Demolition Review Process

Demolition Review Cases

One of the major responsibilities of the Historical Commission is to protect significant properties by encouraging preservation and rehabilitation, rather than demolition. Chapter 48 of the Medford Municipal Ordinances now says, in part:

This article is enacted for the purpose of protecting the City’s significant historical, cultural, and architectural buildings. This article aims to protect and preserve significant historic properties within the town by encouraging their owners to seek out persons who might be willing to purchase, preserve, rehabilitate, or restore such buildings rather than demolish them.

Any person who intends to file an application for a permit to demolish a building which is seventy five years or older shall first file a notice of intent to demolish a significant building. Applications must be filed in person at our monthly meeting (currently held via zoom). Please contact us ahead of time if you anticipate dropping off your application. Please note that this is just to place you on the agenda. Application materials are due one week prior to the meeting. Materials may be emailed until further notice. Once submitted, the Commission will review for completeness. Incomplete applications will be rejected. Accepted applications are forwarded onto the City Clerk and Building Department for record. The Commission will review and make a determination at a subsequent meeting within 30 days.

The first determination is for significance. The bylaw defines significance as:

…any building or portion thereof, which is not within a local historic district subject to regulation under the provisions of M.G.L.A. c. 40C but which:

(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.

If the commission determines that a building is not significant, this determination shall be transmitted to the applicant, to the building commissioner, and to the city clerk and the applicant shall not be required to take any further steps prior to filing for a demolition permit.

If the commission determines that a building is significant, the commission shall hold a public hearing on each such notice of intent within 30 days after the initial determination of significance is made. Within 21 days from the close of the public hearing, the commission shall file a written determination with the city clerk as to whether the demolition of the building will be detrimental to the historical, cultural, or architectural heritage or resources of the city. Upon a determination that the building is a preferably preserved significant building, the commission shall so advise the applicant, the building owner, the building commissioner, and the city clerk, and no demolition permit may be issued until at least eighteen months after the date of such determination by the commission.

Click here to download a copy of the 2022 Demolition Delay Package. Please note, applications submitted to the Medford Historical Commission must be made one week in advance of the meeting – electronic submissions are being accepted via email until further notice.

Please see here for the Medford Municipal Ordinances. In 2017, our demolition delay bylaw was strengthened to better protect our historic resources. Below are –

The Demolition Amendment and
Our Memo to City Boards and Departments

Demolition Review Procedures in Neighboring Communities

City of Woburn
City of Somerville
Town of Arlington
Town of Winchester