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How to apply for Landmarks design review

How to apply for Landmarks design review

If you plan to make any changes to a designated Landmark, including repairs or maintenance, you must apply for design review by the Boston Landmarks Commission. You have two options:

Last updated: 7/12/16
Step
1

Before you get started

You need to get the commission's approval if you want to make any change to the outside — and, in rare cases, the interior — of:

  • a designated Landmark in Boston, or
  • a property with a pending Landmark petition, awaiting a decision on Landmark designation.

We have a list of Landmarks and pending Landmarks in Boston.

All Boston Landmarks have study reports that include design standards and guidelines, and you can find the study report for any designated Boston Landmark on our publications page.

If you are interested in the study report for a pending Landmark, awaiting a decision on a designation, please contact us. You can call 617-635-3850, or email blc@cityofboston.gov, and we’ll send you the relevant report if available.

We hold hearings for Landmarks design review on the fourth Tuesday of each month. We accept applications on a rolling basis. To be added to a hearing agenda, an application must be determined to be complete by staff fifteen business days before the hearing date. Incomplete applications cannot be added to a public hearing agenda. Learn more about the review process and upcoming hearings.

Step
2

Get your info together

Please fill out and complete your design review application. Double check that everything is included - we can’t review your application to make sure it’s complete right when you give it to us. If you give us an incomplete form, we won't be able to process your application.

A complete application includes:

  • drawings and specifications for your project (please read the application instructions to see what types of drawings we need), and
  • current color photos of the existing conditions of the property. Photos should be at least 3 inches by 5 inches. We don’t take Xeroxed photos or Polaroids. Please use the application instructions to make sure your application has everything needed. 

You also need to pay an application fee. We take checks or money orders made payable to the City of Boston. The fees are:

  • $25 for minor changes, like new shutters, paint or maintenance
  • $50 for design changes, like signs or solar panels
  • $100 for major changes, like adding a new storefront or terrace, and
  • $250 for major construction, like a new building or development project.

If your project involves major construction that costs more than $500,000, the fee is one-half of one percent of the total cost of the project. The most you'll pay is $5,000.

There’s a $10 fee for interior work if you don't need a building permit from the Inspectional Services. If you project does need a building permit, the fee is $25.  

Step
3

Mail everything to us

Please send your completed application, documents, and payment to:

The Boston Landmarks Commission
1 City Hall Square, Room 709
Boston, MA 02201

We'll let you know as soon as possible if your application is complete and can be added to the hearing agenda. The agenda will include information about when and where to show up for your presentation to the commission. You may have to present at more than one hearing if your project is large or complex.

Step
1

Before you get started

You need to get the commission's approval if you want to make any changes to the outside — and, in rare cases, the interior — of:

  • a designated Landmark in Boston, or
  • a property with a pending Landmark petition, awaiting a decision on Landmark designation.

We have a list of Landmarks and pending Landmarks in Boston.

All Boston Landmarks have study reports that include design standards and guidelines, and you can find the study report for any designated Boston Landmark on our publications page.

If you are interested in the study report for a pending Landmark, awaiting a decision on a designation, please contact us. You can call 617-635-3850, or email blc@cityofboston.gov, and we’ll send you the relevant report if available.

We hold hearings for Landmarks design review on the fourth Tuesday of each month. We accept applications on a rolling basis. To be added to a hearing agenda, an application must be determined to be complete by staff fifteen business days before the hearing date. Incomplete applications cannot be added to a public hearing agenda. Learn more about the review process and upcoming hearings.

Step
2

Get your info together

Please fill out and complete your design review application. Double check that everything is included - we can’t review your application to make sure it’s complete right when you give it to us. If you give us an incomplete form, we won't be able to process your application.

A complete application includes:

  • drawings and specifications for your project (please read the application instructions to see what types of drawings we need), and
  • current color photos of the existing conditions of the property. Photos should be at least 3 inches by 5 inches. We don’t take Xeroxed photos or Polaroids. Please use the application instructions to make sure your application has everything needed. 

You also need to pay an application fee. We take checks or money orders made payable to the City of Boston. The fees are:

  • $25 for minor changes, like new shutters, paint or maintenance
  • $50 for design changes, like signs or solar panels
  • $100 for major changes, like adding a new storefront or terrace, and
  • $250 for major construction, like a new building or development project.

If your project involves major construction that costs more than $500,000, the fee is one-half of one percent of the total cost of the project. The most you'll pay is $5,000.

There’s a $10 fee for interior work if you don't need a building permit from the Inspectional Services. If you project does need a building permit, the fee is $25.  

Step
3

Give us your application

You can bring your completed application, documents, and payment to:

Boston Landmarks Commission, Environment Department
Boston City Hall, Room 709
Boston, MA 02201
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM - 5 PM

We'll let you know as soon as possible if your application is complete and can be added to the hearing agenda. The agenda will include information about when and where to show up for your presentation to the commission. You may have to present at more than one hearing if your project is large or complex.

Need to Know:
Contact:
Landmarks Commission
1 City Hall Square
Room 709
Boston, MA 02201
United States