With its seemingly infinite legal budget, the Boston Redevelopment Authority filed an appeal this week of a Superior Court judgement protecting Long Wharf from development. The March 2017 ruling was the latest loss by the BRA in the “Long War of Long Wharf” versus a North End resident group (dba “North End Ten“) and the National Park Service.
At issue in the latest Superior Court judgement is the Chapter 91 license that the State was originally going to give the BRA in 2008. That license was intended for Doc’s Long Wharf, a 220-seat, 4,655 square-foot eatery/bar with outdoor tables.
The NPS successfully argued that a 1980 boundary map showed the space was protected as open parkland under the Land & Water Conservation Fund Act. Further, in its March 22, 2017 ruling, Superior Court Judge Fahey ruled again in favor of Mahajan, et. al. (the North End group) in saying,
THE BOSTON REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY CAN NO LONGER CLAIM EITHER THAT THE 1980 PROJECT AREA MAP IS NOT THE MAP OF RECORD FOR LONG WHARF OR THAT LONG WHARF PAVILION FALLS OUTSIDE THE LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND ACT AREA, SECTION 6(F) CONSERVATION AREA FOR PERPETUITY OR THAT IT CAN PROCEED WITH THE PROPOSED PROJECT WITHIN LONG WHARF PAVILION IN THE FUTURE WITHOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE’S (NPS) APPROVAL. (EMPHASIS ADDED)
It could be the words “for perpetuity” that the BRA is least happy with in the ruling. It comes just as the entire Long Wharf area is under State review for the BRA’s revitalization effort as part of the ongoing Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan.
As of 2015, the BRA has spent over $550,000 in legal expenses since 2008. That figure was also before the 2016 judgement favoring the National Park Service.
The latest appeal filing, shown below, implies the sides in the war of Long Wharf will continue to soldier on.