Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District



Welcome to the home page for the Half Crown-Marsh NCD in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
On this page you will find application information as well as district news, meeting updates, and review criteria.  This page will be updated periodically by staff of the Historical Commission. If you have any questions about the district, please e-mail Samantha Paull at spaull@cambridgema.gov or call the office at 617/349-4686 or by TTY: 617/349-6112.

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Overview Page

The Half Crown-Marsh Consolidated Neighborhood Conservation District is made of two areas, formerly each designated as a separate NCD, located west of Harvard Square between Brattle Street and the river, with Hilliard Street on the east and Lowell Street on the west. The consolidated district is bisected by Longfellow Park, which is located in the adjacent Old Cambridge Historic District. The district contains approximately 200 buildings. 

The district is regulated by the Half Crown-Marsh NCD Commission, a group of Cambridge citizens appointed by the City Manager. Administration of district business is provided by staff members of the Cambridge Historical Commission, a department of the city government.

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 can often be 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.

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