Prior to enactment of the Structure Demolition Bylaw numerous historically and architecturally significant resources were lost to demolition including Peirce Academy, Center Street; the Tucker-Jenks House ("The Martinique"), North Main Street; and the Central Baptist Church, Nickerson Avenue
Structure Demolition Bylaw
The Commission administers the Middleborough Structure Demolition
By-law which is a tool to help preserve historically and/or architecturally
significant resources by considering alternatives to demolition and
allowing adequate time to do so. The by-law also establishes penalties
for unauthorized demolition of significant structures.
SECTION 1. INTENT AND PURPOSE
1) This by-law has been prepared by the Middleborough Historical Commission in order
to protect and preserve historically significant structures, and to encourage owners of
such structures to seek out persons who might be willing to purchase, preserve,
rehabilitate, restore or remove such structures rather than demolish them as outlined in
the Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Planning manual. To achieve
these purposes the Middleborough Historical Commission is empowered to advise the
Building Inspector with respect to the issuance of permits for demolition as defined by
SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS BY-LAW
An application for a permit for the demolition or razing of a structure.
B) “BUILDING ISNPECTOR”
The person occupying the office of Building Inspector or otherwise authorized to
issue demolition permits.
The Middleborough Historical Commission as established under MGL Chapter 40
The act of pulling down, destroying, removing or razing an entire building or
commencing or carrying out the work of totally or substantially total destruction of an
entire building with the intent of completing the same. Excluded from this definition
shall be pulling down, destroying, removing or razing a part of a building if a substantial
part of the building will remain after such work is completed.
E) “DEMOLITION PERMIT”
Any demolition permit issued by the Inspector of Buildings under the State
Building Code which authorizes the destruction, demolition or removal of an entire
building or substantially an entire building. Excluded from this definition shall be any
demolition permit which authorizes destruction, demolition or removal of a part of a
building if a substantial part of the building will remain after such work
The parcel of land that a significant structure is located on.
G) “SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURE” – any building or portion thereof which:
a. is listed on, or is within an area listed on, the National Register of Historic Places or is
the subject of a pending application for listing on said register; or
b. is included in the Cultural Resources Inventory prepared by the Commission including
those buildings for which complete surveys may be pending; or
c. has been determined by vote of the Commission to be historically or architecturally
significant in terms of period, style, method of building construction, or association with
a famous architect or builder provided that the owner of such a building and the
Building Commissioner have been notified, in hand or by certified mail, of such vote.
SECTION 3. PROCEDURE.
3.1) Upon receipt of an application for a demolition permit the Building Inspector shall
within five (5) working days forward a copy to the Chairman of the Historical
Commission or his/her designee. No demolition permit shall be issued at this time.
3.2) Within twenty (20) days from its receipt of a demolition permit application, the
Commission shall determine whether the structure in question is a Significant Structure.
The applicant for said permit may within this time frame make a presentation to the
Commission if he or she chooses to do so. If the Commission determines that the
structure is not a Significant Structure, the Commission shall so notify the Building
Inspector and/or owner(s) of the structure(s) in writing within five (5) days of such
determination and at this time a Demolition Permit may be issued.
3.3) If the Commission finds that the structure is a Significant Structure, the Commission, in
cooperation with the applicant, shall fix the date for a public hearing. The expense of such
notice shall be borne by the demolition permit applicant and the applicant shall give public
notice thereof by publishing notice of the time, place and purpose of said hearing in a local
newspaper, and also at the Town Hall at least fourteen
(14) calendar days prior to said hearing. In addition to this, notice shall be mailed to the
applicant(s) within seven (7) days of said hearing, and to the abutters of said premises in
question within a radius of not more than three hundred (300) feet, as they appear on the
most recent tax list. The hearing shall be held no later than thirty (30) days from the
determination under Section 3.2 that a structure is a Significant Structure.
3.4) The Commission shall make a determination under Section 3.5 or Section 3.6 no
more than fourteen (14) days after completion of a public hearing under Section 3.3.
