 80 Canal Street

Following acceptance of these applications, we will proceed with determinations of significance. A building can be found significant for a number of reasons. Straight from the bylaw, a building is significant either because:

(1) Has been listed in or is the subject of a pending application for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; or

(2) Has been listed in the Massachusetts Register of Historic Places; or

(3)Was built within 75 years or older and which is determined by the commission to be a significant building as provided by subsection 48-78(d) either because:

a. It is importantly associated with one or more historic persons or events, or with the broad architectural, cultural, political, economic, or social history of the city or the commonwealth; or

b. It is historically or architecturally important in terms of period, style, method of building construction, or association with an important architect or builder, either by itself or in the context of a group of buildings.

The following buildings are up for review:

20 Otis Street: The applicants have proposed to demolish the adjacent carriage house. Their dwelling is a late nineteenth century Victorian situated in East Medford. This particular area is home to high concentrations of priority buildings.

76 Sharon Street: Another unique West Medford Victorian, this house is slated to be altered beyond recognition. The Commission will review the partial demolition and determine if the building meets the criteria for significance.

The interior of 76 Sharon Street in West Medford from Redfin.

136 Boston Avenue: This property has been halted by the building commissioner for failure to complete review under the demolition delay ordinance. The building is being reviewed after demolition has taken place to determine if the remaining integrity warrants additional review.

4054 Mystic Valley Parkway: The applicants of this building are proposing total demolition to make way for new lab and office space.

The Commission provided comments on this project as part of ongoing site plan review. As part of this, we were deeply concerned that the plan does not take into account the impacts to the adjacent parkway, nor the adjacent art decco building at 4068 Mystic Valley Parkway. You can see that form below:

There are a few projects currently under delay which we will take up discussion for release:

  • 17 Edwards Street – The Commission has completed documentation of this building and is ready to release the delay.
  • 78 Cotting Street – The Commission subcommittee presented the proposed design which mitigates demolition to this important early nineteenth century resource. The Commission will debate lifting the delay this evening. Please see prior months for the architectural plans, which have been posted for a month.

The Commission will share plans for 69 Jerome and post them up here once the subcommittee has completed review of final tweaks by the homeowner.

There are new developments at 15 Hadley Place, which apparently no longer calls for demolition of the existing structure. The Commission will review the changed scope of work.

Beyond the above, we will provide updates to all the great projects which are happening in the City! These are exciting times! We hope to see you this evening!

June Agenda 2022

The June agenda is ready to share – ahead of next week’s meeting. Tune in and keep tabs on the changes afoot in your neighborhood. There is one vote – on the Preferably Preserved status of 130 Boston Ave, in West Medford – plus we will be reviewing the submission of 6 applications for demolition, and determining the historical significance of 4 properties.