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Waltham erecting historic barrier against hasty demolitions

Posted by Ralph Ranalli January 21, 2008 07:18 AM

WALTHAM

An ordinance that would establish a six-month waiting period before a building with historical value can be demolished is awaiting Mayor Jeannette McCarthy's signature.

Local history buffs claimed victory last Monday, when the Waltham City Council approved the matter in a 10-4 vote. Councillors who voted in favor were Sarafina "Sally" Collura, George A. Darcy III, Joseph M. Giordano Jr., Robert S. Kelly, Robert G. Logan, Patrick J. O'Brien, Stephen F. Rourke, Thomas M. Stanley, Edmund P. Tarallo, and Robert J. Waddick. Voting against the measure were Councillors Gary J. Marchese, David H. Marcou Jr., Kathleen B. McMenimen, and Paul J. Brasco.

To be historically significant, the Waltham Historical Commission must find that the building is at least 75 years old and meets any of the following criteria:

* That it is listed or eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places;
* That it is associated with a historical person or event or important in a general historical context, or;
* That it is historically or architecturally important in terms of style, construction method, period, or association with a recognized architect or builder.

After a public hearing, the commission decides if the building is "preferably preserved" and can then order the six-month delay. City officials and historical groups can then try to negotiate an alternative to demolition with the property owner.

If none is found, the city can then issue a permit for demolition.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

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