WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 51 of 219

change the roofing or siding materials, and construct additions. A building will be considered demolished if 50 percent or more of the exterior structure is removed or enveloped. The review process is straightforward. An owner wishing to demolish a pre-1950 structure needs to file an application with the Planning Department. The Planning Department staff will determine if the Bylaw is applicable; if so, the Historical Commission will hold a public hearing open to all town residents where owners, abutters, neighbors, and other residents may speak. If the Historical Commission determines that the building should be preserved, the structure may not be demolished for 12 months. During the delay, the property owner can explore alternatives to demolition like constructing additions, adaptively reusing the building, or selling the property to an owner who is willing to preserve the building. If the building is not found to be preferably preserved, the property owner may apply for a demolition permit. Although there is often pushback on these types of restrictions, multiple studies have shown that preservation laws actually in- crease property values. Homebuyers come to Wellesley in part because they like the neigh- borhood character of our town. A demolition delay bylaw helps maintain that character and increases the value of each neighborhood. Wellesley has lost some of its most signifi- cant historic buildings in the past 15 years, in- cluding the original Town Hall/Poor Farm where West Needham residents voted in 1880 to separate and become the town of Wellesley; the Wellesley Inn; and the award-winning 1938 Wellesley High School. Other historic structures like the Elm Bank Manor House — designed by world-famous architects Carrère and Hastings — and the Wellesley Farms train station — designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge — sit semi-abandoned in disrepair due to neglect. Far too many historic homes have been lost as well. The Demolition Delay Bylaw will hopefully allow the town to main- tain its historic character. turn op-ed issues speak up opinion sound off town green my turn op-ed issues speak up opinion sound off town green my turn op-ed issues speak up [ forum ] 50 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 7

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