City of Marlborough, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Marlborough 12-18-1995 by Ord. No. 94/95-5635B (Ch. 199 of the 1986 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Planning Board — See Ch. 19, Art. I.
Zoning — See Ch. 650.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Marlborough Historic District Ordinance" and is adopted pursuant to Chapter 40C of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as amended.
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 of the buildings and places significant in the history of the City of Marlborough or their architecture and through the maintenance and improvement of settings for such buildings and places and the encouragement of design compatible therewith while also promoting public accessibility throughout Historic District areas.
There is hereby established under provisions of Chapter 40C of the General Laws a historic district to be known as the "Monument Square Historic District." The district shall be bounded as shown on Map No. 1, entitled "Monument Square Historic District, 1994," Appendix A, hereto attached and made a part of this chapter.[1]
Editor's Note: Said Map is on file in the City Clerk's office.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
Includes the words "rebuilt," "reconstructed," "restored," "removed" and "demolished" and the phrase "changed in exterior color."
A combination of materials forming a shelter for persons, animals or property.
A certificate of appropriateness, a certificate of nonapplicability or a certificate of hardship as set forth in this chapter.
The commission acting as the Historic District Commission.
Includes the words "built," "erected," "installed," "enlarged" and "moved."
Such portion of the exterior of a building or structure as is open to view from a public way, public park or public body of water, including, but not limited to, architectural style and general arrangement and setting thereof; the kind, color and texture of exterior building materials; the color of paint or other materials applied to the exterior surfaces; and the type and style of windows, doors, lights, signs and other appurtenant exterior fixtures.
A combination of materials other than a building, including a sign, fence, wall, tower, terrace, step, paving, man-made embankment, dam, bridge, canal, raceway, walk or driveway.
There is hereby established under Chapter 40C of the Massachusetts General Laws a Historic District Commission consisting of seven members appointed by the Mayor, with the approval of the City Council, including, when possible, two members representing the Marlborough Historic Commission, one member representing the local Board of Realtors, one member who is a member of the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, one member who is a resident and/or property owner in the district, and two members who are residents of the City at large.
When the Commission is first established, three members shall be appointed for one year, two members shall be appointed for two years, and two members shall be appointed for three years. Successors shall each be appointed for a term of three years. Vacancies shall be filled within 60 days by the Mayor by appointment for the unexpired term. All members shall serve without compensation. The Commission shall elect annually a Chairman and Vice Chairman from its own number and shall appoint a Secretary from within or without its own number. Four members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.
The Commission shall have all the powers and duties of historic district commissions as provided by the Historic Districts Act, General Laws Chapter 40C, and of subsequent amendments thereto, unless specifically limited by this chapter.
Rules and regulations. The Commission shall adopt rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of the Historic Districts Act.
The Commission may, subject to appropriation and with the approval of the Mayor, employ clerical and technical assistants or consultants and incur other expenses appropriate to the carrying on of its work.
The Commission may receive and accept appropriations, grants and gifts, including real estate and property, for the furthering of the purpose of this chapter.
General regulatory powers. The Commission shall have control over new construction, reconstructions, alterations, movements and demolitions of all exterior architectural features of buildings and structures within the District which are visible from any public street, public way, public park or public waterway within the District, except as limited by the chapter. For purposes of the chapter, any structure partially within the District shall be considered wholly within the District.
Signs. The Commission shall approve the placement of permanent or temporary signs on or about any building or building site within the District. All provisions of the Marlborough Zoning Ordinance relating to signs must first be followed. The Commission shall, within its rules and regulations, review every sign for appropriateness in the context of its immediate environment regarding its placement, design, size, color and execution. New signs to be erected as replacements for older ones after the establishment of the District shall be under the Commission's control.
Consideration. In passing upon matters before it, the Commission shall consider, among other things, the historic and architectural significance of the site, building or structure, the general design arrangement of the features involved, and the relationship of such features to similar features of buildings and structures in the surrounding area. In the case of new construction or additions to exiting 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, and the Commission may, in appropriate cases, impose dimensional and setback requirements in addition to those required by the applicable Zoning Ordinance.[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 650, Zoning.
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 light fixtures, which will meet the requirements of the District, but no such determination shall limit the right of the applicant to present other designs to the Commission for its approval.
The Commission shall not make any recommendation or requirement with regard to new construction, reconstructions or additions except for purpose of preventing developments incongruous to the historic aspects of architectural characteristics of the surroundings and of the District.
