[HISTORY: Adopted by ATM 5-6-1996 by Art. 23. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is enacted for the purpose of protecting and conserving the architectural, historical and aesthetic resources of the Town of Dover. Its aim is to encourage owners of "preferably-preserved historically significant buildings" to seek ways to preserve, rehabilitate or restore such buildings rather than demolish them. By furthering these purposes, this chapter intends to preserve the cultural heritage of Dover.
To achieve these goals, this chapter both empowers the Dover Historical Commission to advise the Inspector of Buildings with regard to the issuance of permits for demolition and regulates the issuance of demolition permits for significant buildings.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any combination of materials having a roof and a permanent foundation and forming a shelter for persons, animals or property. Examples include, but are not limited to, houses, shops, barns and outbuildings.
- The Dover Historical Commission.
- The act of pulling down, destroying, removing or razing a building or a substantial portion of a building or commencing the work of total or substantial destruction with the intent of completing the same.
- HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURE
- Any building which was wholly or in part constructed during or before
1929 and which is:[Amended ATM 5-7-2002 by Art. 32]
- A. Importantly associated with 1 or more historic persons or events or with the architectural, cultural, political, economic or social history of the Town of Dover or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; or
- B. Historically or architecturally important by reason of period, style, method of construction or association with a particular architect or builder, either by itself or in the context of a group of buildings or structures; or
- C. Listed on or within an area listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the State Register of Historic Places, or pending listing on such registers.
- INSPECTOR OF BUILDINGS
- The person occupying the office of Inspector of Buildings or person(s) otherwise authorized to issue demolition permits.
- PREFERABLY PRESERVED
- Any historically significant structure which, because of its importance to the Town's historical or architectural resources or heritage, is in the public interest to preserve, rehabilitate or restore.
No permit for the demolition of a building shall be issued except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter, as well as in conformity with the provisions of other laws and bylaws applicable to the demolition of buildings.
No permit for the erection of a new structure which would require the demolition of an existing building will be issued prior to the issuance of a permit for demolition of such existing building.
An application for demolition of a building shall be made only by the person(s) or entity which is the owner of record at the time of such application.
When the Inspector of Buildings receives a completed application for a demolition permit for a building, the Inspector of Buildings shall submit a copy of such application to the Commission within 7 days of filing and shall notify the applicant in writing of this action.
Within 21 days after the receipt of such application the Commission shall determine whether the building or structure is historically significant. The Commission will notify the applicant of the meeting at least 7 days in advance of the meeting, and the applicant for the permit shall be entitled to make a presentation to the Commission.
If the Commission determines that the building or structure is historically significant, it shall notify the Inspector of Buildings and the applicant in writing that a demolition plan review must be made prior to the issuance of a demolition permit. If the Commission fails to notify the Inspector of Buildings and the applicant within 21 days after its receipt of the application, then the building or structure shall be deemed not historically significant and the Inspector of Buildings may issue a demolition permit.
Within 60 days after the applicant is notified that the Commission has determined that a building or structure is historically significant, the applicant for the permit shall submit to the Commission 5 copies of a demolition plan which shall include the following information:
A drawing showing the location of the building or structure to be demolished;
A description of the building or structure, or part thereof, to be demolished;
The date of the building as established by the Board of Assessors, deed or other documentation verifying year of construction;
The reason for the proposed demolition with supporting data;
A brief description of the proposed reuse of the parcel on which the building or structure to be demolished is located; and
A certified list of abutters within 300 feet, notwithstanding any intervening water.
Within 45 days of the receipt of this demolition plan, the Commission shall review the application at a public hearing of the Commission to determine if the structure is preferably preserved. Public notice of such hearing shall be published by the Commission at the expense of the applicant in a local newspaper of the time, place and purpose of the hearing once in each of 2 successive weeks, the first publication not less than 14 days before the day of said hearing. The Commission shall also mail a copy of said notice to the applicant and to all owners of all property within 300 feet of the applicant's property as appearing on the most recent tax list, to the Dover Planning Board and such other persons as the Commission shall deem established to be notified.
