[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Medfield as indicated in Article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCESArcheological Protection District Map Historic District Maps
Building construction — See Ch. 110.
Scenic roads — See Ch. 210.
Zoning — See Ch. 300.
Subdivision regulations — See Ch. 310.
[Adopted 4-25-1989 (Art. XIV of the 1926 Bylaws)]
This Bylaw shall be known and may be cited as the "Historic Districts Bylaw Under the Authority of Massachusetts Laws, Chapter 40C, as Amended."
The purpose of this Bylaw is to promote the educational, cultural, physical, economic and general welfare of the public through the preservation and protection of the historical assets of Medfield, including buildings, sites and districts of historical and architectural interest; through the maintenance of such landmarks of the history of Medfield, the Commonwealth and the nation, and through the development of appropriate uses and settings for such buildings and places.
John Metcalf Historic District. The boundaries are hereby established as shown on the official Historic District Map filed, as most recently amended, with the Massachusetts Historical Commission on April 23, 2004, and also filed with the Town Clerk and recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, which map accompanies and is hereby declared to be part of this Bylaw.
[ATM 4-29-1996; ATM 4-26-2004]
Hospital Farm Historic District. The boundaries are hereby established as shown on the official Historic District Map filed with the Massachusetts Historical Commission on January 18, 1994, and also filed with the Town Clerk and recorded with the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, which map accompanies and is hereby declared to be a part of this Bylaw.
Clark-Kingsbury Farm Historic District. The boundaries are hereby established as shown on the official Historic District Map filed with the Massachusetts Historical Commission on January 4, 1997, and also filed with the Town Clerk and recorded with the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, which map accompanies and is hereby declared to be a part of the Bylaw.
Town Center Historic District. The boundaries are hereby established as shown on the official Historic District Map filed with the Massachusetts Historical Commission on January 13, 2000, and also filed with the Town Clerk, which map accompanies and is hereby declared to be a part of this Bylaw; and by amending the Town's official Historic District Map to add said district with the boundaries shown on the map filed with the Massachusetts Historical Commission on January 13, 2000, a copy of which is printed in the Warrant Report, but excluding therefrom parcels #10, 12, 14, 16, 17 and 19 shown on said map, said map as further amended to be filed with the Town Clerk, and recorded in the Norfolk Registry of Deeds as required by MGL c. 40C, § 3.
Editor's Note: See also the historic district maps included as attachments to this chapter.
The Medfield Historic District Commission, hereinafter referred to as the "District Commission," shall consist of five members and alternates appointed by the Selectmen.
The membership of the District Commission shall be made up as follows:
One member from two nominees submitted by the Medfield Historical Society;
One member, if possible, from two nominees submitted by the chapter of the American Institute of Architects covering the area;
One member, if possible, from two nominees submitted by the Massachusetts Board of Realtors;
One member, if possible, from two nominees submitted by the Medfield Planning Board.
If the membership cannot be appointed as designated above, these positions shall be filled without designation: two additional members without designation.
All nominees shall be residents of the Town of Medfield.
One member, if possible, shall be a resident of or owner of real estate in the John Metcalf Historic District.
When the District Commission is first established, two members shall be appointed for one-year terms, two members shall be appointed for two-year terms, and the remaining members and the two alternates shall be appointed for three-year terms, and all members shall serve until a successor is appointed and confirmed. At the expiration of their terms, the Selectmen shall appoint successors for three-year terms in the manner described in the preceding subsections. Vacancies for any unexpired term shall be filled in the same manner as in the original appointment.
The District Commission shall elect annually a Chairman and Vice-Chairman from its own number and a Secretary from within or without its number.
Alternates shall have all the powers and duties of regular members when called to serve by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the District Commission.
All members and alternates shall serve without compensation.
As used in this Bylaw, the following words and phrases shall include the meanings indicated below:
- Shall include the term "rebuilding, "reconstructing," "restoring," "removing," and "demolishing."
- A combination of materials forming a shelter for persons, animals or property.
- Shall include the terms "building," "erecting," "installing," "enlarging," and "moving."
