Medfield Historical Commission
Medfield Historical Commission
The Medfield Historical Commission works to identify and protect Medfield’s historical and archaeological assets. Its members ensure historic preservation is considered in community planning and development decisions.
- David Temple, Co-Chair
- Seth Meehan, Co-Chair
- Maria Baler
- Peter Fletcher
- Joe Opiela
- Kirsten Poler
- Doug Whitla
- Thomas Connors, Associate
Agendas and other meeting information are available on the town’s website.
Materials related to the Commission – including those consulted at recent meetings, recent meeting minutes, and commonly used resources – are available at the Commission’s public google drive.
Contact the Commission at davidftemple @ yahoo.com
The “powers and duties” of a historical commission in Massachusetts are articulated in General Law, Part I, Title VII, Chapter 40, Section 8D, and the commonwealth’s historical commission has a two-page summary to introduce new local commission members to their roles.
Demolition Delay Bylaw
The primary responsibility of the Medfield Historical Commission is to administer the town’s demolition delay bylaw, which intends to protect the town’s archeologic, historic, and aesthetic resources. In 1994, Medfield became one of the first Massachusetts communities to adopt a bylaw to review the proposed “demolition, partial demolition, or removal of a building or structure” that is, in whole or in part, constructed more than fifty years ago or that appears on the national or state registers of historic places.
When an application is filed with the town to demolish or remove such a building or structure, the Commission holds an open meeting to determine if the building or structure is “historically significant” – as defined in the town’s bylaw – and, if it is significant, if it is “preferably preserved” – again, as defined by the bylaw. A building or structure deemed by a majority vote of the Commission as “preferably preserved” cannot receive a demolition permit for eighteen months from the Commission’s decision. During such a delay, the Commission explores alternatives to the proposed demolition with the applicant. The Commission can lift the delay if certain conditions are met.
The Commission encourages individuals planning to request a demolition permit for a buildings or structure eligible for a delay review to consult the property information in the Massachusetts Historical Commission database through the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System as well as any relevant historical resources listed below.
Individuals appearing before the Commission should be prepared to demonstrate the alternatives they have considered to the proposed demolition. The Commission usually arranges a site visit with the applicant in advance of a demolition delay hearing. Please contact the Commission with questions about the bylaw’s procedure or the Commission’s expectations.
- The Commission presents Historical Preservation Awards to recognize significant contributions to the preservation of the town’s historic properties and resources. Please contact the Commission to nominate a candidate.
- The Commission reviews the historical documentation provided by residents interested to display a date sign on their homes. Please contact the Commission to learn more.
- The Commission is one of the town bodies that can propose warrant articles to designate new scenic roads. Please contact the Commission to learn how to nominate a new road.
- In the redevelopment of the Medfield State Hospital, the roles of the Commission roles appear in the town’s Memorandum of Agreement, as found in Exhibit C of the Land Disposition Agreement (pdf page 32 of 72).
- The Zoning Board of Appeals consults with the Commission when considering special permits for historical structures.
- The Massachusetts Historical Commission and relevant federal agencies consult with the Commission when “state or federally involved” projects might impact the town’s historical or archaeological resources.
- The Medfield Archaeological Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the Commission, has a mission to help protect archaeologically sensitive areas in town.
- Medfield’s historic preservation plan from 1999 is available online.
- William Tilden’s History of the Town of Medfield, Massachusetts, 1650–1886 (1887) is also available online.
- Published town histories are available through the Medfield Historical Society in addition to other helpful information and resources: https://medfieldhistoricalsociety.org/