Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District

View of Kenway Street, Cambridge

Welcome to the home page for the Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

The Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) encompasses two neighborhoods, formerly each designated as separate districts. The district is located west of Harvard Square between Brattle Street and the river, with Hilliard Street on the east and Lowell Street on the west. The district is bisected by Longfellow Park, which is part of the Old Cambridge Historic District. The NCD contains approximately 200 buildings.

The District is regulated by the Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District Commission, a group of volunteer Cambridge citizens appointed by the City Manager.

The Commission encourages property owners, contractors, architects, developers, or anyone working on a project within the District to contact staff during the planning stages of the project.  If you are planning a project within the District, please e-mail Samantha Paull or call the office at 617.349-4686 or by TTY: 617.349-6112. To learn more about Certificates and the review process, please visit the Districts & Historic Properties page.

Frequently Downloaded Files:

Types of Certificates Issued:

  • A Certificate of Non-Applicability will be issued for work done in kind (work which matches existing conditions exactly), interior alterations, alterations not visible from any public way, and any other work which does not require review by the neighborhood conservation district commission. These certificates are generally issued by the Historical Commission staff on-the-spot.
  • A Certificate of Appropriateness will be issued for reviewable alterations which the neighborhood conservation district commission deems not incongruous to the character of the property in question.
  • Occasionally, a Certificate of Hardship will be issued for work which is not otherwise appropriate if the Commission determines that failure to approve an application would entail a substantial hardship, financial or otherwise, and that the work would not be a significant detriment to the district.

One of these certificates is always necessary to obtain a building permit for work in a neighborhood conservation district. All of the Commission's regulatory approvals have a life of six months. This means that the owner of the property has six months, from the date a certificate is issued, to obtain a building permit. Upon written request, the chair of the Commission may issue a six-month extension. If an extension is not issued, the owner must resubmit the Application for Certificate for the Commission's review.