A Boston Landmark is a designation by the Boston Landmarks Commission for historic buildings and sites throughout the city of Boston based on the grounds that it has historical, social, cultural, architectural or aesthetic significance to New England or the United States. While National Landmark or National Register status can provide tax incentives for the owner of an income-producing property, local landmark status provides more control over modifications to a designated historic structure or place.
For a group to start a designation procedure, they first meet with Boston Landmarks Commission staff to discuss the petition process. Once a complete petition is submitted, a preliminary hearing is scheduled to determine if the Commission will accept the petition for further study. If the Commission accepts the petition, the building or site is added to the pending Landmarks list. Preparation of a study report on the proposed Landmark is the next step. A public hearing process follows to present the draft study report. A 2/3 majority vote of the Commission is necessary for a property to be designated as a Boston Landmark. The decision must then be confirmed by the Mayor of Boston and by the Boston City Council. The Boston Landmarks Commission determines if a property is eligible for landmark status based on whether it
In 2016, a commissioner submitted a petition to the Boston Landmarks Commission to designate the Citgo sign above Kenmore Square, when its support building at 660 Beacon Street was in the process of being sold by Boston University. The petition was accepted and the sign is a pending Landmark, with research for the study report underway.
Since two unrelated designations in 2016, as of July 2018 no pending landmarks have been approved. A number of sites have remained pending since the 1980s.