Before demolishing a building in Boston you must submit an Article 85 application. We are no longer accepting paper applications; please submit a pdf application via email. See instructions:
Before you get started
About article 85 demolition delay
- establishing a waiting period to consider alternatives to the demolition of a building of historical, architectural, cultural or urban design value to the City
- providing an opportunity for the public to comment on the demolition of a particular building, and
- minimizing the number and extent of building demolition where no immediate re-use of the site is planned.
WHAT BUILDINGS ARE SUBJECT TO ARTICLE 85?
- All buildings located in either the Downtown or Harborpark.
- All other buildings at least 50 years of age.
- All buildings located in a Neighborhood Design Overlay District.
Designated (landmarked) buildings are reviewed through a different process, either by the Boston Landmarks Commission or the appropriate local historic district commission.
Complete your Application
The following documents are required as part of the application:
- photographs of the property and neighboring properties (all photographs must be keyed to a map)
- a map showing the property (maps are available on the Assessor’s website or through the Boston Planning & Development Agency)
- a plot plan
- plans and elevations if a new structure is proposed
- proof of ownership, and
- the notarized signature of the owner, and of the applicant if different. (Please note: This is required.)
Specific details about document requirements are listed in the application itself. The 10-day staff review does not begin until the application is complete. See our top 10 tips for preparing your Article 85 application.
Send your application to us
Wait to hear from us
Landmarks Commission staff will review each application and may request required information. Once all information is submitted, the application is complete. Staff may post the application online for public feedback. Within 10 calendar days, staff will get back to the applicant with a determination. Using the specific criteria in Article 85, the building is determined “significant” or “not significant.”
If it is significant*, we schedule a public hearing within 30 days. However, the applicant is required to hold a community meeting presenting alternatives to demolition before the Landmarks Commission hearing. Check with staff about the process. You can also read more about these requirements and the public hearing process.Keep in mind:
*"Significant" means something very specific in Article 85 review. Staff must use the five criteria that are listed in Article 85-5.3 to determine significance. A building can be found to be historic and worthy of preservation even if not included in:
- an official governmental list
- a register of historic places, or
- an inventory, survey, preservation report, or study, or something similar.
There are many as yet unidentified significant (historic) properties all over Boston.