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.

May Meeting Materials

We have a busy month coming up and we want to make sure that information is readily available to the general public so they may submit comments at or in advance of the meeting on May 9. In this post, you will find the MHC forms for the various demolition delays, as well as some updates on projects that we are working on with applicants already under delay. Our agenda has been posted on our website. If there are questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out. Comments always welcome in advance of the meeting and may be submitted via email or regular mail (via City Hall).

Public Hearing – 69 Jerome Street:

69 Jerome Street as seen from the sidewalk. The building was constructed by noted designer and builder Moses W. Mann of West Medford.

The Commission will hold a public hearing to determine if the partial demolition of 69 Jerome Street is detrimental to the resources of the City of Medford. Information for the property can be found below:

Click here for the neighborhood overview for West Medford from the Survey Plan.

Determination of Significance:

The Medford Historical Commission will determine significance of the following properties:

130 Boston Avenue:

52 Allston Street:

232 Fulton Street:

146 Summer Street:

Site Plan Review4054 Mystic Valley Parkway:

The Commission will be receiving and accepting the demolition application for the Bertuccis building at 4054 Mystic Valley Parkway. We have also been invited to comment on the proposed development. The industrial brick building was constructed c. 1945 as a potato factory and has undergone a number of transformations over the years. The Commission will be determining significance at the June meeting. In the meantime, you can read the form below.

The public should be aware that information about the proposed development, which is currently undergoing review by other boards, can be found on the City of Medford’s website.

4068 Mystic Valley Parkway:

4068 Mystic Valley Parkway – the WEEI Radio Transmission Station. Built in 1936, it is one of the oldest radio buildings in the Commonwealth.

We commissioned this form in response to proposed development located at 4054 Mystic Valley Parkway. The WEEI building is an important example of Art Decco architecture. It is still used as a radio broadcast station and has been recommended for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Coming Up for Review:

The Commission will be accepting applications for the demolition of the following properties:
– 20 Otis Street Carriage House
– 76 Sharon Street
– 136 Boston Avenue
– 4054 Mystic Valley Parkway (already mentioned above)
Information and Forms will be posted before the next meeting.

76 Sharon Street, an intricate nineteenth century Victorian building slated to altered beyond recognition and subject to review under the demolition delay ordinance.

Demolition Delay Committee Updates:

78 Cotting Street: The demolition delay subcommittee provided initial comments to the owners of 78 Cotting Street. The owner’s architect has made changes which seek to mitigate the demolition proposed for the building. The Commission invites the public to review the proposed plans and provide feedback, either in advance of, or at the meeting. The latest version is at the bottom of this list.The Commission will then review the next steps, if any, for the project.

February Meeting Materials

We have a number of cases to review this month. In this post, you will find a number of inventory forms and related reports that the Commission uses to make its determinations. We will post our agenda on Wednesday after it is filed.

Neighborhood context reports can be found here: MHC Survey Plans and Neighborhood Overviews

33 Third Street Public Hearing:

The Thompson-Sinclair House was determined significant at our last meeting. The Medford Historical Commission will hold a public hearing to determine if the demolition of the building would be detrimental to the City of Medford. Public participation in the hearing is encouraged.

78 Cotting Street as seen from a recent Zillow view.

78 Cotting Street Application Materials:

This building has a colorful history dating back to the early nineteenth century. The land was once owned by members of the Adams family of Braintree/Quincy. The farm is referenced in several of their correspondence and was constructed before the 1850s. Stylistically, it is a great example of early building efforts in the Hillside neighborhood.

The Cotting Street Area Form provides a bit of information about the streetscape and how the lane got its name. There’s loads of information on all the houses on the street.

17 Edwards Street Application Materials:

17 Edwards Street is part of a collection of Victorian end houses that were constructed by the same developer at the end of the nineteenth century. The building has been stripped of its asbestos siding, revealing original detail and character from its original construction. The Commission will be determining significance at its next meeting.

This building has a striking resemblance to another end house we reviewed years ago. 6 Rockwell (since demolished) was the subject of a six-month demolition delay. Efforts to find a mover to relocate the building failed so it was extensively documented before demolition. The information gleaned can help us learn more about Edwards Street and other properties of similar vintage.

