Mid Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District

View of 23 Ware St, Cambridge

Welcome to the home page for the Mid Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Mid Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District was established in 1985 by the Cambridge City Council. The District is bordered by Prospect Street to the east, Prescott Street to the west, Kirkland Street and the Somerville city line to the north, and Massachusetts Avenue to the south.

The District is regulated by the Mid Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District Commission, a group of Cambridge citizens appointed by the City Manager.  

Both advisory and binding reviews are conducted by the Commission depending on the scope of work. 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 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.