Town of Ipswich, MA
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Ipswich as Ch. XXII of the 1973 Bylaws. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Demolition review — See Ch. 138.

§ 113-1 Establishment and administration.

The Town of Ipswich hereby establishes an Architectural Preservation District ("APD"), to be administered by an Architectural Preservation District Commission ("APDC").

§ 113-2 Purpose.

A. 
This bylaw is enacted under the Home Rule Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution for the purposes of:
(1) 
Preserving and protecting groups of historically and/or architecturally significant buildings and the characteristics of their neighborhoods that are important to the Town's architectural, cultural, economic, political and/or social history;
(2) 
Fostering wider public knowledge and appreciation of such neighborhoods and buildings;
(3) 
Limiting the detrimental effect of alterations, additions, demolitions and new construction on the character of such buildings and their neighborhood settings;
(4) 
Reviewing proposed alterations, which include demolition, substantial additions, and new construction, of or to any buildings located within the APD, for appropriateness and compatibility with the existing buildings, setting and neighborhood character; and
(5) 
Facilitating the protection of the APD through a combination of binding and voluntary non-binding regulatory review.
B. 
To achieve these purposes, the Town of Ipswich may designate APDs to be administered as set forth in this bylaw.

§ 113-3 Definitions.

For the purpose of this bylaw, the terms and words listed below shall have the following meaning:
ADDITION, SUBSTANTIAL
Any addition to a principal or accessory contributing building that is enclosed by walls and a roof and which increases the existing gross floor area by 1,000 square feet or by 30% or more, whichever is less. Multiple additions that occur within a consecutive three-year period which collectively increase the building's gross floor area as described above shall also constitute a Substantial Addition.
[Amended 5-12-2015 ATM by Art. 16]
ALTERATION
A change to a building or part thereof, such as removal, construction, reconstruction, restoration, replication, rehabilitation, addition, or demolition; and/or a change to a site that includes constructing, placing, erecting, installing, enlarging or moving a building and other similar activities.
ALTERATION, SUBSTANTIAL EXTERIOR
An Alteration to the exterior of a contributing building which bears a cost that equals or exceeds 50% of the assessed value of the structure before the Alteration is undertaken, or which significantly changes the shape, height and proportions, or scale of the building, and/or its relationship to surrounding structures along the streetscape.
ARCHITECTURAL PRESERVATION DISTRICT ("APD")
An area of historic and/or architectural significance determined by the Town's residents to be worthy of preservation.
BINDING REVIEW
Pursuant to § 113-9 of this bylaw, a mandatory process which applies to demolition, substantial alterations, and new construction of buildings on contributing properties in an APD.
BUILDING
A combination of materials having a roof, the purpose of which is the shelter of persons, animals, property, or processes.
CERTIFICATE TO ALTER
A document issued by the APDC allowing Alterations which require review pursuant to § 113-9 of this bylaw.
CONTRIBUTING PROPERTY
Any building within an APD that was constructed prior to 1900 and which contributes to its historical character, or any house lot within the APD which was either vacant prior to the adoption of this bylaw or subsequently becomes vacant due to the demolition of its principal building.
DEMOLITION
The act of pulling down, destroying, removing or razing structures or significant parts of structures, or commencing the work of total or substantial destruction with the intent of completing the same.
DESIGN GUIDELINES
A public document which provides further detail and illustration of the design standards established in § 113-10 of this bylaw. Such guidelines, by facilitating the APDC's determination as to whether proposed alterations are appropriate and compatible with the existing buildings, setting and neighborhood character of the APD, will ensure fair, reasonable and objective preservation practices by the APDC.
NON-BINDING VOLUNTARY REVIEW
A review offered by the APDC for Alterations as described in § 113-8 of this bylaw.
PERSON AGGRIEVED
The owner of the subject property or an owner of real property located within the APD and within 300 feet of the subject property.
SUBSTITUTE SIDING
A siding material that has been placed over or has replaced the wood siding of a building. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, aluminum, vinyl, or asphalt siding.
[Amended 5-12-2015 ATM by Art. 16]

§ 113-4 Designation of Architectural Preservation District (APD).

The APD shall, by Town Meeting vote, encompass the area shown on the map entitled "Proposed Architectural Preservation District, dated September 3, 2014," and appended to this bylaw. Amendments to the district boundaries may be made only by vote of Town Meeting.

§ 113-5 Architectural Preservation District Commission (APDC).

