Town of Harvard, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Harvard 3-4-1972 by Art. 37; amended 3-3-1973 by Art. 21. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Community Preservation Committee — See Ch. 18.
Scenic roads — See Ch. 90.
Protective Bylaw — See Ch. 125.
Subdivision control — See Ch. 130.
To preserve and protect the historic assets of Harvard, its buildings, structures, places, sites, and surrounding settings of historical or architectural significance, the Town adopts this bylaw under the provisions of Chapter 40C of the General Laws.
The following Historic Districts are established, with boundaries defined in § 48-3, Historic District Maps:
A. 
Shaker Village Historic.
B. 
Harvard Common Historic District.
[Amended 3-30-1974 STM by Art. 1; 3-29-1975 ATM by Art. 21; 6-28-1976 STM by Art. 6; 3-28-2015 ATM by Art. 38]
A. 
Plan of Shaker Village Historic District — Revision C.
B. 
Plan of Harvard Common Historic District — Revision D.
[Amended 3-27-2006 ATM by Art. 40; 10-22-2018 STM by Art. 1]
An Historic District Commission is hereby established, to consist of seven members and two alternate members, appointed by the Select Board, under the provisions of Chapter 40C of the General Laws, as amended by Chapter 359 of the Acts of 1971:
A. 
Three residents of the Town.
B. 
One member from nominees submitted by the chapter of the American Institute of Architects covering the area.
C. 
One member from nominees submitted by the Board of Realtors covering the area.
D. 
One member from nominees submitted by the Harvard Planning Board.
E. 
One member from nominees submitted by the Harvard Conservation Commission.
F. 
Two alternate members to serve for one-year terms.
G. 
Their successors shall be appointed in the same manner as the original appointment for terms, other than alternate members, of three years. If practical, the Commission should include at least one resident of an historic district.
H. 
If no nominees have been submitted to Select Board within 60 days of a request for nominees by the Select Board to the appropriate board, commission or organization, the Select Board may proceed to appoint a resident to the Commission to fill the position for which nominees were requested.
[Amended 11-18-1991 STM by Art. 10]
The Commission shall have all the powers and duties of an historic district commission as provided by M.G.L. Chapter 40C, and subsequent amendments thereto, and any other powers given to the Commission by vote of the Town Meeting of the Town of Harvard pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 40C, Section 10(i). The Commission shall also have the powers and duties of an historical commission as provided by Chapter 40, Section 8D, and shall be entitled the "Harvard Historical Commission."
A. 
Rules and regulations. The Commission may adopt rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of M.G.L. Chapter 40C, and prescribe such forms as it shall deem desirable and necessary for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business. The Commission shall file a copy of such rules and regulations with the Town Clerk.
B. 
Staffing and assistance. The Commission may, subject to appropriation, employ clerical and technical assistants or consultants, and may incur other expenses appropriate to the carrying out of its work.
C. 
General regulatory powers. The Commission shall have the authority to review and render a decision of appropriateness on all proposed new construction, reconstructions, alterations, relocations and demolition of all exterior architectural features of buildings and structures, or any portion thereof, within the Historic District which are visible from any public street, public way, public park or public body of water, except as limited by this bylaw. The term "structure" shall include but not be limited to stone walls, fences, driveways, walks, terraces, steps, pavings, signs, lights, and appurtenant fixtures on the lots, buildings, or structures. For purposes of this bylaw, any structures partially within the Historic District shall be considered wholly within the district.
D. 
Criteria for determination. In passing upon matters before it the Commission shall consider, among other things, the historic and architectural value and significance of the site, building or structure, the general design, arrangement, texture, material and color of the features involved, and the relation of such features to similar features of buildings and structures in the surrounding area. In the case of new construction or additions to existing buildings or structures the Commission shall consider the appropriateness of the size and shape of the building or structure both in relation to the land area upon which the building or structure is situated and to buildings and structures in the vicinity.
E. 
Exceptions. The Commission may determine from time to time after public hearing that certain categories of exterior architectural features, structures or signs may be constructed or altered without review by the Commission. The Commission may, after public hearing, set forth the various designs of certain appurtenances, such as lighting fixtures, which will meet the requirements of the Historic District, but no such determination shall limit the right of an applicant to present other designs to the Commission for its approval.
