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Boston Landmarks Commission Proposes New Requirements for Projects Subject to Demolition Delay Review

By Adam R. Hundley
September 2009
Practice: Development/Land Use, Real Estate
People: Adam R. Hundley

The Boston Landmarks Commission is considering a proposal that would clarify and strengthen the requirement that applicants hold a community meeting prior to appearing before the Commission for a Demolition Delay (Article 85) hearing.  Interested parties may wish to comment on the proposal, and, if the proposal is adopted, developers who wish to demolish certain “significant” buildings in Boston will need to satisfy new community meeting requirements during Demolition Delay review.   

Highlights of the proposal include the following:

  • At the community meeting, the applicant must present available historical and structural information on the building proposed for demolition, and discuss alternatives to demolition.  It is not sufficient for the applicant to simply describe the project that will replace the demolished building, without first discussing alternatives to demolition that were considered. 
  • The applicant must consult with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (MONS) regarding the scheduling of the community meeting.  In general, notice of the meeting must be distributed by flyer to properties within 500 feet of the subject building at least seven days prior to the meeting.  Email notice must also be sent to a list of interested parties.  MONS, in consultation with Commission staff, may determine that another method of notice is appropriate (where, for example, the 500-foot radius is deemed insufficient or excessive).
  • The applicant must submit evidence of the community meeting, including copies of the flyer and sign-in sheet and a summary letter from a community group if available, to the Commission staff at least 24 hours before the Demolition Delay hearing.  Importantly, if the Commission determines that adequate documentation has not been submitted, no vote (whether to invoke or waive Demolition Delay) will be taken on the application.
  • A different public meeting may substitute for the Demolition Delay community meeting, but only if all requirements for the community meeting are satisfied.  On a case-by-case basis, MONS, in consultation with Commission staff, may allow the procedural requirements of the other meeting to satisfy the Demolition Delay community meeting requirements (where, for example, the notice requirements for an Article 80 meeting are deemed sufficient).

The proposal will be available for review soon.  If the proposal is not posted on the City’s web site, interested parties can request a copy of the proposal from the author of this Advisory, who is a member of the Commission, at the email address or phone number below.  The Commission intends to review the proposal at the regular Commission hearing on October 13, 2009.  The Commission will accept written comments prior to the hearing, and will hear comments on the proposal at the hearing.  

For questions regarding the information contained in this G&S Advisory, please contact your usual Goulston & Storrs attorney or:

Adam R. Hundley
(617) 574-3540
ahundley@goulstonstorrs.com

Matthew J. Kiefer
(617) 574-6597
mkiefer@goulstonstorrs.com

This advisory should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer concerning your situation and any specific legal questions you may have.

Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, please be advised that, this communication is not intended to be, was not written to be and cannot be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under U.S. federal tax law or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another taxpayer any transaction or matter addressed herein.

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