Many Cape towns have a demolition delay bylaw (see list to right), but towns have had varying amounts of success in finding alternatives to demolition.
The Demolition Delay Network page is designed to advertise historic buildings subject to demolition delay in the hopes of identifying alternatives to the loss of the building.
Below, we describe successes where demolition has been avoided. The Chatham Historical Commission in particular has had several success stories, which can be attributed largely to the proactive role that their board members play, working cooperatively with property owners and identifying potential alternatives to demolition.
19 Wharf Road, Chatham - Working with the Chatham Historical Commission during the demolition delay, the owners agreed to save the original house, removing later ells and moving the original building elsewhere on the property to serve as a guest house. A new main house will be constructed on the property. The Chatham Historical Commission offered to argue for an increase in the lot coverage allowance for this property in order to accommodate both the historic building and a new structure, but the lot size was sufficient for both buildings without zoning board of appeals review.
Champlain Road, Chatham - Working with the Chatham Historical Commission, the owners of an historic property on Champlain Road agreed to preserve the building by saving the historic core and moving it elsewhere on the site for use as a guesthouse. A new main house will be constructed on the property. This agreement was worked out prior to the owner's filing for a demolition permit, thus avoiding the demolition delay process.
Caleb Nickerson House, Chatham - Working with the Chatham Historical Commission during the demolition delay, the owners of this historic home agreed to allow someone to move the house to another site. After the demolition delay expired, the builder agreed to delay the demolition longer so that a new site could be found. The Nickerson Family Foundation paid to move the building by barge to a new location, where it has been rehabbed and is open to the public as a museum.
459 Sea View Avenue, Osterville - A prospective buyer of this property wanted to demolish the historic home and build a new house on the site. After the Barnstable Historical Commission imposed a 6-month demolition delay, the buyer walked away. A new buyer was found within a month and they chose to preserve and remodel the historic home.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission has developed a model Demolition Delay Bylaw. It is the basis for the demolition delay bylaw used by several Cape towns and is used across Massachusetts.
Barnstable -- 18-month demolition delay (adopted January 2013)
Bourne -- 12-month demolition delay (adopted in 2006)
Chatham -- 18-month demolition delay (adopted in 2007)
Dennis -- 12-month demolition delay (adopted in 2007)
Eastham -- 6-month demolition delay
Falmouth -- 6-month demolition delay (in effect in late 2007)
Harwich -- 12-month demolition delay (adopted in spring 2011)
Orleans -- 12-month demolition delay (adopted in 2005)
Sandwich -- no demolition delay (proposed 18-month demolition delay failed at Spring 2007 Town Meeting)
Truro -- 12-month demolition delay (adopted in 2007)
Wellfleet -- 6-month demolition delay
Yarmouth -- 6-month demolition delay (adopted April 2011)