- The historic districts established and described in § 150-3.[Amended 4-28-2014 ATM by Art. 32]
- DISTRICT COMMISSION
- The Medfield Historic District Commission acting as such.
- EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL FEATURE
- Such portion of the exterior of a building or structure as is open to view from a public street, public way or public park, including but not limited to the architectural style and general arrangement and setting thereof, the kind and texture of exterior building materials, or other materials applied to exterior surface and the type and style of windows, doors, lights, signs and other appurtenant exterior fixtures.
- A combination of materials other than a building, including but not limited to a sign, fence, wall, terrace, walk or driveway, tennis court and swimming pool.
No building or structure within the historic districts shall be constructed, demolished, moved or altered in any way that affects exterior architectural features and no building shall be moved into an historic district unless the District Commission shall first have issued a certificate of appropriateness, a certificate of hardship or a certificate of nonapplicability with respect to such construction, alteration or movement. The Building Inspector shall not issue a permit within an historic district unless one of the certificates noted above has first been issued by the District Commission or the proposed improvement is exempted from these provisions by § 150-7.
In accordance with MGL c. 40C, § 8, the authority of the District Commission is not extended to the review of the following:
[Amended 4-28-2014 ATM by Art. 32]
Temporary structures or signs, subject, however, to such conditions as to duration of use, location, lighting, removal and similar matters as the District Commission may reasonably specify.
Terraces, walks, driveways, sidewalks and similar structures, or any one or more of them, that do not substantially change the grade level.
Storm doors, storm windows, screens, window air conditioners, lighting fixtures, antennas and similar appurtenances, or any one or more of them.
Color or type of paint or roofing.
Signs used for residential occupation or professional purposes which are not more than one foot square in area, provided that:
Signs used in connection with nonresidential purposes, which are not more than 12 square feet in area, consist of letters painted on wood without symbols or trademark and, if illuminated, are illuminated only indirectly.
Reconstruction of a building, structure or exterior architectural feature which has been damaged or destroyed by fire, storm or other disaster, provided that the exterior design is substantially similar to the original and is begun within one year thereafter and carried forward with due diligence.
Even though the preceding statements are listed as exemptions, the Historic District Commission recommends that it be consulted in an advisory capacity to aid property owners in choosing cost-effective and the most aesthetically pleasing materials to suit their needs for their historic property. The District Commission would like to be considered and given an opportunity to make recommendations.
The District Commission shall have all the powers of an Historic District Commission as described in MGL c. 40C. The District Commission shall adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its business, not inconsistent with MGL c. 40C, or with the purpose of this Bylaw.
The District Commission may receive and accept appropriations, grants and gifts for the furthering of the purposes of this Bylaw. It may establish an historic marker program, public guides, maps and other appropriate publications to illustrate historical and architectural resources of historic districts and to acquire and maintain historic properties.
The District Commission shall propose changes in Medfield historic district boundaries as it deems appropriate. MGL c. 40C will guide the procedures for these activities.
The District Commission shall act at all times with a clear understanding of the needs of the residents of a Medfield historic district or districts to enjoy the progress of contemporary life in the use of their homes and properties. The District Commission shall coordinate historic preservation activities, and oversee the preparation and implementation of historic preservation plans of Medfield. The District Commission shall provide informational assistance to owners of historic structures on matters pertaining to preservation of those structures in Medfield.
Any person aggrieved by a determination of the District Commission may, within 20 days after the filing of the notice of such determination with the Town Clerk, file a written request with the District Commission for a review by a person or persons of competence and experience in such matters, designated by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).
The finding of the person or persons making such review shall be filed with the Town Clerk within 45 days after the request, and shall be binding on the applicant and the District Commission, unless a further appeal is sought in the Superior Court as provided in MGL c. 40C, § 12A.
In case any section, paragraph or part of this Bylaw be for any reason declared invalid or unconstitutional by any court of last resort, every other section, paragraph or part shall continue in full force and effect.
