City Landmark / Preservation Restriction Review
Established in 1993 under City Ordinance Chapter 22, Sections 22-60 through 22-75, Newton’s Local Landmark Ordinance authorizes the Newton Historical Commission to designate individual properties as Newton Landmark Preservation Sites. The purpose of the ordinance is to recognize and protect buildings, structures, landscapes, and places, which are architecturally and/or historically significant resources within the City. The Landmarks Ordinance in the City of Newton provides the highest level of protection for properties determined to be the most architecturally or historically significant in the city. Under the Landmarks program, the Newton Historical Commission identifies those buildings or properties, which define the historic character of the city and have, over time, helped to establish a sense of place.
Preservation Restrictions protect historic and archaeological properties from changes that may be inappropriate. A Preservation Restriction (easement) on a property restricts owners from altering a specific portion of a particular building, structure, or site. A restriction can run for a pre-established number years or in perpetuity and is often included as part of the property deed. Preservation restrictions can be donated (with potential tax incentives) or purchased by a government body or private preservation organization and are enforced by the holder of the restriction. The City of Newton holds Preservation Restrictions on numerous properties.
The Newton Historical Commission reviews proposed changes to landmarked properties (Newton City Landmarks) and properties with Preservation Restrictions as if they were included in a local historic district. This means that any alterations to the exterior of the structure, such as demolition, additions, renovations, or new construction, must be reviewed and approved by the Newton Historical Commission. There is no formal application for preservation restriction review, but applicants for Preservation Restriction review should submit a letter to Preservation Planner, Planning and Development Department, Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Avenue, Newton MA 02459 with a detailed project description, photographs, and supporting documentation. For City Landmark review please use the application form provided on-line or at the Inspectional Services Counter in City Hall. Applications are reviewed at the Commission's monthly open meetings. Planning Department staff will notify the applicant and all abutters by mail. Inquiries may be made to the Preservation Planner at the Newton Department of Planning and Development. When contemplating changes, applicants are encouraged to consult the City of Newton Historic Preservation Design Guidelines available on the Reports and Studies webpage.