Designations & Design Review

A designated Boston Landmark is a property, or a district comprised of multiple properties, with historic, social, cultural, architectural or aesthetic significance to the City and to the Commonwealth, the New England region, or the nation. It has been designated through a formal process and, once designated, proposed changes to Landmark properties require Boston Landmarks Commission design review and approval. Most Boston Landmarks are designated for exterior review only, meaning that review of proposed exterior changes to the building and property require the approval of the Boston Landmarks Commission. Landmark designation does not regulate use or occupancy

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Landmark Designation

The designation procedure is initiated by the submission of a petition, which is followed by a preliminary hearing before the Commission, the preparation of a study report on the proposed Landmark, and a public hearing.  To be designated, a property must receive a 2/3 majority vote from the Commission and be confirmed by the Mayor and by City Council.  When a property is designated a Landmark, it becomes subject to review by the Commission, and physical changes must be approved before they are undertaken.

For further information regarding the Boston Landmark designation process, including information regarding petitions, please contact BLC staff.

Designation Information

Design Review Process

Once a property is designated a Boston Landmark, all proposed exterior alterations must be reviewed and approved by the BLC before a building permit can be obtained. For most, but not all, designations, interior work is exempt from review. BLC Design Review hearings are held monthly. Applications, application instructions, and a schedule of filing deadlines and hearing dates are available below. To save time and costs, property owners and developers are encouraged to contact staff early on in the project planning process, in order to obtain information on compliance with guidelines.

  • Please note that Commission staff is not available to review applications for completeness immediately upon submittal.

  • Please review all instructions and documentation requirements carefully before submitting your application.

  • It is your responsibility to ensure the application is complete before submittal. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.


Review and Application Information