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Long Wharf on a Stormy Day (Photo by Matt Conti)

The Long Wharf legal case comes back to Superior Court this week. The action follows a March 2013 Supreme Judicial Court ruling against a North End citizens group arguing for open space protection, under Article 97. The ruling supported a 2007 Boston Redevelopment Authority lease for “Doc’s Long Wharf,” a proposed 4,655 square-foot waterfront restaurant with outdoor cafe tables.

On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, the parties are having a case status review conference in front of Judge Fahey. At issue this week are remaining questions about Chapter 91 provisions that were remanded back to the lower court.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority has moved to dismiss the case based on “lack of standing” by the citizen group, known informally as the “North End Ten.” In response, the group argues it indeed has “standing” including some members that live very close to Long Wharf, including one at Mercantile Wharf. Another affidavit from a Lincoln Wharf resident says:

During our 23-year residence at Lincoln Wharf, we have directly experienced how sound travels over the water.  We already hear noise from waterfront bars and party boats, especially in the evening and at night. Based on our long experience, I believe that we would hear noise from a restaurant/bar with outdoor tables at the present location of the Long Wharf Park Shade Pavilion.

NPS 6(f) boundary map for LWCF project #25-00295 Long Wharf

The North End Ten further amended their complaint to include alleged BRA wrongdoings based on its own contracts for the space and a National Park Service map showing the seaward end of Long Wharf is protected under the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act. In the affidavit of Sanjoy Mahajan:

On December 20, 2012, as the best Christmas present that I have ever received, the National Park Service in Philadelphia sent me the LWCF 6(f) boundary map for LWCF Project #25-00295 (Long Wharf), dated March 27, 1980, showing that the entire sea- ward end of Long Wharf, including the project site, is within the 6(f) boundary area. (See more here on the map)

Attached is the North End Ten answer to the BRA’s motion to dismiss, including the amended complaint and brief: Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendant BRA’s Renewed Motion to Dismiss (pdf)

The BRA has responded against the amended motion and continued standing of the North End Ten.

Plaintiffs claim standing in mandamus based on, inter alia, evidence of contracts between government entities from almost thirty years ago. Plaintiffs are not parties to either contract nor are they intended beneficiaries of either contract. Therefore, Plaintiffs do not have standing to enforce either contract.

The BRA and State Department of Environmental Protection also argue against the LWCF map being brought into the case, noting that it is old and should have been found before. The BRA’s reply is attached here: Defendant Boston Redevelopment Authority’s Reply to Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Renewed Motion to Dismiss (pdf).

Update: The Superior Court judge scheduled a hearing on June 18th (2pm), regarding the “standing” issue, amended complaint and the Chapter 91 license.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Just curious – is the proposed Doc’s plan to be open year round? And is it going to built on stilts to handle the rising water levels – we have already seen how it is affecting that area…

  2. As more and more parks are privatized for commercial and institutional benefit, we are losing a critical environmental and social resource for our communities. Thanks to the North End Ten for contributing their time and talent selflessly to protect these precious assets for the next generation. When they are gone, they will be gone forever.

  3. Keep up the good work. The beauty of the area doesn’t need to be blemished by Docs. Let us keep some space open.
    I am very appreciative of the NE ten!!

  4. Restaurant or no restaurant….something needs to be done…it’s overrun with homeless and reeks of urine day and night
    What does the NE 10 propose as a solution?

  5. Thank you to the group working so hard to retain some quiet and beautiful space.
    If it was up to the BRA and the politicians every inch of the city would be doled out to tax paying and many times irresponsible businesses. Never to return!

  6. The North End community should be welcoming businesses to the area. It is slowly becoming an afterthought for Boston tourists, foodies, locals, etc. There seems to be more and more vacant retail space and restaurant closings than in other part of the city. As the Financial District, North Station, Seaport, Fort Point area, and others all look to emerging business with open arms the North End continues to hold on to the past….pretty soon this part of the “Waterfront” will not be relevant. While the Seaport and other areas thrive…the North End will continue to become just a quick stop for a cannoli before people move on to more exciting and better developed parts of the city.

  7. While I see your point, a part of me disagrees with this “let’s capture every possible tourist dollar” approach. What if the tourist trade dwindled? What if restaurant owners who live in other towns were forced to close some of them? Could a slow change in the population to a more “real” resident and family-oriented neighborhood be self-sustaining without tourist dollars? Would there be enough of a customer base to maintain “good” businesses to keep the coffee, butcher, produce and locally-focused eatery (just to name a couple) businesses alive and thriving? In other words, could the neighborhood attract and retain enough residents that care to become somewhat self-sustaining without the crowds of tourists, students and generally un-caring residents and businesses? Is it unrealistic to think that this is even possible economically in this day and age?
    I honestly don’t know, but it sure would be nice to think so….

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