Cambridge City
MA

Policy Order
POR 2017 #52
ORDER ADOPTED
Feb 27, 2017 5:30 PM

City Council support of the 10-citizen petition recently presented to the Cambridge Historical Commission, asking for a tiered designation system and other amendments to the Harvard Square Conservation District guidelines and possibly to its boundaries.

Information

Department:City Clerk's Office, JDSponsors:Councillor Jan Devereux, Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen
Category:Policy Order

Attachments

  1. Printout

Body

WHEREAS:

Section 2.78.180 of the Cambridge Municipal Code states that, “any ten registered voters of the City may petition the Historical Commission to initiate…the process of designating a landmark or neighborhood conservation district or amending or rescinding any such designation theretofore made”; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

On January 31, 2017, a 10-citizen petition was presented to the Cambridge Historical Commission, asking that the City Manager appoint a study committee to review the language of the Harvard Square Conservation District and amend its goals and guidelines, including adding a tiered designation system for historic buildings; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Buildings within the Harvard Square Conservation District vary in significance, with certain buildings deserving a greater level of protection due to their architectural, socio-cultural, and historical importance to Harvard Square and the City of Cambridge as a whole; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

The current guidelines for the Harvard Square Conservation District have no designations, treating all buildings with the same level of protection, unless they are landmarked or their storefronts are designated as historically significant; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

A two-tiered system would allow for the designation of certain buildings as “significant,” giving them greater protection similar to that of an historic district, and allowing other buildings to remain “contributing”; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

This distinction between “significant” and “contributing” buildings has been San Francisco’s model for commercial areas within their Conservation District; and 

 

 

WHEREAS:

The petition presented to the Cambridge Historical Commission also requested that the appointed study committee consider further adjustments to the Conservation District guidelines, including the need for night light studies accompanying any proposed development, requiring the Historic Commission to hold at least two public hearings before approving any demolition, requiring all plans to be uploaded to the Commission’s website for easy public viewing, reviewing the Conservation District boundaries, and hiring a court reporter to take minutes, consistent with the Planning Board and BZA procedures; and


 

 

WHEREAS:

This petition will be discussed at the Historical Commission’s meeting on March 2, 2017; now therefore be it

 

 

RESOLVED:

That the City Council hereby goes on record in supporting the 10-citizen petition recently presented to the Cambridge Historical Commission, asking for a tiered designation system and other amendments to the Harvard Square Conservation District guidelines and possibly to its boundaries.

 

Meeting History

Feb 27, 2017 5:30 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

COUNCILLOR TOOMEY RECORDED AS PRESENT. COUNCILLOR TOOMEY FILED RECONSIDERATION ON THIS MATTER.

RESULT:ORDER ADOPTED