Local Historical Commissions

Local historical commissions are the official agents of municipal government responsible for community-wide historic preservation planning. Local historical commissions work in cooperation with other municipal agencies, such as the Select Board, City Council, building inspector, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Conservation Commission, to ensure that the goals of historic preservation are considered in the planning and future development of the community.  Local historical commissions are only advisory unless a local bylaw or ordinance, such as a demolition delay bylaw, has given them regulatory jurisdiction.  Local Historic District Commissions are the review authority responsible for regulatory design review within designated local historic districts. In some communities with local historic districts, the Historical Commission and Historic District Commission are combined into one Commission. This combined commission is known as either the Historical Commission or the Historic District Commission.

Local Historical Commissions in Massachusetts Video

A fifty minute video covering the basics of local historical commissions in Massachusetts. 

Contact the Massachusetts Historical Commission for a guidebook just for local historical commissions, the Preservation Planning Manual.

A One Page Summary of the 3 Steps of Historic Preservation Planning

Local Historical Commission Websites