EAST BOSTON NEWS
City to tackle urgent environmental and equity concerns with new approach to waterfront development
BOSTON – Thursday, August 26, 2021 – Mayor Kim Janey today announced the withdrawal of the Downtown Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan, which included development standards for two key parcels: (1) the Harbor Garage site, where a new structure up to 600 feet tall and with 50 percent of the project site as open space would replace the existing 70-foot high structured parking garage; and (2) The Hook Wharf site, where the temporary home of the James Hook Lobster Company would be replaced with a structure up to 305 feet tall, with 30 percent of the lot coverage as open space.
The decision to reevaluate Boston’s waterfront development comes in the wake of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that indicates coastal cities are especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, and as a means to continue addressing racism as a public health crisis. The City of Boston is committed to meeting these crises with urgent climate action to ensure our waterfront is as resilient as possible while enhancing community benefits.
“We have an opportunity and an obligation to meet this moment of the climate change crisis and protect our waterfront for generations to come,” said Mayor Kim Janey. “I look forward to working with local advocates and civic leaders to embed our shared values of resilience, equity, and access into the City’s development process Downtown and throughout all of our neighborhoods.”
Mayor Janey has also charged her administration with convening stakeholders to determine the future of equitable and resilient development throughout Boston’s waterfront neighborhoods. This group will include environmental justice organizations, residents, and experts in resilient, equitable, and accessible waterfront development. The goal of this process is to develop a new approach to waterfront development in Boston that generates community benefits and protection from extreme weather and pollution.
During her announcement, the Mayor called for the waterfront development to include:
Increased waterfront resiliency
Expanded access to the waterfront for all residents
Net-Zero requirements for new development
Maintained economic vitality during and after the proposed redevelopment
Increased green space
“We must meet the climate crisis with urgent action through maximizing resiliency, equity and accessibility in Boston,” said Chief Mariama White-Hammond. “As our City continues to evolve, climate change and racial justice must be at the forefront of our development process. I am grateful to Mayor Janey for leading on this critical movement to ensure Boston’s waterfront is resilient while providing equitable access for all Boston residents.”
Mayor Janey’s FY2021-2022 budget invests in accessible infrastructure funding to protect the most flood-vulnerable neighborhood of East Boston. The City has also engaged the Dorchester and South Boston neighborhoods to create a vision for a new, state-of-the-art Moakley Park that protects residents from extreme weather events while creating open space for play, performance, and community gardens. The Mayor has stated her commitment to implementing this vision. The City is also taking action in other neighborhoods, such as the Langone-Popoulo Park in the North End and the Ryan Playground in Charlestown. Climate Ready Boston is the City’s initiative to prepare for the long-term impacts of climate change and is in various stages of developing plans for East Boston, Dorchester, Moakley Park, South Boston, Charlestown, and Downtown and the North End.