[Adopted ATM 4-26-1994 (Art. XVI of the 1926 Bylaws)]
[Amended 4-29-2013 ATM by Art. 23]
This Bylaw is adopted for the purpose of protecting the archeologic, historic, and aesthetic resources of the Town of Medfield by surveying, preserving, rehabilitating, researching, or restoring whenever possible, buildings, structures, or archeological sites which constitute or reflect distinctive features of the architectural, cultural, or historic resources of the Town, thereby promoting the public welfare and preserving the cultural heritage of Medfield.
[Amended 4-29-2013 ATM by Art. 23]
As used in this Bylaw, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- An application for a demolition permit filed by the owner of record of the premises, or the holder of a bona fide purchase and sale agreement for such premises. The application must be signed by both the applicant and (if different) the owner of record at the time of application. An applicant may withdraw an application without prejudice at any time prior to a decision by the Commission.
- ARCHEOLOGICAL PROTECTION DISTRICT
- The Archeological Protection District is composed of shaded and labeled areas shown on the included map entitled "Archeological Protection District, Town of Medfield, Massachusetts."
- The Medfield Historical Commission.
- The Building Commissioner of the Town of Medfield.
- DEMOLITION PERMIT
- The permit issued by the Commissioner as required by the State Building Code for the demolition, partial demolition, or removal of a building or structure.
- HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURE
- Any building, structure, or archeological site which is:
- A. Importantly associated with one or more historic persons or events, or with the architectural, cultural, political, economic, social history of the Town of Medfield, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or the United States of America; or which is
- B. Historically or architecturally important by reason of period, style, method of construction, or association with a particular architect or builder, either by itself or in the context of a group of buildings or structures.
- PREFERABLY PRESERVED
- Any historically significant structure individually or in context which, because of the important contribution made by such structure to the Town's historical or architectural resources, is in the public interest to preserve, rehabilitate, or restore.
- The parcel of land on which an historically significant structure exists; or the site itself due to its archaeological significance.
[Amended 4-29-2013 ATM by Art. 23]
The provisions of this Bylaw shall apply to only the following buildings, structures, and sites:
Buildings, structures, or sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the State Register of Historic Places.
Buildings, structures, or sites which in whole or in part were constructed 50 or more years prior to the date of the application for the demolition permit.
Notwithstanding the above, the provisions of this Bylaw shall not apply to any building, structure, or site located in a local historic district and subject to regulation under the provisions of MGL c. 40C.
Archeological sites located within the boundaries of the Archeological Protection District.
[Amended ATM 4-26-1999; ATM 6-2-2003; 4-29-2013 ATM by Art. 23]
Upon receipt of an application for a demolition permit for a building, structure or site regulated by this Bylaw, the Commissioner shall forward a copy thereof to the Commission. No demolition permit shall be issued at that time.
Within 14 days of receipt of the application by the Commission, the chairperson of the Commission shall post the date for a meeting of the Commission at which the application shall be heard. The hearing shall take place no fewer than 28 days and no more than 49 days after the receipt of the application from the Commissioner. The Commission shall give public notice of the hearing by publishing at least 14 days before the hearing an announcement in a local newspaper of the time, place, and purpose of the hearing. The Commission shall also mail a copy of said notice to the applicant, to all abutters, to the owner of record (if different from the applicant), to all abutters, to the owners of all properties deemed by the Commission to be affected by the proposed demolition, to the Medfield Historic District Commission, and to any others the Commission deems entitled to notice.
If, after the hearing, the Commission determines that the proposed demolition of the building, structure, or site would not be detrimental to the purposes protected by this Bylaw, the Commission shall notify the Commissioner within 10 days of such determination. Upon receipt of such notification, or after the expiration of 15 days from the hearing if he has not received such notice, the Commissioner shall, subject to the requirements of the State Building Code and any other applicable laws, Bylaws, rules and regulations, issue the demolition permit.
If the Commission determines that (1) the building, structure or site is a historically significant structure (as defined in § 150-13), and (2) the demolition of this historically significant structure would be detrimental to the historical or architectural resources of the Town, such historically significant structure (and its premises) shall be declared a preferably preserved historically significant structure.
Upon a determination by the Commission that the historically significant structure (and its premises) which is the subject of the application for a demolition permit is a preferably preserved historically significant structure (and premises), the Commission shall notify the applicant and the Commissioner. No demolition permit may be issued for at least 18 months after the date of such determination by the Commission.
