The creation of local historic districts, and the subsequent enforcement of historic preservation laws, creates a special set of challenges for preservation planners. Buildings and structures on the National Register of Historic Places are afforded little—if any—protection against inappropriate alterations or even demolition. Protection comes on the municipal level when towns or cities adopt a bylaw or ordinance such as MGL Chapter 40C Massachusetts Historic Districts Act or similar statutes in other jurisdictions. Once a city or town adopts the law they can move toward the creation of local historic districts (LHD) that are governed by an historic district commission (HDC.)
The Historical Commission in the Town of Ipswich has a website that should be closely studied:
Should he be able to hire an unlicensed, uninsured contractor to throw together a set of ramshackle stairs without a permit? Why not? He owns it. Should he be able to make changes and alterations that violate code? Why not? He owns it. Should he be able to dump toxic waste in the basement? Why not? He owns it. Can he pile as many tenants inside as he wants, and provide one crummy toilet and no fire protection? Why not? He owns it.