January Agenda

It’s a great month to check in and see how the Historical Commission works – we’ve got properties at all stages of the demo review process. Application, determination of historical significance and a vote on preferably preserved status.

Plus, updates on the Thomas Brooks Park project and our ongoing city-wide survey of historical properties – this year our architectural historians will look at some yet unstudied corners of Medford: the old Brickyards, Mystic Park and Fulton Heights.

Here’s this month’s agenda – and all the minutes and agenda from the past few years!!

November Meeting Materials

The Medford Historical Commission will host a public meeting on Monday, November 14, 2022. The agenda is enclosed for those who want to follow along. The meeting is via Zoom, or it is sometimes broadcast on Medford Community Media. A recording is also available a day or two following so you can watch this and past meetings in the archive hosted on their website.

There are two buildings which will be reviewed for significance. The first is 31 South Street, a nineteenth century residential duplex that is slated to be altered beyond recognition. The second is 180 Lincoln Road which will be totally demolished and new building replacing the existing at a later time. The Commission will use the enclosed inventory forms to base their opinions.

The remainder of the meeting will be dedicated to project updates. As always, we welcome community participation. If you have any questions, please email us anytime!

October Meeting Materials

The Medford Historical Commission will hold its October meeting on Monday, October 17 at 7PM via Zoom. Our agenda has been posted to our website but you can also find it here:

The Commission will receive two applications. The first is for a residential dwelling at 31 South Street, which is slated to be altered beyond recognition and is therefore subject to the demolition delay review. The second is a total demolition for the building located at 180 Lincoln Road in Medford.

The Commission will then move forward with a determination of significance for 8 Hamlin Avenue. This building appears to be a late 19th century house that was altered following a major fire. It’s present appearance is more in line with the other 20th century buildings in East Medford.

As a reminder, you can learn all about our demolition delay process on our page here and in our application package. The public is always welcome to engage in the process. We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting.

October Hearing Materials

The Medford Historical Commission will hold a public hearing on the demolition of 16 Foster Court to determine if the demolition is detrimental to the historical, architectural, or cultural resources of the City of Medford. The meeting agenda and related materials are included below. Hope to see you there!

16 Foster Court, an early nineteenth century cape. This resource is one a handful of early buildings in East Medford.

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.