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The Demolition Review Bylaw was enacted for the purpose of protecting and conserving the architectural, historical and aesthetic resources of the Town of Dover. Its aim is to encourage owners of "preferably-preserved historically significant buildings" to seek ways to preserve, rehabilitate or restore such buildings rather than demolish them.
To achieve these goals, this chapter both empowers the Dover Historical Commission to advise the Inspector of Buildings with regard to the issuance of permits for demolition and regulates the issuance of demolition permits for significant buildings.
When the Inspector of Buildings receives a completed application for a demolition permit for a building, the Inspector of Buildings submits a copy of the application to the Commission within 7 days of filing and notifies the applicant in writing of this action.
Houses, shops, barns, outbuildings and other structures which have a roof and a permanent foundation and serving as a shelter for persons, animals or property come under the Bylaw. The structure must have been wholly or in part constructed during or before 1929.
Within 21 days after the receipt of the application the Commission will meet and determine whether the building or structure is historically significant. The Commission will notify the applicant of the meeting at least 7 days in advance of the meeting, and the applicant for the permit is entitled to make a presentation to the Commission.
The bylaw lists three criteria:
If the Commission so decides, then the Inspector of Buildings will be notified, and the demolition may proceed.
If the Commission determines that the building or structure is historically significant, it will notify the Inspector of Buildings and the applicant in writing that a demolition plan review must be made prior to the issuance of a demolition permit.
Within 60 days after the applicant is notified that the Commission has determined that a building or structure is historically significant, the applicant for the permit will submit to the Commission 5 copies of a demolition plan which shall include the following information:
Within 45 days of the receipt of this demolition plan, the Commission will review the application at a public hearing of the Commission to determine if the structure is preferably preserved. Public notice of such hearing will be published by the Commission at the expense of the applicant in a local newspaper of the time, place and purpose of the hearing once in each of 2 successive weeks, the first publication not less than 14 days before the day of said hearing. The Commission will also mail a copy of this notice to the applicant and to all owners of all property within 300 feet of the applicant’s property as appearing on the most recent tax list.
Any historically significant structure which, because of its importance to the Town’s historical or architectural resources or heritage, is in the public interest to preserve, rehabilitate or restore.
After a public hearing, if the Commission determines that the demolition of the building would result in the demolition of a significant building whose loss would be detrimental to the historical or architectural heritage or resources of the Town, the building will be considered a Preferably Preserved Historically Significant Structure and the Commission shall so advise, in writing, both the applicant and the Inspector of Buildings within 7 days of the hearing, and no demolition permit shall be issued until 1 year after the date of such determination by the Commission.
During the one-year waiting period, the applicant and the Commission will make a good faith effort to find an alternative use for the building that will result in its preservation. The owner will cooperate with the Commission by providing reasonable access to the structure. Alternatives to demolition include, but are not limited to:
The owner is responsible for properly securing the building, if vacant, to the satisfaction of the Inspector of Buildings. Should the owner fail to secure the building to the satisfaction of the Inspector of Buildings, the subsequent destruction of such building through any cause, which destruction could have been prevented by the required security measures, is considered a demolition in violation of the Bylaw.
If no viable alternatives to the demolition of the building are found during the one-year waiting period, the owner of record shall cooperate with the Commission by permitting reasonable access, with prior notice, to the building for archival and documentation purposes for at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the waiting period. Upon the expiration of the waiting period, the Inspector of Buildings may issue a demolition permit.
From September to June, the Commission meets on the first Tuesday of each month. The Commission may also meet at other times necessitated by the strict timelines in the Demolition Review Bylaw. Look at the Meeting Calendar for specific dates and times.
The seven members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen for rotating three-year terms.