Selectmen on Wednesday established a Local Historic District Study Committee to investigate creation of a historic district in Swampscott.
The request for the study came from the , which wants to protect properties that link Swampscott to its past.
Commission member Sylvia Belkin said protections would benefit today's residents and future Swampscott generations.
The protections would do so by preserving the town's sense of place and identity, she said.
She also said the district would generate business from visitors who enjoy places with a distinct history-rich feel.
Wednesday's approval allows for establishing a study committee and identifying properties of historic value, as well as completion of a report with recommendations, a district map and a proposed by-law.
The by-law creating the district would ultimately need to be approved by a two-thirds majority vote at a town meeting, according to Massachusetts law.
There are historic districts in towns and cities throughout the commonwealth.
Selectman Rich Malagrifa said Salem, Nahant, Marblehead and Lynn all have historic districts.
Swampscott has no historic district.
Historical Commission members lamented not having one in place prior to the approval of construction of condo units on the site of Cap'n Jack's Inn, slated for demolition soon.
Belkin said the town has numerous remaining properties worthy of preservation.
As far as the study committee goes, the first step will be to establish it.
By law it must have no fewer than three and no more than seven members.
These members must be appointed by selectmen.
Selectmen will appoint "one member from two nominees submitted by the local historical society or, in the absence thereof, by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, one member from two nominees submitted by the chapter of the American Institute of Architects covering the area, and one member from two nominees of the board of realtors, if any, covering the area," according to laws of the commonwealth.