For the most part, demolition includes removing 25% or more of the square footage of a building's exterior sides and roof, removing one side of a building, removing the roof, or significantly altering the shape of the roof.
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All buildings in Brookline are potentially subject to a demolition delay. If a proposal for work on a building meets the definition of complete or partial demolition, then the building will be reviewed for its historical and architectural significance.
If proposed work qualifies a building for demolition delay review, the Preservation Commission staff, with the oversight of the Brookline Preservation Commission, makes an initial determination of historical and architectural significance within 10 business days after a completed application form has been submitted.
The Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing to determine whether it will uphold the initial determination of significance. If upheld, the Commission will impose a demolition delay on the building for a period of up to 12 months, or 18 months for a National or State Register property.
The definition of demolition is broader for buildings that have local, state or federal historic designations. Demolition of buildings listed, eligible for listing, or with a preliminary determination of eligibility for listing in the State or National Registers of Historic Places or located within State or National Register districts are automatically determined to be initially significant. Generally, proposed work that includes the systematic removal, effacement or destruction of the exterior architectural elements which define or contribute to the historic character of a building might qualify the project for review. This might include, but is not limited to removing or altering windows, siding, chimneys and decorative elements.
If a building is located in a Local Historic District, regulations and guidelines for work in local historic districts take precedence for review of any changes to structures. In almost all cases, the Commission does not approve demolition of buildings in local historic districts.