A. 
The Board of Selectmen shall appoint a five-member APDC to oversee the APD pursuant to this bylaw. Initially, two members shall be appointed for one year, two for two years, and one for three years; each successive appointment shall be made for three years. The Board of Selectmen may also appoint up to two alternate members, initially for terms of one, two and three years, and for three-year terms thereafter. If members are absent, unable to act, or recused from voting due to a conflict of interest, the APDC chair may designate one or both of the alternate members to serve in their place.
B. 
To the extent achievable, the APDC shall be comprised of the following persons: a member of the Ipswich Historical Commission; an architectural designer; a craftsperson or building contractor familiar with historic restoration; and two residents of the APD. Members and alternates of the APDC shall by reason of experience and/or education have demonstrable knowledge, interest, and ability to effectively carry out the APDC's responsibilities.

§ 113-6 APDC powers and duties.

A. 
The APDC shall exercise its powers in reviewing the construction, demolition and/or alteration of buildings within the APD as set forth in this bylaw, and in accordance with the standards described in § 113-10. Within 180 days of its establishment, the APDC shall adopt design guidelines to assist the APDC determine whether the proposal satisfies the standards described in § 113-10, as well as to facilitate owner understanding of, and compliance with, those standards. The APDC may also promulgate rules and regulations consistent with the provisions of this bylaw, or set forth such forms and procedures as it deems appropriate for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business, including requirements for the contents and form of applications for certificates, hearing procedures and other matters.
B. 
In adopting design guidelines and rules and regulations, including any subsequent amendments, the APDC shall first hold a duly posted public hearing advertised at least 14 days in advance within a newspaper of local circulation.
C. 
The APDC shall not adopt or amend any design guidelines or rules and regulations until at least 35 days after the APDC has provided a copy of those proposed guidelines or regulations to the Board of Selectmen.

§ 113-7 Exemptions.

The following are exempt from the requirements of this bylaw:
A. 
Routine maintenance of buildings.
B. 
Repairs or improvements which do not require a building or demolition permit from the Building Inspector.
C. 
Temporary buildings (subject to time and size limits imposed by the APDC).
D. 
Interior building alterations.
E. 
Exterior building colors.
F. 
Installation or replacement of storm windows and doors, screen windows and doors.
G. 
Removal or replacement of gutters, downspouts, window and door shutters.
H. 
Removal of substitute siding from a building.
I. 
Structures not defined as buildings or parts of buildings.
J. 
Reconstruction of a building damaged or destroyed by fire, storm or other disaster, provided that the reconstruction is completed in a manner that is consistent with other local bylaws. For a Contributing Property the owner is encouraged to reconstruct the building, to the greatest extent possible, to conform to its original size and appearance; for a non-Contributing Property the owner is encouraged to reconstruct the building to conform to the design standards in § 113-10 and the associated design guidelines.

§ 113-8 Alterations for which advisory review is recommended.

A. 
Property owners undertaking alterations to a Contributing Property are strongly encouraged, but not required, to request an advisory review from the APDC for the following improvements:
(1) 
Accessibility improvements, including ramps, rails, walkways and mechanical equipment associated with exterior architectural barriers subject to MGL c. 40A and other applicable state or federal laws;
(2) 
Replacement of windows, doors, architectural trim, roofing and siding in a manner that substantially differs from existing materials, design or dimensions;
(3) 
Construction of a fully-enclosed addition to a structure that increases its gross floor area by less than 1,000 square feet or by less than 30%, whichever is less, or by construction of a structure that does not have a roof or is not fully enclosed by load-bearing walls, including the replacement and extension of a porch or deck;
(4) 
Installation of solar collectors or wind energy collection systems; and
(5) 
Any other alteration not classified as routine maintenance that does not increase building volume.
B. 
Advisory review does not require a public hearing, is non-binding, and can be requested electronically. In providing advisory review for a proposed Alteration, the APDC shall make a finding as to whether or not the proposed Alteration is compatible with the standards in § 113-10 and the associated design guidelines. The APDC shall provide its finding in writing and within 20 days of receiving a request for advisory review. The advisory may include recommendations on how the proposed Alteration could be made more consistent with the standards and the design guidelines.

§ 113-9 Alterations which require APDC review.

