Crescent Street Commission & By-law

The Crescent Street Historic District Commission, in accordance with Article XXIV of the Town of Weston General Bylaw as enacted in 1993, is charged with review of proposed exterior modifications of structures and other features located within the town’s only Local Historic District, provided that the changes are visible from Crescent Street.

For an updated list of members, please visit the Crescent Street Historic District Commission Page. 


Article XXIV: Crescent Street Historic District
Section 1
This By-Law shall be known and may be cited as the Crescent Street Historic District By-Law and is adopted pursuant to Chapter 40C of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as amended, hereinafter the Historic Districts Act.

Section 2. Purpose
The purpose of this By-Law is to promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the public through the preservation and protection of the distinctive characteristics of buildings and places significant in the history of the Commonwealth and the Town of Weston or their architecture, and through the maintenance and improvement of settings for such buildings and places and the encouragement of design compatible therewith.

Section 3. Historic District Boundaries
There is hereby established under the Historic Districts Act an historic district to be known as the Crescent Street Historic District (the “District”), comprised of land shown on the Atlas of the Town of Weston as parcels 23-57, 23-58-01, 23-58-20, 28-13, 28-14, 28-15, 28-16, 28-17, 28- 18, 28-19, 28-20, and 28-21, which District’s location and boundaries are shown on a map entitled “Crescent Street Historic District Map, Weston, Massachusetts, April 1993″ attached to and made a part of this By-Law.
21 Crescent Street
255 Boston Post Road
29 Crescent Street
Section 4. Historic District Commission Membership
There is hereby established under the Historic Districts Act with all the powers and duties of an historic district commission under such statute, a Crescent Street Historic District Commission, consisting of 5 members to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen in accordance with the provisions of such statute. The appointments to membership in the commission shall be so arranged that the term of at least 1 member will expire each year, and their successors shall be appointed in the same manner as the original appointment for terms of 3 years. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term. All members shall serve without compensation. The Commission shall elect annually a chairman and vice-chairman from its own number and a secretary from within or without its number. Three members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5. Definitions
Altered
: includes the words “rebuilt,” “reconstructed,” “restored,” “removed” and “demolished”; building: a combination of materials forming a shelter for persons, animals or property;

Certificate: certificate of appropriateness, a certificate of non-applicability, or a certificate of hardship as set forth in the Historic Districts Act and in this By-Law; Commission: the commission acting as the historic district commission; constructed: includes the words “built, erected, installed, enlarged and moved”;

Exterior architectural feature: such portion of the exterior of a building or structure as is open to view from Crescent Street, including but not limited to the architectural style and general arrangement and setting thereof, the kind, and texture of exterior building materials and the type and style of windows, doors, lights, signs and other appurtenant exterior fixtures; and the relation of such factors to similar features of buildings and structures in the immediate surroundings and the position of such building or structure in relation to the street and to other buildings and structures;

Historic Districts Act: Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40C, as amended; 26person aggrieved: the applicant, an owner of adjoining property, an owner of property within the district as that is within 1 hundred feet of said property lines and any charitable corporation in which one of its purposes is the preservation of historic structures or districts; structure: means a combination of materials other than a building, including a sign, fence, wall, terrace, walk or driveway.

Section 6. Alterations and Construction Prohibited Without Certificate

No building or structure within the District shall be constructed or altered in any way that affects exterior architectural features unless the Commission shall first have issued a certificate of appropriateness, a certificate of non-applicability or a certificate of hardship with respect to such construction or alteration.

No building permit for construction of a building or structure or alteration of an exterior architectural feature within the District and no demolition permit for demolition or removal of a building or structure within the District shall be issued by the Inspector of Buildings until the Certificate required by this section has been issued by the Commission.

Section 7. Procedure for Review of Applications

(a) Any person who desires to obtain a certificate from the Commission shall file an application for a certificate of appropriateness, a certificate of non-applicability or a certificate of hardship. The application shall be filed in such manner and shall be accompanied by such plans, materials and their information as may reasonably be required by the Commission as set forth in its rules and regulations.

(b) A filing fee shall be included with all applications (except applications for a certificate of non-applicability), to be computed as follows: Twenty ($20) dollars or 1/10 of 1 percent (1%) of the cost of the proposed exterior renovations, whichever is higher.

(c) The Commission shall determine within 14 (14) days of the filing of a completed application whether such application involves any exterior architectural feature that is within the jurisdiction of the Commission. If the Commission determines that an application does not involve any exterior architectural feature or involves an exterior architectural feature that is not subject to review by the Commission under this Article, the Commission shall issue a certificate of non-applicability.