[Added 11-18-1991 STM by Art. 10]
A. 
The Commission shall not consider interior arrangements or architectural features not subject to public view.
B. 
The Commission shall not make any recommendation or requirement except for the purpose of preventing developments incongruous to the historic aspects for the architectural characteristics of the surroundings and of the Historic District.
C. 
Nothing in this bylaw shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance, repair or replacement of any exterior architectural feature within a district which does not involve a change in design, material or the outward appearance thereof, nor to prevent landscaping with plants, trees or shrubs, nor construed to prevent the meeting of requirements certified by a duly authorized public officer to be necessary for public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition.
D. 
The Commission shall exclude from its review the following:
(1) 
Storm windows, provided that they meet the Commission's guidelines;
(2) 
Temporary window air and heat conditioners; and
(3) 
UHF/VHF television and AM/FM radio reception antennae. (Microwave antennae are not excluded.)
[Added 11-18-1991 STM by Art. 10]
A. 
Except as this bylaw provides in § 48-5, no building or structure within the Historic District shall be constructed or altered in any way that affects exterior architectural features unless the Commission shall first have issued a certificate of appropriateness, a certificate of nonapplicability, or a certificate of hardship with respect to such construction or alteration, nor shall any building permit or permit for demolition be issued by the Town or any department thereof for any building or structure within the Historic District until the certificate required by this section has been issued by the Commission. The applicant must provide an abutters list and agrees to pay any fees for necessary legal notices.
[Amended 3-31-2007 ATM by Art. 38]
B. 
Applications for certificates shall be filed in triplicate, one copy being filed with the Commission, one with the Building Commissioner and one with the Town Clerk. Applications shall be in the form specified by the Commission, to include plans and elevations, drawn to scale, detailed enough to show architectural design for the structure and its relation to the existing building, and other materials and information deemed necessary by the Commission. Plot and site plans should be filed when applications for certificates are made for improvements affecting appearances, such as walls, fences, steps and paving. In the case of demolition or removal, the application must include a statement of the proposed condition and appearance of the property thereafter. The date of the filing of an application shall be the date on which a copy of such application is received by the office of the Town Clerk.
[Amended 10-22-2018 STM by Art. 1]
C. 
Within 14 days of the filing of an application for any certificate, the Commission shall determine whether the application involves any features which are subject to approval by the Commission.
D. 
If the application requires the Commission's review, or at the request of the applicant, the Commission shall hold a public hearing on the application, except as may otherwise be provided by this bylaw. Public notice of the time, place and purpose of the hearing shall be given at least 14 days in advance by posting in a conspicuous place in Town Hall, and in a newspaper of general circulation in Harvard. Concurrently, the Commission shall mail a copy of said notice to the applicant, owners of all adjoining properties and all other properties deemed by the Commission to be materially affected thereby, the Planning Board, the Building Commissioner, the Town Clerk, any person filing a written request for notice of hearing, and other persons as the Commission shall deem entitled to notice.
[Amended 10-22-2018 STM by Art. 1]
E. 
A public hearing on an application for a certificate need not be held if such hearing is waived in writing by all persons entitled to notice thereof. In addition, a public hearing on an application for a certificate may be waived by the Commission if it determines that the exterior architectural feature involved, or its category, is so insubstantial in its effect on the Historic District that it may be reviewed by the Commission without a public hearing. If the Commission dispenses with a public hearing on an application for a certificate, notice of such application shall be given to the owners of all adjoining property and of other property deemed by the Commission to be materially affected thereby as above provided, and 10 days shall elapse after the mailing of such notice before the Commission may act upon such application.
F. 
The Commission shall decide upon the determination of any application within 60 days of its filing or within such further tine as the applicant may allow in writing, and shall issue a certificate or a disapproval.
G. 
If the Commission determines that the proposed construction or alteration will be appropriate for or compatible with the preservation or protection of the Historic District, a certificate of appropriateness shall be issued. In issuing certificates, the Commission may, as it deems appropriate, impose certain conditions and limitations and may require architectural or plan modifications consistent with the intent and purpose this bylaw.
