Town of Ashland, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Ashland 10-17-2001 ATM by Art. 21. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This bylaw is enacted for the purpose of protecting and preserving significant buildings within the Town of Ashland which constitute or reflect distinctive features of the architectural or historical resources of the Town, and to encourage the owners of such buildings to seek out alternative options to preserve, rehabilitate or restore such buildings rather than to demolish them, thereby promoting the public welfare and preserving the cultural heritage of the Town. To achieve these purposes, the Ashland Historical Commission is authorized to advise the Inspector of Buildings with respect to the issuance of permits for the demolition of significant buildings. The issuance of demolition permits of significant buildings is regulated as provided by this bylaw.
1. 
No permit for the demolition of a building which, in whole or in part having been built before January 1, 1940 shall be issued other than in conformity with the provisions of this bylaw, as well as in conformity with the provisions of other laws and bylaws applicable to the demolition of buildings and the issuance of permits generally.
2. 
Application Contents -- Every application for a demolition permit for a building having been built before January 1, 1940 shall be filed with the Inspector of Buildings and shall contain the following information:
a. 
the address of the building to be demolished;
b. 
the owner's name, address and telephone number;
c. 
a brief description of the type of building and the condition requiring the issuance of the permit;
d. 
the date of the building as established by the Board of Assessors, deed or documentation verifying the year of construction; and,
e. 
a brief description of the proposed reuse, reconstruction or replacement on the premises upon which the building is located.
3. 
Within seven working days from receipt of an application for a demolition permit for a building having been built before January 1, 1940, the Inspector of Buildings shall forward a copy to the Commission. No demolition permit shall be issued during this time.
4. 
Within 20 working days after receipt of the application for a demolition permit by the Commission, the Commission shall make a Determination of Architectural and/or Historical Significance. Upon determination by the Commission that the building is not architecturally and/or historically significant, the Commission shall notify the Inspector of Buildings in writing. Upon receipt of such notification, or after the expiration of 20 working days from the date of submission to the Commission, the Inspector of Buildings may issue the demolition permit.
[Amended 5-2-2012 ATM, Art. 17]
5. 
Upon determination by the Commission that the building is architecturally and/or historically significant, the Inspector of Buildings and the applicant shall be so notified in writing, and the demolition permit shall not be issued. The Commission shall hold a public hearing within 20 working days of the Determination of Significance to determine whether the building should be preferentially preserved. Public notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be published by the Inspector of Buildings at the expense of the applicant in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town not less than seven days before the date of said hearing and shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the Town Hall for a period of not less than seven days before the date of said hearing.
[Amended 5-2-2012 ATM, Art. 17]
6. 
If, after a public hearing, the Commission determines that the significant building should not be preferentially preserved, the Commission shall notify the Inspector of Buildings, in writing, within five working days of the hearing and the Inspector of Buildings may issue a demolition permit upon receipt of the written decision.
7. 
If, after a public hearing, the Commission determines that the significant building should be preferentially preserved, the Commission shall so notify the Inspector of Buildings, in writing, within five working days of the hearing, and no demolition permit may be issued until nine months after the date of the determination by the Commission.
[Amended 5-2-2012 ATM, Art. 17]
8. 
Notwithstanding anything contained in paragraph 7 above, the Inspector of Buildings may issue a demolition permit for a preferably preserved building at any time after receipt of written advise from the Commission to the effect that either:
[Amended 5-2-2012 ATM, Art. 17]
a. 
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
b. 
the Commission is satisfied that for at least nine months the owner has made continuing, bona fide and reasonable efforts to locate a purchaser to preserve, rehabilitate or restore the subject building, and that such efforts have been unsuccessful.
It shall be the responsibility of the owner of record or the owner's designee to assist in the facilitation of the above process by providing information, allowing access to the property and 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.
Nothing in this bylaw shall restrict the Inspector of Buildings from immediately ordering the immediate demolition of any building in the event of imminent danger to the safety of the public.
The Commission and/or the Inspector of Buildings are each specifically authorized to institute any and all actions and proceedings, in law or equity, as they may deem necessary and appropriate to obtain compliance with the requirements of this bylaw or to prevent any threatened violation thereof. No building permit shall be issued with respect to any premises upon which a significant building has been voluntarily demolished in violation of this bylaw for a period of two years after the date of the completion of such demolition. As used herein, "premises" refers to the parcel of land upon which the demolished significant building was located and all adjoining parcels of land under common ownership or control.
Nothing in this bylaw shall be deemed to conflict with the provisions of the "Historic District Act" (MGL Chapter 40C). If any of the provisions of this bylaw do so conflict, the Act shall prevail.
In case any section, paragraph or part of this bylaw is for any reason declared invalid or unconstitutional by any court, every other section, paragraph and part shall continue in full force and effect.
Building shall mean any combination of materials forming a shelter for persons, animals or property.
Commission shall mean the Ashland Historical Commission.
Demolition shall mean any 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.
Demolition Permit shall mean the permit issued by the Inspector of Buildings as required by the State Building Code for a demolition, substantial demolition or removal of a building.
Historically or Architecturally Significant Building shall mean any building, in whole or in part, which was built prior to January 1, 1940, and:
a.
which is listed on, or is a contributing building within an area listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or which is the subject of a pending application for such listing, or is eligible for such listing; or,
b.
has been determined by vote of the Commission to be a significant building after a finding by the Commission that a building either
i.
is importantly associated with one or more historic persons or events, or with the broad architectural, cultural, political, economic or social history of the Town or the Commonwealth, or
ii.
is historically or architecturally significant (in terms of period, style, method of building construction or association with a recognized architect or builder) either by itself or in the context of a group of buildings.
Inspector of Buildings shall mean the person occupying the office of Inspector of Buildings or otherwise authorized to issue demolition permits.
Preferentially Preserved shall mean any historically or architecturally significant building which the Commission determines to be in the public interest to be preserved or rehabilitated rather than to be demolished.