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Town of Wakefield, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Wakefield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 6-1-1992 ATM by Art. 37 as Ch. VII of the 1992 Bylaws]
This Article is adopted for the purpose of preserving and protecting, through advance notice of their proposed demolition, significant buildings within the town which constitute or reflect distinctive features of the architectural, cultural, political, economic or social history of the town; to encourage owners of preferably preserved significant buildings to seek out persons who might be willing to purchase and to preserve, rehabilitate or restore such buildings rather than demolish them; and by furthering these purposes to promote the public welfare, to preserve the resources of the town and to make the town a more attractive, desirable place in which to live. To achieve these purposes, the Wakefield Historical Commission is empowered to advise the Wakefield Building Inspector with respect to the issuance of permits for demolition, and the issuance of demolition permits for significant buildings is regulated as provided in this Article.
The following terms, when used, whether or not capitalized, in this Article, shall have the meanings set forth below unless the context otherwise requires:
An application for a permit for the demolition of a building.
Any combination of materials forming a shelter for persons, animals or property.
The person occupying the office of Building Inspector or otherwise authorized to issue demolition permits.
A day which is not a legal municipal holiday, Saturday or Sunday.
The Wakefield Historical Commission.
The Chairperson of the Commission or any person to whom the Commission has delegated authority to act as Commission staff under this Article.
The act of pulling down, destroying, removing or razing a building or commencing the work of total or substantial destruction with the intent of completing the same.
A list on file at the Massachusetts Historical Commission of buildings that have been designated by the Commission to be significant buildings after a finding by the Commission that a building either:
Is importantly associated with one (1) or more historical persons or events or with the broad architectural, cultural, political, economic or social history of the town or the commonwealth; or
Is historically or architecturally significant (in terms of period, style, method of building construction or association with a famous architect or builder), either by itself or in the context of a group of buildings.
A permit issued by the Building Inspector for demolition of a building pursuant to an application therefor.
Any significant building which the Commission determines is in the public interest to be preserved or rehabilitated rather than to be demolished.
Any building:
Which is listed on, or is within an area listed on, the National Register of Historic Places or which is the subject of a pending application for listing on said National Register; or
Which is or has been listed on an inventory provided to the Building Inspector by the Commission.
The Building Inspector, on the day of receipt of an application for demolition of a listed significant building or within the next five (5) successive business days, shall cause a copy of each such application for a demolition permit to be forwarded to (or shall satisfy himself that a duplicate of such application has been submitted to) the Commission. No demolition permit shall be issued at that time.
The Commission shall fix a reasonable time, within thirty (30) days of receiving a copy of such application, for a hearing on any application and shall give public notice thereof by publishing notice of the time, place and purpose of the hearing in a local newspaper at least fourteen (14) days before said hearing and also, within seven (7) days of said hearing, mail a copy of said notice to the property owners to be affected thereby, as they appear on the most recent local tax list, to the Wakefield Planning Board and to such other persons as the Commission shall deem entitled to notice.
If, after such hearing, the Commission determines that the demolition of the significant building would not be detrimental to the historical or architectural heritage or resources of the town, the Commission shall so notify the Building Inspector within ten (10) days of such determination. Upon receipt of such notification or after the expiration of fifteen (15) days from the date of the conclusion of the hearing if he has not received notification from the Commission, the Building Inspector may, subjected to the requirements of the State Building Code and any other applicable laws, bylaws, rules and regulations, issue the demolition permit.
If the Commission determines that the demolition of the significant building would be detrimental to the historical or architectural heritage or resources of the town, such building shall be considered a preferably preserved significant building.
Upon a determination by the Commission that the significant building which is the subject of the application for a demolition permit is a preferably preserved significant building, the Commission shall so advise the applicant and the Building Inspector, and no demolition permit may be issued until at least six (6) months after the date of the application for demolition.
Notwithstanding the preceding subsection, the Building Inspector may issue a demolition permit for a preferably preserved significant building at any time after receipt of written advice from the Commission to the effect that either:
The Commission is satisfied that there is no reasonable likelihood that either the owner or some other person or group is willing to purchase, preserve, rehabilitate or restore such building; or
The Commission is satisfied that for at least six (6) months the owner has made continuing, bona fide and reasonable efforts to locate a purchaser to preserve, rehabilitate and restore the subject building and that such efforts have been unsuccessful.
No permit for erection of a new structure on the site of an existing significant building may be issued prior to issuance of a permit for demolition of such existing building.
Nothing in this Article shall be construed to derogate in any way from the authority of the Inspector of Buildings derived from MGL c. 143. However, before acting pursuant to this chapter, the Inspector of Buildings shall make every reasonable effort to inform the Chairperson of the Historical Commission of his intentions to cause demolition before he initiates the same.
[Added 11-5-2018 RTM by Art. 18[1]]
The Commission and the Building Inspector are each specifically authorized to institute any and all actions and proceedings, in law or equity, as they may deem necessary or appropriate to obtain compliance with the requirements of this Chapter 126 and/or to prevent a threatened violation thereof.
Any owner of a significant building who demolishes such structure without first obtaining a demolition permit in accordance with the provisions hereof shall be subject to a fine of $300. Each day the violation exists shall constitute a separate offense until a faithful restoration of the demolished significant building is completed or unless otherwise agreed by the Commission.
If a significant building is demolished without a demolition permit having been issued in accordance with the provisions hereof, no building permit shall be issued for a period of two years from the date of the demolition on the subject parcel of land or any adjoining parcels of land under common ownership or control unless the permit is for the faithful restoration referred to in § 126-5B, above, or unless otherwise agreed by the Commission.
Editor's Note: This article also redesignated former § 126-5 as § 126-6.
If any section, paragraph or part of this Article is for any reason declared invalid or unconstitutional by any court, every other section, paragraph and part shall continue in full force and effect.