Applying for a Demolition Permit
- First, register an account on our online permit portal, Accela. Follow this guide:
you may skip this step if you already have an account.
Guide to Registering
- Then, open our guide to apply for an inspection on Accela.
Guide to Applying
- Click the following link to open Accela and follow the steps in the Guide to Applying.
Apply for Permit
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.
As of July 1, 2022, Historic Determination Demolition applications are accepted online. This Accela guide will you help you navigate the online permitting system for this determination. Applications must include a completed demolition application (PDF), photos of all sides of the building, proof of ownership & payment. Please complete a separate application for each structure proposed for demolition.
Please see our updated fees as of July 1, 2022.
All full demolitions require an application. To determine whether an exterior renovation or addition triggers a 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.
PLEASE NOTE: in addition to a Historic Determination, several other Department approvals are required as part of the Building Department's Demolition Permit process. Use this Building Permit Accela Guide, and if no building is being proposed, then choose the Building Application Record Type based on the existing building (either Residential Building or Commercial Building). Select "Demolition" in the drop down menu for Type of Improvement. You will be asked to upload several documents, including a copy of signatures from several Departments on the Demolition Approval Package. Each of these signatures may require separate review fees. For example, the Preservation Commission signature is signed once they determine through the Historic Determination Demolition application process above that: (i) the structure is not significant; (ii) that the demolition delay has expired; or (iii) that a Lift of Stay has been granted by the Preservation Commission (see below). Applicants may decide to seek all these approvals in parallel or decide to wait until they first know whether the outcome of the Historic Determination Demolition application process will require a demolition delay.
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. This process does not require any additional fee or permit. Owners should email one of the Preservation Planners, along with plans, and request a Lift of Stay review. 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.