The Massachusetts Historical Commission voted this week to accept the application from the Watertown Historic District Commission to create a district to protect the Orchard House.
The district started a move to protect the house by creating a one-property historic district at 917 Belmont Street in August 2012, when the owners of the property, Beacon High School, filed a request to demolish the house that dates back to the 1830s.
The Historic District Commission (MHC) sent a draft of the application to create the district to the Mass. Historical Commission in December, and this week the Christopher Skelly, director of Local Government Programs for the MHC, sent a letter to Harvey Steiner, chairman of the Historic District Commission.
The letter reads:
January 22, 2013
I am pleased to inform you that the Massachusetts Historical Commission voted on January 9, 2013 to acknowledge the receipt of the Preliminary Study Report of 917 Belmont Street Historic District and provide the following comments and advisory recommendations:
The Massachusetts Historical Commissions encourages the town of Watertown to establish the 917 Belmont Street Historic District.
The Massachusetts Historical Commissions encourages the town of Watertown to investigate other local historical districts in the vicinity and community-wide.
Please keep me informed about the status of this local historic district proposal. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Director of Local Government Programs
The approval letter is just one step in the long process to create a historic district.
The Historic District Commission can now have a public meeting to get input about the proposal. Then it must submit a proposal bylaw to create the district to the Town Council, and two-thirds of the council must approve it. Finally the Attorney General's Office must review the proposal and approve it.