Boston Officials Want to Know if You Think This Dilapidated Shack Is Historically Significant

Boston is America’s oldest capital. Because of this, Boston is filled with historic buildings that have been the backdrop to some of America’s most important events.

It could be the West Roxbury shack, which is a disused building. The Boston Landmarks Commission sent out an open request to the public for comments earlier this month on the historical potential of the single-story wooden structure. It is currently scheduled for demolition.

If you have any questions about John Hancock’s storage of potting soil in this area, please submit your comments by Friday to the Commission. They will make a decision on the matter and decide whether the shed’s owner should tear it down.

This is hardly the first time the city’s landmarks commission—which is responsible for identifying and preserving historic buildings in the Massachusetts city—has asked Twitter for input on buildings that have seen better days.

They also sought feedback earlier in October on a request to demolish a detached garage located in Brighton.

The community was also asked to comment on the importance of the two-story Fenway Kenmore parking garage. It is possible that Sam Adams has parked his car here once before.

Bostonians were asked to comment on everything, from vacant shopfronts to single-family houses that are boarded up.

Although these requests may appear silly, they are essential to Boston’s historic preservation process. These requests for comments are an essential part of Boston’s historic preservation.

Back in 1995, the city amended its zoning code to add Article 85—a program intended to give both the public and historic preservation officials a chance to vet applications for the demolition of older buildings.

The landmarks commission must first review any request to demolish buildings in downtown and harborpark areas of the city. After receiving public feedback, the landmarks commission has 10 days in which to determine if the building being demolished is significant and to make a decision.

It is possible to make any building special by following a number of criteria.

It is also important to determine if the building belongs on the National Register of Historic Places or whether it is the subject of an pending application for designation as a Boston landmark. A building could be labeled important if it meets certain subjective criteria, such as if it’s associated with significant historic events or persons.

Other parts of the nation have relied on the more obscure historical determinates to stop the demolition of an eccentric-looking diner, which was set to become an apartment block.

Boston’s Article 85 process does not offer the same level of support to preservationists and would-be NIMBYs that other cities.

The landmark commission must hold a public hearing within forty days if it determines that the building is important. The landmark commission can delay demolition for up to 90 days after the hearing. After that hearing, property owners are able to apply for their demolition permits.

Although this could lead to wasted time, the Article 85 process doesn’t seem to endanger a Bostonian’s rights to demolish a building on his property.

This is good news. However, it raises questions about the purpose of all this public input. This reinforces at a minimum the belief that the property of someone else is city business.