Archives Guide ~ Environment Department (5200)

Historical note

The Environment Department was created under Section 1-10 of Chapter 624 of the Acts of 1982 to coordinate the varied and related concerns of six separate commissions. The Air Pollution Control Commission, Back Bay Architectural Commission, Beacon Hill Architectural Commission, Boston Art Commission, Boston Conservation Commission, and Boston Landmarks Commission all retain their autonomy within their area of statutory responsibility. The Department is designed to bring about more efficient use of each commission’s staff resources.




5200.001 Publications 1972, 1995-1997 4 volumes

Scope and Contents note
Includes "Charles to Charles", a report on the need to preserve open space along the Charles river, 1972; and three successive publications for 1995, 1996, and 1997 entitled "Environmental Blueprint" outlining an environmental plan and action agenda for the City of Boston.



5210 Boston Landmarks Commission

Historical note
The Boston Landmarks Commission, established by Chapter 772 of the Acts of 1975, is the city’s historic preservation agency. The Commission is responsible under state law for: architectural surveys of all the city’s neighborhoods, relating each community’s history as recorded by its building and sites; public education on architecture and historic preservation, including publications and exhibitions; and designation of landmarks and several categories of historic districts within the city through a process involving the preparation of technical study reports and public hearings. The result is a review process for changes to designated properties within limits set at the time of designation. In 1983 the Landmarks Commission began an archaeology program which became the City Archaeology Program. The Program manages archaeological remains located on public and
private land in Boston.



5210.001 Publications circa 1970-2000 79 volumes

Scope and Contents note
Includes publications and reports of the Boston Landmarks Commission on the potential designation as a landmark and other topics.


5210.002 Demolition delay files 1995-2014 32 record cartons

Scope and contents note
On February 6, 1995, the Boston Zoning Code was amended to include a demolition delay policy (Article 85, Chapter 665 of the Acts of 1956 as amended).  Demolition Delay provides a predictable process for reviewing requests to demolish buildings by: establishing an appropriate waiting period during which the City and the Applicant can propose and 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 issues regarding the demolition of a particular building; and by minimizing the number and extent of building demolition where no immediate re-use of the site is planned.  Proposed demolition of individually designated Boston Landmarks or buildings within a local historic district shall be reviewed by the BLC or appropriate District Commission. Includes the demo delay files from 1995-2014.



5210.003 Survey maps circa 1967-1987 6 flat file drawers
Scope and Contents note

Includes reference copies of various maps of Boston neighborhoods.


5210.004 Landmarks Commission image collection circa 1880s-2000s 16 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Photographs and other images collected by the Boston Landmarks Commission for reference use and for publications as well as photographs taken by the Landmarks Commission documenting their work and city neighborhoods.


5210.005 Landmarks Commission records 1971-2010 20 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Records of the Boston Landmarks Commission including legislation, minutes, master files, design review files, publications, artifacts, etc.


5210.006 Landmarks Commission research files 1975-2010 34 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Files of research conducted by the Landmarks Commission for National Register listings, survey reports and other historical information.


5210.007 Landmarks Commission survey and planning files 1997-2010 5 record cartons

Scope and contents note
Planning records for fiscal years 1998-2010.



5211 Beacon Hill Architectural Commission

Historical note
The Historic Beacon Hill District was designated in 1955 by an Act of the Massachusetts State Legislature (Chapter 616 of the Acts of 1955, as amended).  All exterior work (including work at rooftops) that is, or will be, visible from any public way requires the review of the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission.  A Certificate of Appropriateness, Design Approval, or Exemption Application must be submitted to and approved by the Commission prior to beginning any exterior work that is visible from a public way. 


5211.001 Beacon Hill Architectural Commission records 1955-2012 6 record cartons

Scope and contents note
Minutes, master files and audiotapes documenting the meetings of the Commission.



5212 Back Bay Architectural Commission

Historical note
The Back Bay Architectural District was designated in 1966 by Act of the Massachusetts State Legislature (Chapter 625 of the Acts of 1966, as amended).  All exterior work (whether or not it is visible from a public way) requires the review of the Back Bay Architectural Commission.  A Certificate of Appropriateness, Design Approval, or Exemption Application must be submitted to and approved by the Commission prior to beginning any exterior work.


5212.001 Back Bay Architectural Commission records 1968-2012 with gaps 14 record cartons

Scope and contents note
Subject files, minutes and audiotapes documenting the meetings of the Commission.



5213 South End Landmark District Commission

Historical note
The South End Landmark District and Protection Area were designated in 1983.  All exterior work at front facades, all exterior work at rooftops (when visible from a public way), and all exterior work at side and rear elevations (when side and rear elevations face a public way or permanent public open space) are subject to the review of the South End Landmark District Commission.  A Certificate of Appropriateness, Design Approval, or Exemption Application must be submitted to and approved by the Commission prior to beginning any exterior work that is subject to Commission review.


5213.001 South End Landmark District Commission records 1985-2009 5 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Master files and audiotapes documenting the meetings of the Commission.



5214 Bay State Road/Back Bay West Architectural Conservation District Commission

Historical note
The Bay State Road/ Back Bay West Architectural Conservation District was designated in 1979.  All exterior work (including work at rooftops) that is, or will be, visible from any public way requires the review of the Bay State Road/ Back Bay West Architectural Conservation District Commission.


5214.001 Bay State Road/Back Bay West Architectural Conservation District Commission records 1980-2007 0.5 cubic feet

Scope and contents note
Master files and audiotapes documenting the meetings of the Commission.



5215 Bay Village Architectural Commission

Historical note
The Bay Village Historic District was designated in 1983 by City of Boston Ordinance Title 7, under Mass. General Laws, Chapter 40C, as amended. All exterior work (including work at rooftops) that is, or will be, visible from any public way requires the review of the Bay Village Architectural Commission.


5215.001 Bay Village Architectural Commission records 2007-2012 0.5 record carton

Scope and contents note
Master files and audiotapes documenting the meetings of the Commission.



5220 Boston Conservation Commission

Historical note

The Boston Conservation Commission protects and preserves open space and other natural areas of the City including wetlands. The Commission administers the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act (M.G.L c131 s.40), the Massachusetts Rivers Protection Act (HB s. 18.26) and the Conservation Commission Act (HB s. 18.9).  The Commission also owns a number of natural, open space properties known as Urban Wilds, and holds several conservation restrictions on various properties within the City.