Laws, Policies & Guidelines

Historic Preservation as a public purpose seeks to preserve and protect the community’s historic resources which reflect elements of local or national, cultural, social, economic, political, archaeological or architectural history.

New Bedford utilizes a number of preservation policies to protect its unique character and identity, such as the National and State Register of Historic Places, local historic districts and the review of demolitions.

The New Bedford Historical Commission which is established under the City Code of Ordinances and enabled by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40C administers the city’s preservation regulations and activities with the support of the Department of Planning, Housing and Community Development.

Local & State Legislation

The full text of the city’s historic ordinance is found in Sections 2-150 through 2-158 of the New Bedford City Code.

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40C is the state enabling legislation which allows communities to establish Historical Commissions and local historic districts.

Polices & Guidelines

The New Bedford Historical Commission has adopted Rules and Regulations which define the powers, functions, and duties of the commission.

The Commission utilizes the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties to guide its review of permit applications.  In addition the Commission has adopted advisory Design Guidelines which are used not only to guide the commission, but also to assist the property owner in understanding what types of actions may or may
not be appropriate within the local historic district.

Certified Local Government (CLG) Program

New Bedford was proudly designated as a CLG community in 1987 by the National Park Service due to its strong commitment to historic preservation. This designation allows the city to become an active partner in the Federal Historic Preservation Program and gain access to specialized funding, technical assistance and other preservation opportunities administered by both the federal and state governments.