University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Nolen, John, 1869-1937 / Madison : a model city (1911)

View all of SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES:

Next subsection Next



 

AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE HEIGHT OF BUILDINGS IN THE CITY OF BOSTON.

SECTION 1.    The city of Boston shall be divided into districts of two classes, to be designated districts A and B. The boundaries of the said districts, established as hereinafter provided, shall continue for a period of fifteen years, and shall be determined in such manner that those parts of the city in which all or the greater part of the buildings situate therein are at the time of such determination used for business or commercial purposes shall be included in the district or districts designated A, and those parts of the city in which all or the greater part of the buildings situate therein are at the said time used for residential purposes or for other purposes not business or commercial shall be in the district or districts designated B.

Section 2.    Upon the passage of this act the mayor of the city shall appoint a commission of three members to be called

"Commission on Height of Buildings in the City of Boston."

The commission shall immediately upon its appointment give notice and public hearings, and shall make an order establishing the boundaries of the districts aforesaid, and, within one month after its appointment, shall cause the same to be recorded in the registry of deeds for the county of Suffolk. The boundaries so established shall continue for a period of fifteen years from the date of the said recording. Any person who is aggrieved by the said order may, within thirty days after the recording thereof, appeal to the commission for a revision; and the commission may, within six months after its appointment, revise such order, and the revision shall be recorded in the registry of deeds for the county of Suffolk, and shall date back to the original date of recording. The members of the commission shall serve until the districts have been established as aforesaid; and any vacancy in the commission caused by resignation, death or inability to act shall be filled by the mayor, on written application by the remaining members of the commission or of ten inhabitants of the city. The members of the commission shall receive such compensation as the mayor shall determine.

  [p. 154]  

Section 3.    In the city of Boston no building shall be erected to a height of more than one hundred and twenty-five feet above the grade of the street in any district designated A, and no building shall be erected to a height of more than eighty feet above the grade of the street in any district designated B. These restrictions shall not apply to grain or coal elevators or sugar refineries in any district designated A, nor to steeples, domes, towers or cupolas erected for strictly ornamental purposes, of fireproof material, on buildings of the above height or less in any district. The supreme judicial court and the superior court shall each have jurisdiction in equity to enforce the provisions of this act, and to restrain the violation thereof.

Section 4.    This act shall take effect upon its passage. (Approved May 13, 1904.)

This original act regulating the height of buildings in Boston was modified later in some details but its main provisions are unchanged. It has been tested in the Supreme Court of the United States and upheld. With proper state legislation it appears to open the way for the adoption of differentiated building regulations by American cities.

General laws were adopted later, applying to any city or town in Massachusetts, permitting the regulation of buildings fronting on any parkway, boulevard, or public way bordering on a park.

Next subsection Next




Go up to Top of Page