Historic Preservation Roundtable resumes meetings
Sharing ideas to support history throughout the region
Members of Cape Cod's historical commissions are regularly convening once again. The Cape Cod Commission hosts meetings of the Historic Preservation Roundtable. The group is comprised of members from each Cape Cod town's historical commission, many of which have extensive historic preservation experience. Meetings provide an opportunity for attendees to share concerns and discuss common issues and experiences.
With in-person meetings suspended due to the pandemic, the Cape Cod Commission hosted the first virtual meeting of the Historic Preservation Roundtable on December 7, 2021, and the second on March 8, 2022.
In December, the group had a robust discussion about pandemic-related impacts to their towns and shared efforts to tell the story of under-represented groups on Cape Cod.
During the March meeting, attendees heard about new zoning incentives for preservation. Some towns already have zoning incentives in place. For example, the West Harwich Special District (created through a District of Critical Planning Concern) provides specific zoning incentives to reuse historic structures. At Chatham's Spring Town Meeting, voters will weigh in on a proposed incentive bylaw aimed at preserving historic buildings throughout the town.
Attendees also discussed the challenges of balancing historic preservation with the need for housing in the region and had a robust discussion of the challenges and opportunities of using Community Preservation Act funds for historic preservation projects.
The group’s next meeting is expected to take place in early June.
Massachusetts state law requires towns to establish historical commissions. They exist to identify, preserve, and protect a town's historical and archaeological assets. Members are volunteers appointed by the Board of Selectmen or Town Council. Historical commissions gather information on historic resources, raise community awareness, and find ways to preserve historic resources. With the wide range of historic places in each Cape town, you’ll find a similarly broad range of efforts to protect them. You'll often find members conducting inventories of historic properties, hosting exhibits and educational experiences in town, and working on historic districts, zoning regulations, and demolition delay bylaws.