The town’s Preservation Commission and Preservation Planners review full and partial demolition of all buildings in Brookline. If a building is deemed to have historic merit, the Preservation Commission may impose a stay of demolition for 12 months, or 18 months for properties listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The demolition delay period allows the town and the owner to discuss alternatives to demolition of the building.
Please check that Massachusetts Historical Commission’s online database, MACRIS, or contact preservation staff to determine if a property is listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Demolition applications are accepted via email & regular mail. Applications must include a completed demolition application (PDF), photos of all sides of the building & payment. Please complete an application for each structure proposed for demolition.
All full demolitions require an application. To determine whether an exterior renovation or addition triggers review for partial demolition, please contact Preservation Planners. For further information on what changes constitute partial demolition please see the diagrams that illustrate common situations in partial demolition cases.
Beyond the Delay
How are buildings protected?
Once the demolition delay of 12 or 18 months has expired, a property owner is free to demolish or alter their building as they choose. During the delay period, Preservation Planners invite property owners to consider working with the Commission to investigate alternatives to demolition. Owners may request a "Lift of Stay" before the delay period expires, based on plans to preserve the building. The Commission then undertakes design review, ensuring that the submitted plans adequately protect the historic resource. Once the Commission votes to lift the stay, the Building Department may issue a permit based on the approved plans.
In some cases, the surrounding neighborhood desires more permanent protection for their own homes as well as the property under Demolition Delay. Many Local Historic Districts in Brookline have been started in response to a demolition or threat of demolition. To learn more about this process, please see the Local Historic Districts page.