After a public hearing, if the Commission determines that the demolition of the subject building would result in the demolition of a significant building whose loss would be detrimental to the historical or architectural heritage or resources of the Town, such building or structure shall be considered a Preferably Preserved Historically Significant Structure and the Commission shall so advise, in writing, both the applicant and the Inspector of Buildings within 7 days of the hearing, and no demolition permit shall be issued until 1 year after the date of such determination by the Commission.
[Amended ATM 5-7-2002 by Art. 32]
During the one-year waiting period established above, the applicant and the Commission shall make a good faith effort to find an alternative use for the building that will result in its preservation. Alternatives to demolition include, but are not limited to, incorporation of the building into the future development of the site; adaptive reuse of the building; utilization of financial incentives to rehabilitate the building; seeking a new owner willing to purchase and preserve, restore or rehabilitate the building; or moving or relocating the building.
[Amended ATM 5-7-2002 by Art. 32]
If no viable alternatives to the demolition of the building are found during the one-year waiting period, the owner of record shall cooperate with the Commission by permitting reasonable access, with prior notice, to the building for archival and documentation purposes for at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the waiting period.
[Amended ATM 5-7-2002 by Art. 32]
After a public hearing if the Commission determines that the subject building is not a Preferably Preserved Historically Significant Structure, the Commission shall notify the Inspector of Buildings within 7 days of the hearing and the Inspector of Buildings may issue a demolition permit upon receipt of the written decision.
Notwithstanding the preceding subsections, the Inspector of Buildings may issue a demolition permit for a Preferably Preserved Historically Significant Structure at any time after receipt of written advice from the Commission to the effect that the Commission is satisfied that there is no reasonable likelihood that the Preferably Preserved Historically Significant Structure can be preserved, rehabilitated or restored.
It shall be the responsibility of the applicant for a demolition permit to assist in the facilitation of the above process of this chapter by providing information; for allowing access to the property; for securing the premises; for participating in the investigation of preservation options; and for actively cooperating in seeking alternatives with the Commission and any interested parties.
Upon determination by the Commission that a building or structure is a Preferably Preserved Historically Significant Structure, the owner shall be responsible for properly securing the building, if vacant, to the satisfaction of the Inspector of Buildings. Should the owner fail to secure the building to the satisfaction of the Inspector of Buildings, the subsequent destruction of such building through any cause, which destruction could have been prevented by the required security measures, shall be considered a demolition in violation of this chapter.
In the event that the Inspector of Buildings determines or is asked to consider the condition of a building which was wholly or in part constructed during or before 1929, the Chair of the Historical Commission or his or her designee shall be notified to accompany the Inspector of Buildings during the inspection. If the Chair of the Historical Commission or his or her designee makes an initial determination that said building is or may be an Historically Significant Structure, the Inspector of Buildings shall pursue all reasonable courses of action to prevent emergency demolition of such building, including, but not limited to, requiring the owner to secure it against further damage or danger to the public.
[Amended ATM 5-7-2002 by Art. 32]
Nothing in this chapter shall restrict the Inspector of Buildings from immediately ordering the demolition of unsafe structures in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 143.
The Commission and/or the Inspector of Buildings are each specifically authorized to institute any and all actions and proceedings in law or in equity, as they deem necessary and appropriate, to obtain compliance with the requirements of this chapter or to prevent a threatened violation thereof.
Anyone who demolishes an Historically Significant building, except pursuant to a court order, without complying fully with the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $300. Each day from the date of the commencement of demolition until final adjudication by a court of competent jurisdiction shall constitute a separate offense.
In the event that any section, paragraph or part of this chapter is for any reason declared invalid or unconstitutional by any court, every other section, paragraph or part shall continue in full force and effect.
Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to conflict with the provisions of the Historic Districts Act, MGL c. 40C, with respect to requirements as to notice, hearing and issuance by the Historic District Commission of a certificate of appropriateness, a certificate of non-applicability or a certificate of hardship prior to demolition of any building in any Historic District established in the future in the Town of Dover.
Any person aggrieved by a determination of the Commission may appeal to Superior Court, per MGL c. 249, § 4.