A. 
The following alterations require the submittal of an application for review by the APDC:
(1) 
Demolition of a building or part of a building on a Contributing Property.
(2) 
Substantial Exterior Alteration to a Contributing Property.
(3) 
New construction of buildings on properties within the APD, including substantial additions, but not including the construction of accessory buildings that are less than 250 square feet in area.
[Amended 5-12-2015 ATM by Art. 16]
B. 
Applications should include a completed application form and photographs showing existing buildings and site conditions. For new construction and substantial exterior alteration, applicants should also provide building elevations showing the proposed configuration and building materials; a plan showing the approximate footprint and relationships of buildings to other structures, exterior circulation, and points of entry; and any other plans which may help to demonstrate the proposed building design. Applications can be submitted electronically, but applicants shall also provide one hard copy of the application to the Planning Office. If appropriate, the APDC may waive any or all of the requirements for design submittal and review.
C. 
Within 30 days of the application submittal, a copy of which shall be filed with the Town Clerk, the APDC shall hold a public hearing on the application, said hearing to be noticed by an ad published at least once in a newspaper with local circulation 14 days or more before the hearing. Following the hearing, the APDC shall determine whether or not the proposed Alteration is consistent with the standards set forth in § 113-10 and the associated design guidelines.
D. 
If the APDC determines by majority vote that the Alteration adheres to the standards and the design guidelines, it shall issue a Certificate to Alter, which may be subject to reasonable conditions that the APDC deems necessary and appropriate. If the APDC does not achieve a majority vote that the Alteration is compatible with the standards and the design guidelines, it shall make a negative determination.
E. 
The APDC's written determination shall be submitted to the property owner within 20 days of the close of the public hearing, and no later than 60 days after the submittal of an application, unless granted a time extension by the owner. In making its determination, the APDC shall provide a rationale for its action, including a description of how the alteration does or does not meet the standards set forth in § 113-10 and the design guidelines. If the APDC makes a negative determination, it shall include recommendations on how the proposed Alterations may be modified to satisfy the APDC. Once the applicant modifies the Alterations in a manner that the APDC finds acceptable, the APDC shall issue a Certificate to Alter.
F. 
The determinations of the APDC relative to Alterations described in this § 113-9, whether positive or negative, shall be binding on the applicant.

§ 113-10 Design standards.

When reviewing an application, the APDC shall consider the following standards, which are intended to guide the property owner in the site development and building design, as well as the APDC in its review of proposed actions as described in § 113-9 above:
A. 
Height and Proportions — The height, proportions, and relationship of height to width between windows, doors, signs and other architectural elements should be compatible with the architectural style and character of the building or structure.
B. 
Relation of Structures and Spaces — The relation of a structure to the open space between it and adjoining structures should be compatible with such relationships in the district.
C. 
Shape — The shape of roofs, windows, doors and other design elements should be compatible with the architectural style and character of the building.
D. 
Scale — The scale of a structure should be compatible with its architectural design style and character and that of the district.
E. 
Directional Expression — Building facades and other architectural design elements should be compatible with those of others in the district with regard to the dominant vertical or horizontal expression or direction related to use and historical or cultural character, as appropriate.
F. 
Garages and Accessory Buildings — Garages and accessory buildings should be sensitively integrated into the overall development, and should not be the predominant design feature when viewed from the street.

§ 113-11 Procedures for issuance and filing of APDC determinations.

A. 
Each Certificate to Alter or negative determination issued by the APDC shall be dated and signed by its chair or such other person designated by the APDC to sign certificates on its behalf. The APDC shall send a written copy of its actions to the property owner and shall file other copies with the office of the Town Clerk and the Building Inspector. The date of issuance of a certificate or negative determination shall be the date of its filing of other said copy with the office of the Town Clerk.
B. 
If the APDC should fail to submit a written determination within 20 days of closing its public hearing, or within 60 days of the submittal of a Certificate, or within such further time as the applicant may allow in writing, a Certificate to Alter shall be waived in favor of the property owner.

§ 113-12 Enforcement.

[Amended 5-12-2015 ATM by Art. 16]
In addition to the duties previously set forth in this bylaw, the APDC or the Building Inspector may issue enforcement orders directing compliance with this bylaw and may undertake any other administrative enforcement action authorized by law. Upon request of the APDC, and with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, the Town Counsel may take legal action on behalf of the Town for enforcement of this Bylaw, or any order issued hereunder, in any court of competent jurisdiction.

§ 113-13 Coordination with other Town boards and bylaws.

A. 
Except as stated in Subsection B below, the APDC's authority as established in this bylaw shall not supersede or interfere with the regulatory authority of other local or state boards or APDCs.
B. 
By exercise of this bylaw, the APDC assumes the authority of the Ipswich Historical Commission pursuant to Chapter 138, Demolition Review, of these General Bylaws, relative to the proposed demolition of buildings built prior to 1900 and located within the APD.
C. 
The APDC shall make every effort to coordinate its review with that of other Town Boards.

§ 113-14 Appeal procedure.

[Amended 5-12-2015 ATM by Art. 16]
Any aggrieved party may appeal the action of the APDC. Appeals may be taken as provided by MGL c. 249, § 4, as may be amended.

§ 113-15 Validity and severability.

The provisions of this bylaw shall be deemed to be separable. If any of its provisions, sections, subsections, sentences or clauses shall be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this bylaw shall continue to be in full force and effect.

§ 113-16 Rules and regulations.

The APDC shall promulgate and publish such rules and regulations as are deemed appropriate and consistent with the provisions of this bylaw.