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HHC: Commission Training


Ref:  Posting “Proficiency of Our Historical Commission

Based on recommendations and requirements of the Historical Commission, the FORUM maintains the curriculum for Commissioner Training as described in the reference posting. A program which includes policy recommendations to the Historical Commission regarding Commissioner proficiency, has been developed which consists of four workshops each organized as two 45-minute workshops. The curriculum covers a short history of Harvard, Harvard’s Historic District town bylaw (Chapter 48), historic preservation standards, guidelines, best practices and policies.

Here is the syllabus:

  • (Two 45 minute sessions)
    • Orientation on the dual mission of the Historical Commission as given by Chapter 48 of the Harvard Bylaw and MGL Chap 40, Section 8
    • Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest as applied to the Historical Commission
    • Overview of the Historical Commission policies and organization
    • Rules and conduct of a Commission meeting and a public hearing
    • Overview of Local Historic Districts,  National Historic Districts and Landmarks
    • Overview of New England Architecture
  • (Two 45 minute sessions)
    • Town of Harvard Bylaw Chapter 48 Criteria for Determination of Appropriateness
    • Standards for Historic Preservation (US Department of the Interior)
    • Harvard Historical Commission Design Guidelines
    • Historic District administration process
  • (Two 45 minute sessions)
    • Inventory Records:  Review of content and document
    • Photographing historic properties (film and digital)
    • Documenting the history of historic properties
    • Documenting and describing the architecture of historic properties
    • Evaluation and rating historic properties for significance (history, architecture)
  • (One 45 minute sessions)
    • Protection by Historic Districts
    • Protection by Preservation Restrictions, Preservation Easements
    • Grant research, receiving donations and funding development

A Note on Training Policy:

As part of its Education and Training Program, the FORUM recommends that the Commission assign one of two levels of classification to its Commissioners:  Commissioner I, and Commissioner II. Commissioner I will be awarded upon successful completion and testing of Workshop Two. Until a Commissioner achieves Commissioner I, the commissioner should not be allowed to vote on any public hearing matter. Also, the Officers of the Commission (Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary) should have achieved Commissioner II level prior to being nominated for office. Commissioner II will be awarded upon completing and testing Workshop Four.

The FORUM is planning on offering Workshops One and Two this year. The specific schedule will depend on the needs of the Historical Commission. The remaining workshops will be available later in the Spring of 2017.

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