Demolition Delay

Among other duties, the Newburyport Historical Commission is charged with reviewing applications filed under the City’s Demolition Delay Ordinance.   Under this ordinance, any demolition or changes to roofline to structures 75 years old or older must be reviewed by the NHC.  Accessory buildings must also be reviewed if they are 100 years old or older.  The purpose of the Ordinance is to protect and preserve structures in the City that reflect distinctive features of the architectural, cultural, political, economic, or social history of Newburyport.


Upon request for a demolition permit or a permit to change a roof line, an applicant is directed to apply to the NHC using the Demolition Permit Application Form (Step 1).  When the Planning Department receives completed application packets and the filing fee, applicants will then be scheduled for a meeting with the NHC.  The purpose of the initial meeting is to determine whether or not a structure is historically significant and considered for preservation.  If the NHC determines that a structure is not significant, they may instruct the Building Commissioner to release the demolition and/or building permit.  Applicants are then required to apply for any necessary permits through the Building Department.  If the NHC determines the structure to be historically significant, the applicant will be requested to complete the Demolition Plan Review Application (Step 2) and present their plan to the NHC.  A public hearing will be scheduled and abutters will be notified.  The Commission then has the ability to either notify the Building Commissioner that the demolition/building permit can be released, or it is considered “Preferably Preserved” and invoke a one year delay on the issuance of a demoltion and/or building permit.

Occasionally applicants must also apply for permits from other land use boards, such as the Zoning Board or Planning Board.  Applicants may find the process runs more efficiently if they receive their decision from the NHC prior to applying for other permits. If you have any questions during the process, please don't hesitate to ask Planning Department staff.

***Demolition Delay Applications are due by 4pm on the Tuesday a week prior to the next meeting date.***