As reported earlier in the month, the Boston Redevelopment Authority released its recommended guidelines for three key Downtown Waterfront sites including the Harbor Garage, Hook Lobster and Long Wharf. The BRA proposes a maximum height for the Harbor Garage of 600′ (up from 150′ current zoning) and minimum open space of 30% (down from 50%). For the Hook Lobster site, the BRA proposes a 305′ maximum height (up from 55′ current zoning) and 30% minimum open space (down from 50%).  In addition to longstanding concerns from Harbor Tower residents and Preserve Boston’s Waterfront, the abutting New England Aquarium has weighed in this week with its own objections.

At a rare evening meeting on June 24th, the BRA and its consultants will review each site again as part of the ongoing Municipal Harbor Planning Advisory Committee process (Wednesday, June 24, 2015 6-8pm, Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress Street, 2nd Floor). The complete 80+ page slide presentation is shown below.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I have gone through the Boston Redevelpment Authority (BRA) slideshow presentation in preparation for the public meeting tomorrow June 24. Our Mayor, through the BRA, is wasting no time in tearing down the zoning guidelines that have given us a wonderful waterfront with vibrant people-friendly spaces. Far from serving the people who elected him, he seems determined to zone the city in behalf of the developers and not in behalf of the city residents.

    A classic example is the indignity that all of the designs for the proposed Harbor Garage development have for the community. Instead of a garage, we have a massive loss of parking for the businesses in downtown Boston, a critical resource that, if absent, will lead to very large increases in parking fees. Other proposed loss of parking has already been ignored by the BRA and the Mayor. The classic example is the unilateral decision by Converse to simply decide not to build 800 promised parking spaces to accommodate the needs created by all of the new business and residential construction surrounding causeway Street.

    The BRA seems to have proposed the relaxed restriction of “No New Shadow on Long Wharf” as a litmus test for the Harbor Garage development design. Why not “No New Shadow on the Aquarium”, or “No New Shadow on the Greenway”, or “No New Obstruction of Views of the Customs House Tower from the Harbor”? Every one of the proposed designs considered would violate all three of these axioms. There is no apparent sensitivity to the awkward massing of the proposed shapes by the developer. The one design that does not ignore the existing open area and massing regulations and is consistent with the Chapter 91 rules is hardly even mentioned. Maybe it is because it has 50% open area for the public and “only” a 145 foot height, in comparison to the 600 foot limit that the BRA wants us to accept.

    We need our city officials to listen carefully to their constituents.

  2. Thank you, Forbes Dewey, for putting into words our very thoughts. Upon scrolling down through the specs, I was not impressed. Lots of fancy diagrams and numbers. Plans on paper are meant to mesmerize us and seduce us into believing that planners are doing their utmost to not tarnish the Waterfront. However, at moment zero, the planners and architects will do exactly as they wish. A few feet here, a few more feet there, and voila, there go our views, and feeling of space. The Boston Waterfront will henceforth be known as “Shadowlands.”

  3. Hate to say it folks, but that’s what you get when you elect a Mayor who’s beholden, and always has been, to the unions. This is payback for their support. You should have seen it coming…

    • Don’t play the victim card anne. This could be any neighborhood. Today it just happens to be ours. if you didn’t do your homework on his background, then this is a big surprise to you. If you did, then it’s not. That simple.

      • JCM, have to agree with you about Walsh who is not exactly the brightest bulb on the tree as witnessed by his push to bring the Olympics here & still trying to shake down Steve Wynn. It’s all about the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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