Review Districts & Permitting
The Lowell Historic Board (LHB) was created by special act of the Massachusetts Legislature (Lowell Historic District Act, Chapter 566, Acts of 1983) to promote the educational, cultural, economic, and general welfare of the public through the preservation, protection, and enhancement of Lowell’s unique historic resources. Strengthening and expanding historic preservation review and regulations in Lowell was a requirement of the federal law creating Lowell National Historical Park (P.L. 95-290) in order to ensure community actions would not be inconsistent with the preservation goals of the Park.
Eleven review districts currently exist. Within the Downtown Lowell Historic District, the erection, demolition, or alteration of any exterior feature (and interior when work affects the exterior appearance) of a building, structure, or parcel requires the approval of the LHB prior to any City approval or permit being issued. The LHB plays a similar role in the Acre Neighborhood District, a design review district established pursuant to the Board’s special act that was created in 1999 as part of the Acre Urban Revitalization and Development Plan.
Eight other review districts were created in 2005 in several neighborhood areas using previously existing National Register of Historic Places boundaries. In 2011, the Livingston-Harvard Neighborhood District was created. In these nine districts, the LHB has review and approval authority only in terms of proposed demolition and/or new construction, approval that must be secured prior to any other City approvals being granted.