Historical or hysterical? That is the question. For the past 10 years, I've been Chairman of the local historical committee in the Town of Dennis. People stop me everywhere I go to ask whether or not the historic committee has the authority to tell people what they can or cannot do with their property. The fact is the committee is governed by the Massachusetts Acts of 1973 as amended and therefore is a governed by the laws of the State. So the committee has the authority to decide what architectural features are appropriate for a particular home and which are not.
What I like about the Historic Act, as it is known, is that it applies equally to everyone. Neighbors can take comfort in the fact that the Historic Committee won't allow your next door neighbor to add windows, dormers or other additions that ruin the way your neighborhood looks. Also, keeping the look and feel of the Cape is exactly why everyone wants to live and vacation here. The historic committee is the "design review board" that keeps everyone honest.