Community Government Real Estate

Shadow Bill, “An Act Protecting Sunlight in Certain Parks,” Debated at State House Hearing


The Custom House Tower casts a shadow on Christopher Columbus Park in the North End / Waterfront. The proposed “Shadow Bill” would stop new developments from casting shadows on this park and some others.( photo)

The “Shadow Bill,” formally known as Massachusetts House Bill 1169, was debated at the State House this week with many interested parties weighing in on the proposed legislation to keep some public parks in the sun.

In general, neighborhood and park groups favor the legislation while developers oppose the bill that would inhibit high-rise buildings around parks, including Christopher Columbus Park in the North End / Waterfront. Other parks included in the legislation are the Esplanade, Copley Square Park, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the Fens and Magazine Beach Park in Cambridge. The Rose F. Kennedy Greenway was removed from the bill last year. Boston Common and the Public Garden are already protected from new shadows by existing legislation.

Beacon Hill Patch covered the State House hearing:

“Supported by the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, and many residents who agree the parks need to be protected, it’s about preserving the open space and fresh air that people living in the city have come to depend on, said Rep. Walz. … Packed into a room at the State House, those opposed referred to it as “sweeping legislation” that should be, and currently is, managed on a local level with every project scrutinized on a case by case basis.” (Read the full article.)

The House bill is being co-sponsored by Back Bay’s Marty Walz, the North End’s Aaron Michlewitz, South End’s Byron Rushing and Somerville’s Denise Provost. Senator Anthony Petruccelli is co-sponsoring the bill in the State Senate.

The bill, An Act Protecting Sunlight in Certain Parks, can be viewed in full at the Massachusetts Legislative website. The bill has been repeatedly revised over the years and is not yet scheduled for a vote.

Have an opinion? Let us know in the comments section below and contact your elected officials.