[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Aldermen of the City of Melrose 7-16-1979 by Ord. No. 19504B (Rev. Ords. 1989, §§ 2-331 to 2-337). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Historic Districts Ordinance" under authority of MGL c. 40C.
The purpose of this chapter is to promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the public through the preservation and protection of the distinctive characteristics or architecture of buildings and places significant in the history of the commonwealth and the City and through the maintenance and improvement of settings for such buildings and places and the encouragement of designs compatible therewith.
In accordance with the Historic Districts Act, MGL c. 40C, there is hereby established the Melrose Historic District Commission, which shall have all the powers and duties of a historic district commission under the General Laws.
All members and alternate members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by the City Council. The Commission shall consist of seven members, including one member, where possible, from two nominees submitted by the local historical societies; one member, where possible, from two nominees submitted by the Massachusetts chapter of the American Institute of Architects; one member, where possible, from two nominees submitted by the Boston Society of Landscape Architects; and one member, where possible, from two nominees submitted by the Eastern Middlesex Board of Realtors. The Commission shall also include a lawyer and one or more residents or owners or renters of property in the historic district to be administered by the Commission.
When the Commission is first established, two members shall be appointed for a term of one year, two shall be appointed for a term of two years and three shall be appointed for a term of three years, and their successors shall be appointed in a like manner for terms of three years. When the Commission is first established, one alternate member shall be appointed in like manner for a term of one year, one alternate member for a term of two years and one alternate member for a term of three years, and their successors shall be appointed in like manner for terms of three years. All vacancies shall be filled in like manner for the unexpired term.
All members of the Commission shall serve without compensation.
The Commission shall elect annually a Chair and Vice Chair from its own number and a Secretary from within or without its own number.
The Historic District Commission shall adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its business not inconsistent with the provision of the Historic Districts Act. The Commission may, subject to appropriation, employ clerical and technical assistants or consultants and incur other expenses appropriate to the carrying on of its work and may accept money gifts and expend the same for such purposes.
Meetings of the Historic District Commission shall be held at the call of the Chair and shall be called at the request of two members of the Commission and in such other manner as the Commission shall determine in its rules. A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum. When taking action under the provisions of the fourth paragraph of Section 11 of the Historic Districts Act the Commission shall make its determination within 45 days after the filing of the application for a certificate of appropriateness or such further time as the applicant may, in writing, allow.
Editor's Note: See MGL c. 40C, § 11.
There is hereby established, under the provisions of MGL c. 40C, a historic district to be known as the "Downtown Melrose Historic District," shown on a plan titled "Proposed Downtown Melrose Historic District" dated July 16, 1979, showing in general a boundary following rear property lines of properties bordering Main Street from the intersection of West and East Foster Streets to the south side of West and East Emerson Streets, said plan having been approved and signed by the City Engineer, placed on file at the offices of the City Clerk and the Director of Inspectional Services, recorded in South Middlesex District Registry of Deeds and included herewith as part of this chapter.
[Amended 8-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2018-4]
Editor's Note: Said plan is included as an attachment to this chapter.
The establishment of the historic district under this section shall take effect when all the Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.
The following categories of buildings or structures or exterior architectural features may be constructed or altered within a historic district without review by the Historic District Commission:
Temporary structures or signs, subject, however, to such conditions as to duration of use, location, removal and similar matters as the Commission may reasonably specify.
Terraces, walks, driveways, sidewalks and similar structures, or any one or more of them, provided that any such structure is substantially at grade level. This is not to be construed as to include parking lots.
Storm doors and windows, screens, window air conditioners, antennas and similar appurtenances.
Paint colors, except for paint proposed for masonry or any materials now not painted.
Signs of not more than one square foot in area in connection with use of a residence for a customary home occupation or for professional purposes, provided that only one such sign is displayed in connection with each residence and if illuminated is illuminated only indirectly.
The reconstruction, substantially similar in exterior design, of a building, structure or exterior architectural feature damaged or destroyed by fire, storm or other disaster, provided that such reconstruction is begun within one year thereafter and carried forward with due diligence.
The authority of the Commission shall be limited to exterior architectural features within the designated district which are subject to view from a public way.