(d) If the Commission determines that an application does involve an exterior architectural feature subject to review hereunder, it shall hold a public hearing on the application, except as otherwise provided hereunder. The Commission shall hold such public hearing within (30) days from the date of the filing of the completed application. At least 14 (14) days prior to the public hearing, the Commission shall give public notice of the date, time, place and purpose of the public hearing by posting it in Town Hall and in a newspaper of general circulation in Weston.

A copy of said notice shall be mailed to the applicant, to the owners of all adjoining property and other property deemed by the Commission to be materially affected thereby as they appear on the most recent real estate tax list of the Board of Assessors, to the Weston Planning Board, to any person filing written request for notice of hearings, such request to be renewed yearly in December, and to such other persons as the Commission shall deem entitled to notice.

Within (45) days after the filing of the completed application, or within such further time as the applicant may allow in writing, the Commission shall make a determination on the application. If the Commission shall fail to make a determination within such period of time, the Commission shall thereupon issue a certificate of hardship.

A public hearing on an application may be waived if all persons entitled to notice hereunder agree to such waiving in writing, or a public hearing on an application may be waived by the Commission if the Commission determines that the exterior architectural feature involved is so insubstantial in its effect on the District that it may be reviewed by the Commission without public hearing on the application, provided, however, that if the Commission dispenses with a public hearing on an application, notice of the application and the waiver of the public hearing shall be given to the owners of all adjoining property and other property deemed by the Commission to be materially affected thereby as above provided and 10 (10) days shall elapse after the mailing of such notice before the Commission may act upon such application.

Section 8. Factors to be Considered by the Commission
In acting upon applications for a certificate of appropriateness, applicability or hardship, and in any matters before it, the Commission shall consider, among other things, the historic and architectural value and significance of the site, building or structure, the general design, arrangement, texture and material of the features involved, and the relation of such features to similar features of buildings and structures in the surrounding area. The Commission shall also consider any existing Deed Restrictions or other restrictive covenants and their effect on sites, buildings and structures within the district.

In the case of new construction or additions to existing buildings or structures the Commission shall consider the appropriateness of the size and shape of the building or structure both in relation to the land area upon which the buildings or structure is situated and to buildings and structures in the vicinity, and the Commission may in appropriate cases impose dimensional and setback requirements in addition to those required by the Weston Zoning By-Law.

When ruling on applications for certificates of appropriateness for solar energy systems, as defined in Section 1A of M.G.L. c.40A, the Commission shall also consider the policy of the Commonwealth to encourage the use of solar energy systems and to protect solar access.

Section 9. Limitation & Exceptions
(a) The Commission shall not consider interior arrangements or architectural features not subject to view from Crescent Street.

(b) The Commission shall not make any recommendation or requirement except for the purpose of preventing developments incongruous to the historic aspects or the architectural characteristics of the surroundings and of the district.

(c) The authority of the Commission shall not extend to review of 1 or more of the following categories of buildings or structures or exterior architectural features in the district:

(i) Temporary structures or signs, subject, however, to such conditions as to duration of use, location, lighting, removal and similar matters as the Commission may reasonably specify;

(ii) Terraces, walks, driveways and similar structures, or any 1 or more of them, provided that any structure is substantially at grade level;

(iii) Storm doors and windows, screens and window air conditioners;

(iv) Exterior colors, including the color of paint and the color of materials used on roofs;

(v) Signs of not more than 1 square foot in area in connection with use of a residence for a customary home occupation or for professional purposes, provided only 1 such sign is displayed in connection with each residence and, if illuminated, is illuminated only indirectly; and 1 sign in connection with the nonresidential use of each building or structure, which is not more than 12 square feet in area, consisting of letters painted on wood without symbol or trademark and, if illuminated, is illuminated only indirectly; or either of them.

(vi) The reconstruction, substantially similar in exterior design, of a building, structure or exterior architectural feature damaged or destroyed by fire, storm or other disaster, provided such reconstruction is begun within 1 year thereafter and carried forward with due diligence.

(d) The Commission may determine from time to time after public hearing that certain other categories of exterior architectural features, structures or signs in addition to any of those enumerated in this Section, may be constructed or altered without review by the Commission without causing substantial derogation from the intent and purposes of this Article.

(e) Nothing in this By-Law shall be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance, repair or replacement of any exterior architectural feature within the district, which does not involve a change in design, material, or the outward appearance thereof, nor to prevent landscaping with plants, trees or shrubs, nor construed to prevent the meeting of requirements certified by a duly authorized public officer to be necessary for public safety because of unsafe or dangerous condition, nor construed to prevent any construction or alteration under a permit duly issued prior to the effective date of this By-Law.

