COVID-19 information
/
For the latest updates, please visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) website:

How to file for Article 85 demolition review

Last updated:

Before demolishing a building in Boston you must submit an Article 85 application. As of May 23, 2022, we are no longer accepting paper or email applications; please submit an application via our Boston Landmarks Commission online portal. See instructions:

Step
1

Before you get started

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 application instructions before submitting the Article 85 application via our online portal. 

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
  • a signature page with 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.

Please submit your application by going to the Boston Landmarks Commission online portal, creating a free account, and navigating to the Article 85 (Demolition Delay) page.

Step
3

Wait to hear from us

Landmarks Commission staff will review each application in the order in which it was received and may request additional required information. Please upload any additional required documents in the online application. Once all information is submitted, the application will be deemed complete by staff.  Within 10 calendar days of marking the application as complete, 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. The applicant is required to present alternatives to demolition at a Landmarks Commission hearing. Applicants can request an extension of time to accommodate submitting two alternatives to demolition for staff review prior to the hearing, and/or to prepare additional documentation for the 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. 

Back to top