3.5) If, after such hearing, the Commission determines that demolition of the Significant
Structure 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) calendar
days of such determination. Upon receipt of such notification, or after fifteen
(15) calendar days from the date of the conduct of the hearing, if the Building Inspector
has not received notification from the Commission, he/she may, subject to the
requirements of the State Building Code or any other applicable laws, by-laws, or rules
and regulations, issue the demolition permit.
3.6) If the Commission determines that the demolition of a Significant Structure would be
detrimental to the historical or architectural resources of the town, and such structure shall
be considered to be a “Preferably Preserved Significant Structure”. At this time the
Commission shall give a written statement to the owner(s) of said structure and all
concerned parties, as well as the Building Inspector and any other town offices that the
Commission deems necessary to notify, outlining and defining the reason(s) for such
determination. In order to allow the applicant(s) of a Preferably Preserved Significant
Structure the time to find alternative methods as opposed to demolition, no demolition
permit shall be issued for the structure in question for a period of not more than twelve
(12) months from the date of such determination by the Commission. If the building islisted as a National Register property, either individually or as a contributing resource
within a national Register District, the period shall be no more than 18 months.
3.7) Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the Building Inspector may issue a
demolition permit for a Preferably Preserved Significant Structure at any time after
receipt [of] written advice from the Commission to the effect that either;
a. The Commission is satisfied that there is no reasonable likelihood that either the
owner(s), applicant(s) or some other person(s) or group is willing to purchase,
preserve, rehabilitate, restore or remove such structure in question, or
b. The Commission is satisfied that the owner has made continuing bona fide and
reasonable efforts to locate a purchaser to preserve, rehabilitate, restore or remove the
subject structure, and that such efforts have been unsuccessful.
3.8) If a structure poses an immediate threat to public health or safety due to its
deteriorated condition the owner(s) of said structure may request issuance of an
emergency demolition permit from the Building Inspector. At this time, the Building
Inspector shall arrange to have the property inspected by himself or his designee. If the
Building Inspector finds that the condition of the structure poses a serious and
imminent threat to public health and safety and that there is no reasonable alternative
to the immediate demolition of the structure, then the Building Inspector may at this
time issu an emergency demolition permit under these provisions, he shall prepare a
written report surrounding [the] basis for his/her decision to issue an emergency
demolition with the Commission. Nothing in this by-law shall be inconsistent with the
procedures for the demolition and/or securing of structures established by
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 143, Section 6-10. In the event that a Board of
Survey is convened under the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 143,
Section 8 with regard to any structure identified in this by-law, the Building Inspector
shall request the chairman of the Middleborough Historical Commission, or his/her
designee to accompany the Board during its inspection. A copy of the written report
prepared as a result of such inspection shall be filed with the Commission.
SECTION 4. RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OWNER
4.1) The owner(s) of a Preferably Preserved Significant Structure shall be responsible
for participating in the investigation of options and for facilitating the process by
providing any necessary information, allowing access to the property, securing the
premises, and being actively cooperative in seeking alternatives with the Commission
and any interested parties.
SECTION 5. ENFORCEMENT AND REMEDIES
5.1) The Commission and the Building Inspector are each authorized to institute any
and all proceedings in law or equity as they deem necessary and appropriate to obtain
compliance with the requirements of this by-law or to prevent a violation thereof.
5.2) Anyone who demolishes a structure, in whole or in part, as defined within the definition
section of this by-law without notifying, or receiving prior consent from the Commission or
Building Inspector, shall be subject to a fine of not more than Three Hundred ($300.00)
Dollars. If the Commission subsequently determines that the building that has been
demolished was a Significant Structure, building permit for said premises shall not be issued
for a period of two (2) years from the date of such demolition.
SECTION 6. SEVERABILITY
6.1) If any section, paragraph or part of this by-law be for any reason declared invalid
or unconstitutional by any court, every other section, paragraph and part shall continue
in full force and effect.