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.

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.