NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 25, 2013

What are laws on demolition delays?

NEWBURY — According to the state website, the Demolition Delay Bylaw delininates three ways for categorizing which properties in town would trigger a review by the Historical Commission before they could be razed:

All properties meeting a certain age criteria are subject to the bylaw — such as structures older than 75 years

All properties included under certain categories — such as the State or National Registers

All properties on a list developed and maintained by the Historical Commission for their unique historical significance to Newbury

A bylaw using the age criteria is generally recommended for towns that have not yet comprehensively identified their historic resources. Categorical or list-based bylaws are recommended only for towns whose Historical Commissions have “comprehensively identified, inventoried, and/or designated their historic resources.” However, employing a list criteria is considered the easiest way for the Historical Commission, building inspector and public to identify whether a property is subject to the Demolition Delay Bylaw, the website states.

While the Massachusetts Historical Commission recommends towns adopt a 12-month delay period, a six-month delay is more common among the towns that have adopted the Demolition Delay Bylaw.

Some local communities identified as having the bylaw on their books include Andover, Amesbury, Ipswich, Newburyport, Peabody and Wakefield.

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