Activist Kressel Files Amicus Brief to Support North End Ten in Long Wharf “Park” Legal Case

The drum of amicus briefs to the Supreme Judicial Court continues to beat in favor of the case put forth by ten North End residents to preserve the end of Long Wharf as an open park, under the protection of Article 97 in the Massachusetts Constitution. The case revolves around efforts since 2008 by the BRA and DEP to license “Doc’s Long Wharf,” a private restaurant and bar at the end of Long Wharf.

The latest filing comes from landscape architect and community activist, Shirley Kressel, known as a co-plaintiff in the 2005 legal fight against closed City Council meetings and her columns against the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Kressel’s arguments in the brief are headlined as follows:

I. The BRA was informed by the Office of the Attorney General that public open space acquired for urban renewal is subject to Article 97.
II. The BRA creates a false dichotomy between urban renewal and Article 97 purposes.
III. The BRA invents a spurious distinction between primary and incidental purposes regarding urban renewal.

Perhaps the most interesting argument in Kressel’s brief is on page 10 where she cites that the BRA “conceded that urban renewal and Article 97 purposes are consonant,” in a previous case. This strikes at the heart of the BRA’s defense where they argue that urban renewal is a public purpose “distinct” from Article 97.

Read the full Kressel amicus brief (pdf).

Oral arguments are scheduled in front of the Supreme Judicial Court on November 5, 2012. See the SJC Case Docket.

View more coverage on the Long Wharf case.