|Newly submitted Local Historic District Study Committee Prelimiary Report can be found here.
Thank you, Swampscott
With the adoptation of the Local Historic District Bylaw and creation of four historic districts at the May 2014 Annual Town Meeting, this Study Committee has now been bisbanded. We look forward to the preservation of these districts and the work of the Historic District Commission.
Local historic districts are the strongest form of protection that can be given to historic properties, but it also has significant implications. Our study of the feasibility of a local historic district will include a comprehensive assessment of Swampscott's historic resources, considerations of the threats that those resources are currently facing or may face in the future, and a careful examination of appropriate strategies to address those threats.
It should be noted that a local historic district is not the sole mechanism for accomplishing historic preservation and protecting community character. Other strategies include changes to local zoning and development policy, the implementation of facade or other preservation incentive programs, and demolition delay bylaws. These and others can effectively contribute to preservation goals. In time, a local historic district could be just one part of a comprehensive strategy to protect Swampscott's historic resources.
The request for a local historic district feasibility study in Swampscott was brought to the Board of Selectmen by the Historical Commission as a response to historic properties being demolished in town. The Board of Selectmen has appointed this committee, which is currently working on selecting
areas for potential historic protection.
The committee is responsible for conducting an investigation and report on the desirability of establishing a local historic district, presenting our findings and recommendations, and conducting a public hearing on the proposal prior to its consideration by Town Meeting. Swampscott's Historic District Study Committee includes members/appointees of the Swampscott Historical Society, the local Board of Realtors, and the American Institute of Architects.
The study committee has met with a representative from the Massachusetts Historical Commission, who toured the proposed area, reviewed the historic district process with the committee, and provided materials to aid the committee's work.
Once the proposed areas have been selected, the commitee will begin to investigate the historical and/or architectural significance of the buildings and structures lcoated within the site. To aid in this endeavor, the site will be outlined on a base map that will include the property lines in the area to help clearly define the boundaries of the district. Only properties located within this boundary would be subject to the district's regulations. Following this step, the committee will compile a list of all the street addresses and owners of the properties in the boundary. The boundaries may end up being shifted prior to Town Meeting vote as the committee sees fit based upon its research and requests from citizens following public outreach.
Due to its strong regulatory abilities, a local historic district is something that must be agreed upon by at least two-thirds majority of Town Meeting, and therefore, the most important job of the study committee is and will be to inform the residents of Swampscott of the benefits of the district and the potential problems that might come in years ahead without one. The committee is currently working on these efforts and will be reaching out to the public throughout its research.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Massachusetts Historical Commission has put together a number of frequently asked questions relating to local historic districts.
2013 Community Survey
In early 2013, the Historic District Study Committee sent out a community survey with the annual census mailing. The survey asked residents why they moved to Swampscott, if they feel there is historical or architectural significance in town and if they would suport the creation of a Local Historic District. The response rate was excellent! Nearly a quarter of the town's households responded, and we are very thankful for your input.
You can view the results of the survey here.
In The Press
Chronology of the Historic District Study Committee
- April 25, 2012 - Committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen
- May 9, 2012 - First official meeting of the Committee
- May 16, 2012 - Second meeting of the Committee
- May 30, 2012 - First walking tour of Swampscott (third meeting of the committee)
- June 13, 2012 - Fourth meeting of the Committee
- June 27, 2012 - Second walking tour of Swampscott (fifth meeting of the committee)
- July 11, 2012 - Sixth meeting of the committee
- July 25, 2012 - Seventh meeting of the committee
- August 15, 2012 - Eigth meeting of the committee
- September 12, 2012 - Ninth meeting of the committee
- October 10, 2012 - Tenth meeting of the committee
- October 24, 2012 - Eleventh meeting of the committee
- November 7, 2012 - Property research workshop (twelth meeting of the committee)
- November 14, 2012 - Property research workshop (thirteenth meeting of the committee)
- December 5, 2012 - Fourteenth meeting of the committee
- January 16, 2013 - Fifteenth meeting of the committee
- January 30, 2013 - Sixteenth meeting of the committee
- February 6, 2013 - Seventeenth meeting of the committee
- February 27, 2013 - Eighteenth meeting of the committee
- March 27, 2013 - Nineteenth meeting of the committee
- April 17, 2013 - Twentieth meeting of the committee