January Agenda

Here’s the agenda for the first meeting of the year, with Zoom details included. Join us! And start 2022 with a look back at some interesting buildings, and a look forward, to where Medford is headed in the new year. We have planned one vote on “preferably preserved,” 3 votes on “historical significance” and review of 2 new applications. With so many cases, we’ll be all over the map – Hillside, Fulton Heights, Wellington, Forest Street and South Medford.

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.

December Agenda

Our last meeting of 2021 and the agenda is up!! The Historical Commission will be determining whether or not 17 Manning Street, in Medford Square South, is preferably preserved. The Form B, which describes both the home’s architecture and its social history is available here –

We will also determine whether or not the house that has already been substantially alerted, at 160 Forest Street, was historically significant before renovation began.

We will also be receiving applications for demolition review – for properties in Fulton Heights, Hillside & Wellington and Medford Square.

November Decisions

By unanimous vote, we voted the building at 29 Summer Street preferably preserved.

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.

We also voted the house at nearby 17 Manning Street historically significant.

And accepted an application – submitted by the 106 School Street LLC of Woburn, MA – for demolition review for the home at 160 Forest Street.

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.

Historically Significant – 75 Clewley Road, West Medford

75 Clewley Road, West Medford

At last night’s monthly, public historical commission meeting the commission unanimously decided that the home at 75 Clewley Road was historically significant – based on its scale, age and Craftsman architectural detail, and its contribution to the character of its West Medford neighborhood.

Next month’s public meeting will include a vote on whether or not 75 Clewley Road is preferably preserved. An official announcement of this will be publicized later this month.

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.

84 Cotting Street, Hillside

A similar house at 84 Cotting Street, in Hillside, split the vote and was found to be NOT historically significant.

90 Alexander Avenue, South Medford

Finally, a house of similar age that had suffered a fire and been substantially rebuilt, at 90 Alexander Avenue in South Medford, was found by unanimous vote to be NOT historically significant.

Representatives for the owners, architects and/or developers of these properties were present – and identified – at our Zoom meeting. More information on all of these properties can be found in the Forms B here.

29 Summer Street, Medford Square South*

209 Park Street & 290 Salem Street, Haines Square

The commission also received complete applications for demolition permission for properties at 29 Summer Street, in Medford Square South, and for buildings on two neighboring parcels in Haines Square – a carriage house at 209 Park Street and a one-story commercial building at 290 Salem Street. Votes on the historical significance of these properties will take place at next month’s public meeting.

75 Clewley Road – Historically Significant