Note: The terms preservation restriction and preservation easement are used here interchangeably.
The preservation restriction program administered by the Cambridge Historical Commission provides an advantageous means by which an owner may voluntarily protect an architecturally or historically-significant property.
A preservation restriction is a "non-possessory right to control what happens to buildings or land owned by others." It is voluntarily conveyed by the property owner to a qualified body such as the Cambridge Historical Commission, which holds the right and enforces the terms. A preservation restriction protects the publicly visible features of the property from unauthorized alterations, demolition, or new construction. A preservation restriction may also allow specific development opportunities to take place, or to protect significant interior features. Restrictions need not freeze a building in its present appearance; however, owners may be required to upgrade a property as a precondition for acceptance. The property's use is not affected.
The Cambridge Historical Commission encourages the donation of preservation restrictions as a means of protecting architecturally, culturally, and historically significant properties in the city. The Commission may require donation of a preservation restriction in return for Preservation Grants. Preservation restrictions will be accepted when required as a condition of private sale or action by another public agency.