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How to file for Article 85 demolition delay

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Before demolishing a building in Boston you must submit an Article 85 application. You have two options:

Step
1

Before you get started in person

About article 85 demolition delay

The Boston Zoning Code was amended in 1995 to include a demolition delay policy called Article 85. The article provides a predictable process for reviewing requests to demolish buildings by:

  • establishing a waiting period to consider alternatives to the demolition of a building of historical, architectural, cultural or urban design value to the City
  • providing an opportunity for the public to comment on the demolition of a particular building, and
  • minimizing the number and extent of building demolition where no immediate re-use of the site is planned.
WHAT BUILDINGS ARE SUBJECT TO ARTICLE 85?

Designated (landmarked) buildings are reviewed through a different process, either by the Boston Landmarks Commission or the appropriate local historic district commission.

Step
2

Complete your Application

Please read the Article 85 regulations before submitting the Article 85 application. You can either print out the application or pick one up in Room 709.

The following documents are required as part of the application:

  • photographs of the property and neighboring properties (all photographs must be keyed to a map)
  • a map showing the property (maps are available on the Assessor’s website or through the Boston Planning & Development Agency)
  • a plot plan
  • plans and elevations if a new structure is proposed
  • proof of ownership, and
  • the notarized signature of the owner, and of the applicant if different. (Please note: This is required.) 

Specific details about document requirements are listed in the application itself. The 10-day staff review does not begin until the application is complete. See our top 10 tips for preparing your Article 85 application.

Step
3

Bring your application to us

You can drop off complete applications whenever City Hall is open. Business hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.:

Boston Landmarks Commission
One City Hall Square, Room 709
Boston, MA 02201

Please note: Our staff is not able to review applications for completeness before it is submitted.

Step
4

Wait to hear from us

Landmarks Commission staff will review each application and may request required information. Once all information is submitted, the application is complete. Staff may post the application online for public feedback. Within 10 calendar days, staff will get back to the applicant with a determination. Using the specific criteria in Article 85, the building is determined “significant” or “not significant.”

If it is significant*, we schedule a public hearing within 30 days. However, the applicant is required to hold a community meeting presenting alternatives to demolition before the Landmarks Commission hearing. Check with staff about the process. You can also read more about these requirements and the public hearing process.

Keep in mind:

*"Significant" means something very specific in Article 85 review. Staff must use the five criteria that are listed in Article 85-5.3 to determine significance.  A building can be found to be historic and worthy of preservation even if not included in:

  • an official governmental list
  • a register of historic places, or
  • an inventory, survey, preservation report, or study, or something similar.

There are many as yet unidentified significant (historic) properties all over Boston. 

Step
1

Before you get started by mail

About article 85 demolition delay

The Boston Zoning Code was amended in 1995 to include a demolition delay policy called Article 85. The article provides a predictable process for reviewing requests to demolish buildings by:

  • establishing a waiting period to consider alternatives to the demolition of a building of historical, architectural, cultural or urban design value to the City
  • providing an opportunity for the public to comment on the demolition of a particular building, and
  • minimizing the number and extent of building demolition where no immediate re-use of the site is planned.
WHAT BUILDINGS ARE SUBJECT TO ARTICLE 85?

Designated (landmarked) buildings are reviewed through a different process, either by the Boston Landmarks Commission or the appropriate local historic district commission.

Step
2

Complete your application

Please read the Article 85 regulations before submitting the Article 85 application.

The following documents are required as part of the application:

  • photographs of the property and neighboring properties (all photographs must be keyed to a map)
  • a map showing the property (maps are available on the Assessor’s website or through the Boston Planning & Development Agency)
  • a plot plan
  • plans and elevations if a new structure is proposed
  • proof of ownership, and
  • the notarized signature of the owner, and of the applicant if different. (Please note: This is required.) 

Specific details about the document requirements are listed in the application itself. The 10-day staff review does not begin until the application is complete. See our top 10 tips for preparing your Article 85 application.

Step
3

Mail it to us

Mail complete applications to:

Boston Landmarks Commission
One City Hall Square, Room 709
Boston, MA 02201

Step
4

Wait to hear from us

Landmarks Commission staff will review each application and may request required information. Once all information is submitted, the application is complete. Staff may post the application online for public feedback. Within 10 calendar days, staff will get back to the applicant with a determination. Using the specific criteria in Article 85, the building is determined “significant” or “not significant.”

If it is significant*, we schedule a public hearing within 30 days. However, the applicant is required to hold a community meeting presenting alternatives to demolition before the Landmarks Commission hearing. Check with staff about the process. You can also read more about these requirements and the public hearing process.

Keep in mind:

*"Significant" means something very specific in Article 85 review. Staff must use the five criteria that are listed in Article 85-5.3 to determine significance. A building can be found to be historic and worthy of preservation even if not included in:

  • an official governmental list
  • a register of historic places, or
  • an inventory, survey, preservation report, or study, or something similar.

There are many as yet unidentified significant (historic) properties all over Boston. 

Contact:
Landmarks Commission
1 City Hall Square
Environment Dept. Room 709
Boston, MA 02201

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