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Home > Preservation Planning > Local Preservation Planning > Demolition Delay Ordinances

Demolition Delay Ordinances

Demolition delay regulations can be implemented as a stand-alone ordinance or as a bylaw in an existing historic preservation or zoning ordinance. Such legislation can be a very effective tool in helping to protect historically significant resources in the community. While a demolition delay ordinance or bylaw cannot prevent demolitions indefinitely, delaying the demolition of a significant resource can often have a positive outcome.

Generally, in a town with demolition delay provisions, a property owner requesting a demolition permit from the planning board, city council, or code enforcement officer must receive approval from the town’s historical review committee or commission, or other permitting body prior to undertaking the demolition of structures that are designated as historically significant. If it is determined that there should be an effort to preserve the structure, a delay period is imposed to consider and find alternatives to demolition. If no alternatives are found prior to the expiration of the delay period, a demolition permit is issued and demolition can proceed. A demolition delay ordinance or bylaw is not generally intended to prevent a demolition from occurring indefinitely.

The links below provide sample language for demolition delay ordinances/by-laws. Please note the guidance regarding the specific chapter, article, division, and section in parenthesis. Some of the files below require the free Adobe Reader.