The following are exempt from the control of the Commission:
Ordinary maintenance and repair of any exterior architectural feature if such repair and maintenance does not involve a fundamental change in design and materials.
Any constructions, demolitions or alterations under a permit issued by the Building Commissioner or similar agent prior to the effective date of the establishment of the District.
[Amended 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 14-1005921A]
Any constructions, demolitions or alterations under orders issued by the Building Commissioner or similar agent for the purpose of public safety.
[Amended 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 14-1005921A]
Landscaping with plants, trees or shrubs.
The reconstruction substantially similar in exterior design of the 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.
Traffic control devices necessary for public safety, including, but not limited to, traffic signs and lights, guardrails and pedestrian crosswalks.
Except as this chapter provides in §§ 360-6 and 360-7, no building or structure within the District shall be constructed or altered in any way that affects the 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 for demolition be issued for any building or structure within the District until a certificate required by this section has been issued by the Commission.
A copy of one application for a certificate shall be filed by the applicant with the Building Commissioner and one with the City Clerk. As many additional copies deemed appropriate by the Rules and Regulations of the Commission shall be filed with the Commission; applications shall be in the form specified by the Commission, to include plans and elevations signed by an architect or draftsperson, drawn to scale detailed enough to show architectural design of the structure and its relationship to existing buildings or structures, and other materials deemed necessary by the Commission. Plot and site plans should be filed when applications are made for improvements affecting appearances of 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 Commission may charge an applicant a filing fee, at a rate it sets, for an application for a certificate it issues.
[Amended 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 14-1005921A]
Within 14 days of the filing of an application for a certificate, the Commission shall determine whether the application involves any exterior architectural features which are subject to the approval of the Commission.
If the application requires the Commission's review or at the request of the applicant, the Commission shall hold a public hearing, unless waived according to the provisions of the General Laws Chapter 40C, as amended. Public notice of the times, place and purpose of the hearing shall be given at least 14 days in advance, and the Commission shall notify by mail affected parties as provided in the General Laws Chapter 40C, as amended.
The Commission shall decide upon the determination of any application with 60 days of its filing or within such further time as the applicant may allow in writing.
A certificate of appropriateness shall be issued to the applicant if the Commission determines that the proposed construction or alteration will be appropriate or compatible with the preservation or protection of the District. In the case of a disapproval of an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Commission shall place upon its records the reasons for such determination and shall forthwith cause a notice of its determination, accompanied by a copy of the reasons therefor as set forth in the record of the Commission, to be issued to the applicant, and the Commission may make recommendations to the applicant with respect to appropriateness of design. Prior to the issuance of any disapproval, the Commission may notify the applicant of its proposed action, accompanied by 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 the recommended changes of the Commission, the Commission shall issue a certificate of appropriateness to the applicant.
Upon request, the Commission may issue a certificate of nonapplicability to any applicant whose request does not require Commission approval.
If an application is deemed inappropriate or if application is made for a certificate of hardship, the Commission may issue a certificate of hardship if conditions especially affecting the building or structure involved, but not affecting the District generally, would make failure to approve an application a substantial hardship, financial or otherwise, to the applicant, and approval would not involve a substantial detriment to the public welfare. A certificate of hardship shall also be issued in the event that the Commission does not make a determination on an application within the time specified in § 360-8E of this chapter.
Each certificate shall be dated and signed, and the Commission shall keep a permanent record of its determinations and of the vote of each member participating therein and shall file a copy or notice of certificates and determinations of disapproval with the City Clerk and Building Commissioner.
[Amended 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 14-1005921A]
Any person aggrieved may, within 20 days of the decision by the Commission, appeal to a Superior Court sitting in equity.
Should a property owner cause, suffer or permit the alteration or act in a fashion which appears to give the impression that he will so alter the structure, without a certificate of appropriateness or hardship, the Commission may fine the owner not less than $10 nor more than $500, each day constituting a separate offense, and the Commission may commence an appropriate court action to prohibit such alteration.
The City of Marlborough shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter notwithstanding any City ordinance to the contrary.
This chapter may be amended from time to time by a 2/3 vote of the City Council, subject to the procedures as set forth in the MGL c. 40C, § 3.
[Amended 10-6-2014 by Ord. No. 14-1005921A]
Following City Council approval, this chapter shall take effect immediately upon the filing of a map of the boundaries of the Historic District with the Marlborough City Clerk, the Marlborough Building Commissioner, and the Registry of Deeds for Middlesex County.