Local Historic District Commission

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When a Local Historic District Certifiapply-transfercate is Needed

1. When a building permit or demolition permit is required, a Local Historic District Certificate is required.

2. When exterior architectural features will be permanently removed even if a building permit is not required, a Local Historic District Certificate Is required.


             Types of Local Historic District Certificates

c0f8b2524eaebac096f15b7837c865bc_medals-clipart-free-download-clip-art-free-clip-art-on-medal-and-ce1. Certificate of Non-Applicability - Will be granted in cases that do not involve any exterior architectural feature or that involve exterior architectural features not subject to review by the Commission (e.g., because the feature is not visible from the public way or because they fit one of the exclusions listed on the next page). The Building Commissioner will issue these certificates within 5 days of the filing of the application.

2. Certificate of Appropriateness - Issued when the Commission approves an application after full review, including a hearing. . Decisions to be made within 60 days of the filing of the applications.

3. Certificate of Hardship - Issued when the Commission determines that disapproval of an application would cause substantial hardship, financial or otherwise.

4. Disapproval of an Application - When the Commission determines not to approve an application, it issues a disapproval. In cases of disapproval, the Commission must give the reasons for such disapproval, and it may include in its disapproval specific recommendations for changes in the applicant's proposal with respect to the appropriateness of design, arrangement, texture, material and similar features which, if made and filed with the Commission in a subsequent application, would make the application acceptable to the Commission.

                               How to Submit an Application

1. Application Form - Applications are made on form, "Application for Local Historic District Certificate," available from the Planning, Conservation, and Inspections Department on the second floor of Town Hall.

2. Application Fee - $50.

3. How Submitted - Applications are submitted by appointment with the Building Commissioner or staff. This meeting ensures that necessary information and documentation are included in the application, thus avoiding delays.

                                                    Helpful Links

Local Historic District Application

Historic District Bylaw

Rules and Regulations

      The Local Historic District Commission

Clark statue north of Town Hall
The Local Historic District Commission was formed on May 21, 2012 (Town Meeting, Article 27), following the guidelines of Chapter 40 Sec. C of the Massachusetts General Bylaw.  

The Commission helps in the preservation and protection of the distinctive characteristics and architecture of buildings and places found within the local historic districts of Amherst.  

Responsibilities include:

  • Review and regulate construction and alterations of any structure of building within the district, with consideration for the distinctive characteristics of each structure, building and landscape.
  • Encourage and support new and innovative building designs and techniques compatible with the existing architecture.
  • Create and amend design guidelines that set forth the designs for certain exterior architectural features that are, in general, suitable for the issuance of a certificate.
  • Undertake educational efforts to explain to the public and property owners the merits and functions of the district.

  • Retain all permanent record of its resolutions, transactions, decisions and determinations.


MemberYear AppointedTerm Expires
Bruce Coldham20172020
Jim Lumley2017 2020
Peggy Schwartz20192022
Jennifer Taub - Chair2017 2021 
Greta Wilcox20192022
Karin Winter20192022
Vacancy (1)

*Appointed by the Select Board: 7 members/ 3-year terms