Section 10. Issuance of Certificate of Appropriateness; Certificate of Non- Applicability; Certificate of Hardship
(a) Certificate of Appropriateness. If the Commission determines that the construction or alteration for which an application for a certificate of appropriateness has been filed will be appropriate for or compatible with the preservation or protection of the district, the Commission shall cause a certificate of appropriateness to be issued to the applicant.

In the case of a disapproval of an application for a certificate of appropriateness, the Commission shall place upon its records the reasons for such determination, and shall forthwith cause a notice of its determination, accompanied by a copy of the reasons therefor as set forth in the records of the Commission, to be issued to the applicant, and the Commission may make recommendations to the applicant with respect to appropriateness of design, arrangement, texture, material and similar features. Prior to the issuance of any disapproval, the Commission may notify the applicant of its proposed action accompanied by recommendations of changes in the applicant’s proposal which, if made, would make the application acceptable to the Commission. If within 14 days of the receipt of such a notice the applicant files a written modification of his application in conformity with the recommended changes of the Commission, the Commission shall cause a certificate of appropriateness to be issued to the applicant.

(b) Certificate of Non-Applicability. The Commission shall issue a certificate of non- applicability to an applicant in any case where the Commission determines that the construction or alteration under review does not involve any exterior architectural feature, or involves an exterior architectural feature which is not then subject to review by the Commission in accordance with this By-Law. An applicant can apply for a certificate of non-applicability or the Commission can issue such a certificate of non-applicability in the event of an application for a certificate of appropriateness.

(c) Certificate of Hardship. The Commission may issue a certificate of hardship in a case where the Commission determines that owing to conditions especially affecting the building or structure involved but not affecting the District generally, failure to approve an application will involve a substantial hardship, financial or otherwise, to the applicant and approval thereof may be made without substantial detriment to the public welfare and without substantial derogation from the intent and purposes of this By-Law.
An applicant can apply for a certificate of hardship or the Commission can issue such a certificate of hardship in the event that it determines that the construction or alteration for which a certificate of appropriateness has been filed is inappropriate and the other conditions for a certificate of hardship set forth herein have been met.

The Commission shall also issue a certificate of hardship in the event the Commission fails to make a determination of an application within the time specified in this By-Law.

Section 11. Other Power and Duties of the Commission
(a) Each certificate issued by the Commission shall be dated and signed by its chairman, vice- chairman, secretary or such other persons designated by the Commission to sign such certificate on its behalf.

(b) The Commission shall keep a permanent record of its resolutions, transactions, and determinations and of the vote of each member participating therein, and may adopt and amend such rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of this Article and the Historic Districts Act, and prescribe such forms as it shall deem desirable and necessary for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business. The Commission shall file a copy of any such rules and regulations with the Town Clerk.

(c) The Commission shall file with the Town Clerk and with the Inspector of Buildings a copy or notice of all certificates and determinations of disapproval issued by it.

(d) The Commission may, after public hearings, set forth in such manner as it may determine the various designs of certain appurtenances, such as light fixtures, which will meet the requirements of the District and a roster of roofing materials, which will meet the requirements of the District, but no such determination shall limit the right of an applicant to present other designs to the Commission for its approval.

(e) The Commission may, subject to appropriation, employ clerical and technical assistants or consultants and incur other expenses appropriate to the carrying on of its work. The Commission may receive and accept appropriations, grants and gifts for furthering the purposes of this By-Law and may expend the same for such purposes.

(f) Meetings of the Commission shall be held at the call of the chairman and shall be called at the request of 2 members of the Commission and in such other manner as the Commission shall determine in its rules. A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum. The concurring vote of a majority of the members of the Commission shall be necessary to issue a certificate of appropriateness, a certificate of non- applicability or a certificate of hardship.

Section 12. Severability
In case any section, paragraph or part of the By-Law be for any reason declared invalid or unconstitutional by any court of last resort, every other section, paragraph or part shall continue in full force and effect.
Section 13. Appeals to and Enforcement by the Superior Court.

All appeals from any determination of the Commission shall be to the Massachusetts Superior Court. Any person aggrieved by a determination of the Commission may, within 20 days after the filing of the notice of such determination with the Town Clerk, appeal to the Superior Court of Middlesex County, in accordance with the provisions of the Historic Districts Act.

Whoever violates any of the provisions of this By-Law shall be punished by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $500 dollars. Each day during any portion of which a violation continues to exist shall constitute a separate offense.