The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce has published testimony in support of S. 371, An Act to Revitalize the Commonwealth’s Waterfronts. S. 371 would give local zoning authorities the ability to regulate interior ground floor uses rather than the broad-based rules under Chapter 91 for facilities of public accommodation (FPA).
The Chamber contends:
When the FPA program was initiated, it was assumed that there would be a strong demand for FPA uses along the waterfront, regardless of its location. However, we have learned that the public’s desire for these limited uses is not universal, and demand is not sufficient to keep these ground floor spaces occupied. Many ground floor FPAs do not attract any foot traffic, and the space remains vacant, affecting property values, tax revenues, and economic activity. Where the demand for FPA uses is less in a particular area, ground floor space can be used to bring in much needed property taxes.
S. 371 would also change the calculation fo FPA space, “making the FPA requirement more workable in small development projects,” per the Chamber’s blog.