64 Court Street Application Materials:

Up for consideration is this small nineteenth-century building which will be altered beyond recognition. The building has many articulations in its complex massing which give it a fair degree of character. The Commission will determine significance at the next meeting.

St. Clements School at 595 Boston Avenue:

The Community Preservation Committee has requested the Commission determine if the St. Clements Elementary School at 595 Boston Avenue is significant. The Commission will make the determination based on the area form which was prepared for the church campus.

We encourage everyone to write in comments to us about these proposed projects. We take them into consideration when making our determinations. Please email us using the contact form on our website. If you just want to listen in, most of our meetings are live-streamed on the community channel and available after the fact on their website.

December Applications

At our December meeting the MHC voted to accept three applications for demolition review – this simply means that we have reviewed the application and found it to be complete and sufficient to begin the demolition review process. When we accept applications, this DOES NOT mean that demolition permits will be granted.

Now, the case can advance to the next stage, which is demolition review. After an application is accepted, a Form B, prepared by our contracted architectural historians, will be prepared for the property in question. The commissioners will review the form and, at the meeting of the following month, decide whether or not the property is historically significant.

If it is historically significant, the property will be reviewed at a third meeting, to determine if the property is preferably preserved.

This month, applications were accepted for demolition review for properties at –

93 Wason Street, where the application was submitted by East Coast Buyers LLC of West Babylon NY;

28 Chester Avenue, where the application was submitted by Moacir Fihlo and Quinn Bushe of Medford, MA; and

33 Third Street, where the application was submitted by owner/occupant Chung Lee.

For further news of these cases, look for them to appear on the agenda next month, when we will vote on historical significance.

Preferably Preserved Decisions | Dec 2021

Despite the fact that work has already altered the footprint, massing and exterior appearance of the home at 160 Forest (pictured), the property was voted Historically Significant in a 5-0 vote. The Commissioners based their decision on information in the Form B, which our architectural surveyors had created as part of the Historic District Commission’s effort to document the older properties along Forest Street – north of the old High School, the Chevalier Theater and the Post Office – for the purposes of creating a more protective historic district in the area.

The developers should have, of course, applied for a demo permit before beginning work of this scale but this does not prevent the commission from following the due process and, possibly, delaying further development if the house is found to be “Preferably Preserved.” This decision will be made at next month’s meeting after a public announcement of the demolition of the structure.

We also voted 5-0 to lift demo delay on both 29 Summer and 75 Clewley, pending final approved plans from the sub-committee currently reviewing their plans. Both these properties were found to be Preferably Preserved in 2021.

The house at 17 Manning Street was voted to be Preferably Preserved and we are now actively working with the owner on revised designs.

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.

October Decisions

75 Clewley Road

The home at 75 Clewley Road was voted preferably preserved in a 3-2 vote, with supporters of preservation citing the Craftsman detail, scale and size of the home as elements that contributed to the character of the West Medford neighborhood.

Thanks to the Medford residents who attended to voice their opinions, in this case, in favor of preservation.

Residents who spoke in favor of preserving the home at 75 Clewley Road felt strongly and saw the redevelopment of the property as part of a larger trend in Medford, where redevelopment is taking place without consideration of residents’ needs or wants, and without a master plan, and with the financial interests of developers, not residents, first and foremost.

When 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.

29 Summer Street

The building at 29 Summer Street – now a two-family home – was unanimously voted historically significant, based on the age of the building and its association with the Hall family of Medford. These two factors, among others, led our architectural historians to recommend it’s inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. There is the possibility that this building was once the Union Street School, an early public building built a few blocks east of the present location, on Union Street, in what our architectural historians call Medford Square South, the mixed commercial and residential neighborhood that developed south of the river in the mid 1800s.

At our November Meeting we will decide whether this building is also preferably preserved.

290 Salem Street and 209 Park Street

Finally, the commercial building at 290 Salem Street and the carriage house at 209 Park Street were both found to be not historically significant – the vote on the commercial building was unanimous, the vote on the carriage house was 3-2.

29 Summer Street, Medford

October 2021 Agenda

We will be making a number of demolition decisions this month: first on the agenda, the Historical Commission will be determining whether the home at 75 Clewley Road is preferably preserved. We will also be voting on whether properties at 29 Summer Street, 209 Park Street and 290 Salem Street are historically significant. And we will be reviewing applications for demolition for properties at Third Street and Manning Street.