Notwithstanding the above, the Commissioner may issue a demolition permit for a preferably preserved historically significant structure after receipt of written advice from the Commission to the effect that either of the following applies:
The Commission is satisfied that there is no reasonable likelihood that either the owner or some other reasonable person or group is willing to purchase, preserve, rehabilitate, or restore said structure; or
The Commission is satisfied that for at least six months the owner has made continuing, bona fide, and reasonable efforts to locate a purchaser to preserve, rehabilitate, and restore the subject historically significant structure, and that such efforts have been unsuccessful; or
The Commission has determined that the proposed demolition may be conducted in a manner that is not detrimental to the historical, architectural or archaeological resources of the Town.
No demolition permit for a preferably preserved historically significant structure shall be granted until all approvals are in place for subsequent development. Approvals include but are not limited to building permits, zoning variances or special permits (if necessary), licenses, easements and subdivisions of the premises of any kind. All appeals from the granting of such approvals must be concluded before the demolition permit may be granted.
Demolition permits are valid for six months, in accordance with state statute. If the building, structure or site is not demolished within six months, the Commission may issue an extension, or it may require the applicant to reapply.
A decision by the Commission is made in relation to the party filing the application only, is nontransferable, and expires two years from the date of the decision. If demolition has not occurred prior to the expiration of the decision, a new application for a demolition permit must be filed prior to any subsequent demolition.
If a building, structure, or archaeological site is determined to be a preferably preserved historically significant structure (as defined in § 150-13), the owner shall be responsible for properly securing such building or structure, if vacant, or site to the satisfaction of the Commission. Should the owner fail to properly secure such building, structure, or site, a subsequent destruction of such building, structure, or site at any time during the period of the demolition delay through fire or other cause which could have been prevented by properly securing such building, structure, or site, shall be considered a voluntary demolition in violation of this Bylaw under § 150-17B.
Upon receipt of an application for a building permit, an earth removal permit, a subdivision permit, or an open space residential zoning permit for property located within the Archeological Protection District, the permit granting authority shall direct the applicant also to supply the Commission with a copy of the application for review and recommendation. Failure of the Commission to respond within 30 days of its receipt of the application shall be deemed to signify its lack of opposition to the project.
If the Commission finds that the proposed construction poses a serious threat to the Town's archeological resources, it can recommend that the permit granting authority require that the applicant make adequate provision for the safeguarding of said archeological resources. Such adequate provisions might include, but are not limited to, surveys and resource preservation plans completed in cooperation with the Commission and/or the state archeologist.
The Commission and the Inspector are each authorized to institute any and all proceedings in law or in equity as they deem necessary and appropriate to obtain compliance with the requirements of this Bylaw or to prevent a violation thereof.
No building permit shall be issued with respect to any premises upon which an historically significant structure has been voluntarily demolished in violation of this Bylaw for a period of two years after the date of the completion of such demolition.
Appeals. Decisions made by the Commission may be appealed to the Selectmen within 21 days. Within 30 days of its receipt of an applicant's appeal, the Board of Selectmen shall schedule a public hearing; the Board of Selectmen shall provide written notice thereof to the applicant, the Historic Commission, and to immediate abutters and the Board shall provide notice to the public by publication once in a newspaper of general circulation.
[Amended 4-25-2016 ATM by Art. 40]
At that public meeting, the Board of Selectmen shall review the record of the Historic Commission's proceedings, including meeting minutes and any documents. Based upon its review, the Board of Selectmen shall determine if a reasonable factual basis exists to support the Historic Commission's finding that the property or structure is "historically significant" and should be "preferably preserved." If the Board of Selectmen determines that a reasonable factual basis exists, it shall uphold the Historic Commission; if the Board of Selectmen determines there is not a reasonable factual basis, it shall direct that the demolition delay be lifted.
[Added 4-25-2016 ATM by Art. 40]
If any section, paragraph, or part of this Bylaw be for any reason declared invalid or unconstitutional by any court, every other section, paragraph, and part shall continue in full force and effect.