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How to file for Article 85 demolition delay

How to file for Article 85 demolition delay

Before demolishing a building in Boston 50 or more years old — or any building no matter how old in certain areas of the City — you must submit an Article 85 application. You have two options:

Last updated: 8/16/18
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 BLC 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 signatures of the owner and applicant. (Please note: both are always 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 complete application within 10 calendar days and get back to the applicant with a determination. Using the specific criteria in Article 85, the building is “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 prior to the Boston 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, it is not an arbitrary determination. The five criteria staff use to determine significance are listed in Article 85-5.3. There is a common misconception that a property is not worthy of preservation if it's 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 by the BLC 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 signatures of the owner/applicant. Note: two are always required.

Specific details about the documentation 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 complete application within 10 calendar days and get back to the applicant with a determination. Using the specific criteria in Article 85, we either find the building “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 prior to the Boston 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, it is not an arbitrary determination. The five criteria staff use to determine significance are listed in Article 85-5.3. There is a common misconception that a property is not worthy of preservation if it's 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
Room 709
Boston, MA 02201
United States