H. 
In the case of a disapproval of an application for certificate, the Commission shall set forth in its disapproval the reasons for such disapproval, and may include recommendations for changes in the applicant's proposal with respect to the appropriateness of design, arrangement, texture, material and similar features which, if made and filed with the Commission in a subsequent application, would make the application acceptable to the Commission. Prior to the issuance of a disapproval of an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Commission may, at its sole discretion, notify the applicant in writing of its proposed action accompanied by specific recommendations of changes in the applicant's proposal which, if made, would make the application acceptable to the Commission. If within 14 days of receipt of such notice the applicant files a written modification of his application in conformity with said recommended changes, the Commission shall issue a certificate of appropriateness.
I. 
Upon request, the Commission may issue a certificate of nonapplicability to any applicant whose request does not require Commission approval.
J. 
If the construction or alteration for which an application for a certificate of appropriateness has been filed shall be determined to be inappropriate and therefore disapproved, or in the event of an application for a certificate of hardship, the Commission shall determine whether, owing to conditions especially affecting the building or structure involved, but not affecting the Historic District generally, failure to approve an application will involve a substantial hardship, financial or otherwise, to the applicant, and whether such application may be approved without substantial detriment to the public welfare and without substantial derogation from the intent and purposes of this bylaw. If the Commission determines that owing to such conditions failure to approve an application will involve substantial hardship to the applicant and approval thereof may be made without such substantial detriment or derogation, the Commission shall issue a certificate of hardship.
K. 
If the Commission should fail to issue a certificate or a disapproval within 60 days of the date of the filing of the application for determination or within such further time as the applicant may allow in writing, the Commission shall thereupon issue a certificate of hardship due to failure to act.
L. 
The concurring vote of four members of the Commission shall be required to issue a certificate.
M. 
Each certificate shall be dated and signed by the Chair of the Commission, and the Commission shall keep a permanent record of its determinations. The Commission shall send a copy of the certificate or disapproval to the applicant and shall file a copy with the Town Clerk and the Building Commissioner. The date of issuance of a certificate or disapproval shall be the date of the filing of such copy with the office of the Town Clerk.
[Amended 10-22-2018 STM by Art. 1]
[Added 11-18-1991 STM by Art. 10]
A person aggrieved by a determination of the Commission may, within 20 days of the issuance of a certificate or disapproval, file an appeal to the Worcester County Superior Court.
[Added 11-18-1991 STM by Art. 10]
The Commission shall determine whether a particular activity is in violation of this bylaw or not, and shall be charged with the enforcement thereof.
A. 
The Commission, upon a written complaint of any resident of Harvard, or owner of property within Harvard, or upon its own initiative, may institute an appropriate action or proceedings in the Worcester County Superior Court in the name of the Town of Harvard to prevent, correct, restrain or abate violation of this bylaw. The Commission and the Select Board shall have the power to petition the Superior Court for enforcement of the bylaw. In the case where the Commission is requested in writing to enforce this bylaw against any person allegedly in violation of said bylaw and the Commission declines to act, the Commission shall notify, in writing, the party requesting such enforcement of any action or refusal to act, and the reasons therefore, within 21 days of receipt of such request.
[Amended 10-22-2018 STM by Art. 1]
B. 
Whoever violates any of the provisions of this bylaw shall be punishable by a fine of up to $300 for each offense. Each day during any portion of which such violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate offense.
C. 
The Commission may designate the Building Commissioner of the Town of Harvard to act on its behalf and to enforce this bylaw under the direction of the Commission.
[Amended 10-22-2018 STM by Art. 1]
[Added 11-18-1991 STM by Art. 10]
A. 
The Town of Harvard shall be subject to the provisions of this bylaw notwithstanding any Town bylaw to the contrary.
B. 
This bylaw may be amended from time to time by a two-thirds vote of the Town Meeting, provided that the substance of such amendment has first been submitted to the Commission for its recommendation, and the procedures set forth in M.G.L. Chapter 40C have been adhered to.
C. 
The provisions of this bylaw shall be deemed to be separable. If any of its provisions, sections, subsections, sentences or clauses shall be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this bylaw shall continue to be in full force and effect.