Marion Historical Commission

This information is provided to explain and clarify the Historical Commission’s role in local development and preservation activity. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the Marion Historical Commission:

            Why are you allowing so many historic buildings to be torn down and replaced by such big new buildings?

            The Marion Historical Commission is an advisory board and has no control over what gets demolished and what gets built in its place. This type of Design Review process would only be possible if a Local Historic District ordinance is approved by the Town. (A separate study committee is currently exploring this option.)

            What determines if a building is historic or not?

            For the past five years, the MHC has been working with our preservation consultants to identify and survey all historic buildings in the town. As a general rule, historic buildings are over 50 years old and add to the architectural and visual character that defines the town. They may also play a role in understanding the historical development of the town over the past two centuries. The survey is about 80% complete at this time.

            Upon completion, survey forms are sent to property owners so they can become aware of the historic and architectural significance of their properties. The forms are also available for review at the Elizabeth Taber Library and the Sippican Historical Society.

            How can we keep historic properties from being torn down?

            Some towns have instituted a Demolition Delay ordinance which requires a 12-18 month delay and due diligence procedure to try to find new uses for such buildings. This a possible option for Marion voters to consider in the future; creation of a Local Historic District could also help prevent demolition within the boundaries of the established district.

            What does the Historical Commission do to help owners renovate their buildings in a historically sensitive way?

            The Commission is available to offer individual guidance and connect owners with historic resource information prepared by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service and other preservation organizations. Links are provided on this webpage. The Sippican Historical Society bookstore also has a number of books that promote architectural history education and adaptive reuse.

            How can we promote more awareness of Marion’s historic and architectural charm?

            In addition to the ongoing efforts of the separate Marion Village Local Historic District Study Committee to evaluate options for creating a local historic district, our intent is to soon begin nominating properties and districts identified in our historic survey for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This honorary designation recognizes the importance of individual buildings or districts without imposing any design review procedures or limitations on construction. More information on the benefits of National Register listing will be offered at community forums as we proceed with this effort over the next year.

            How can I learn more about the Historical Commission’s work?

            Check out our webpage on the Town of Marion website: It has lots of interesting maps, historic inventory forms and links to technical preservation resources.

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