As language continues being developed towards the creation of a bylaw that will delay the demolition of "historically significant" buildings and homes in Belmont, the first outward evidence that the owner/developer of one of the oldest residential buildings in town at 59 Common St. is preparing the property for new use, one that does not include the old house.
As a tree service removed mature trees and vegetation around the two-and-a-half century old home over the past weekend,emerged, much as it would have looked after it was built in the 1760s.
But the work is being done in preparation of removing the historic house to build two residential homes. Owner Mark Barons has been – the building includes a 19th century extension and a garage built in the previous century – to town land adjacent to the MBTA commuter rail station.
The threat of losing a significant part of Belmont's past lead to the effort lead by the.
The Board sent the proposal to the Planning Board which would work with the Historic District on language to present to the Special Town Meeting in January.
Under the proposed plan, the base-line criteria for a house to be considered for protection is that the building is at least 75 years old.
Then public hearings would take place to determine which of those homes have some significant historic reason – most likely architectural – to be placed on a preserve list.
Under its new jurisdiction, the Historic District Commission would have the ability to review the structure a developer or homeowner takes out a demolish order on and determine if the structure is worth saving.
The Massachusetts Historic Commission recommends a 12 months wait while communities have approved delays of between 6 to 18 months.
The demolition stay would allow the town to work with the developer or owner to find alternatives to razing the structure such as rehabilitation, moving the house onsite or to another location.
As the language continues to be hammered out by the Planning Board's Demo Delay Subcommittee and then sent to the Bylaw Committee to review the wording so it can be present it to the Town Meeting, the site on Common Street continues to be cleared with its history in the balance.