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.

January Meeting Summary

Here’s a quick look back at the January meeting –

We reviewed 3 applications for demo permits; this begins the process of demolition review by our committee. We reviewed applications submitted by the residents at 78 Cotting Street, and by property owners at 17 Edward Street and 64 Court Street and found them complete.

We also voted to find both 28 Chester Street and 93 Wason Street not historically significant, so their demolition permits have been granted and they will proceed with their plans.

The house, already under redevelopment at 160 Forest St was found to be NOT preferably preserved by a unanimous vote.

The house at 33 Third Street was found to be historically significant by a vote of 4 to 1. At our February Meeting we will decide whether this building is also preferably preserved.

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.

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.