Preservation Restriction Program
Preservation Restrictions protect historic and archaeological properties from changes that may be inappropriate. A Preservation Restriction (easement) on a property restricts owners from altering the entirety or a specific portion of a particular building, structure, or site without approval. A restriction can run for a pre-established number years or in perpetuity and is often recorded at the Registry of Deeds as part of the property's records. 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 throughout the City as do other organizations.
The Newton Historical Commission reviews proposed changes to properties with Preservation Restrictions based upon the terms of the particular restriction. This means that any alterations to the exterior of the structure, such as demolition, additions, renovations, or new construction, must be reviewed and approved. In some cases, even interior changes to historic buildings must be reviewed. When contemplating changes, applicants are encouraged to consult the City of Newton Historic Preservation Design Guidelines available on the Reports and Studies webpage.
Applications are first reviewed by staff and then if necessary by the Newton Historical Commission at a public meeting. There is no formal application for Preservation Restriction review, applicants 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. Planning Department staff will notify the applicant and all abutters by mail in the event a Commission meeting is required. Inquiries may be made to the Preservation Planner at the Newton Department of Planning and Development.