SHIRLEY — The Shirley Historical Commission devoted much of its most recent meeting to discussing an issue that cropped up in the application process, while considering an application from resident John Hillyer on Brown Road.
The commission took issue with a section of Massachusetts General Law allowing public hearings for historic district work to be waived, so long as all of the abutters — in writing — waive their rights to participate in the hearing.
One problem was whether or not to leave the official notification of abutters up to the applicant. The commission also considered the costs in time and money involved in the notification process, and the time limit on obtaining the waivers from abutters.
“We don’t have to lobby for or against this,” said Commissioner Robert Adams about asking for waivers from abutters at the applicant’s request. The commission is considering a prepared form letter for applicants to send around to abutters, in addition to providing an official list of all abutters.
Another idea raised by Adams was to compile a prepared list of abutters for each historic building in the district, as there are a limited number of such buildings and the abutter’s list for each property is slow to change. Commissioner Donald Reed was skeptical as to the scope of such a project and the commission’s ability to complete such a list in a timely fashion.
The commission deferred making a decision on the issue, to give Reed time to meet with members of the Conservation Commission, which has a similar system in place, to ascertain how well their system works.
The commission also deferred taking any action on the Hillyers application until its next meeting.