Mayor Walsh announces planning initiatives for East Boston

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BOSTON – Wednesday, June 6, 2018 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), with stakeholders from across the City, will launch planning initiatives this year in Downtown, East Boston, Mattapan, Newmarket, and a mobility-focused planning initiative in Allston-Brighton. Guided by Imagine Boston 2030, Mayor Walsh looks to continue working in partnership with communities across the City to ensure Boston preserves wisely, enhances equitably, and grows inclusively.  Through these three principles of “preserve, enhance, and grow,” the planning initiatives will work with the community to create a comprehensive vision for each of the planning areas and guide future growth and investment.

“Over the last four years, we have set strong foundations in our planning efforts that will guide our growth as a city in a way that is responsible and inclusive, for many years into the future,” said Mayor Walsh. “These five new planning processes represent a continuation of our commitment to fulfill the individual needs of each neighborhood that both preserve the distinct historic character, and allow for us as a community to plan together for our bright future ahead.”

The planning initiatives build on the strategies outlined in Imagine Boston 2030, Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years aimed at guiding growth and those of Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030, Mayor Walsh’s plan to create housing at a variety of income levels across the City. The goals outlined in the Mayor’s housing plan are currently being reviewed to ensure that they continue to reflect current conditions. 

Imagine Boston 2030 prioritizes inclusionary growth and puts forth a comprehensive vision to boost quality of life, equity and resilience in every neighborhood across the City.  To achieve this vision, Imagine Boston identifies places for growth and enhancement that will help the city achieve its goals of becoming more equitable, improving quality of life, and preparing for climate change. This includes:

Enhance Neighborhoods: In some residential neighborhoods – such as East Boston and Mattapan – comprehensive planning will include a focus on balancing contextually-sensitive development alongside preservation; supporting existing residents and businesses through increased access to opportunity, affordability strategies, and anti-displacement policies; improving the public realm and access to open space and neighborhood-serving amenities; addressing mobility challenges; and supporting neighborhood resiliency and preparing for climate change. In other neighborhoods – such as Allston-Brighton, mobility planning will help to address the challenges presented by the increased pace of development projects.

“I applaud the Mayor for following through on his commitment to East Boston regarding development planning,” said Ernani Jose DeAraujo, Vice President of the Eagle Hill Civic Association.  “While residents have benefited from the strong economy and many jobs created in the past few years and as home prices have increased, we need a comprehensive plan for development to make sure all families can stay in East Boston and continue to thrive, regardless of their income.”

“As a resident of East Boston and a Board Member with the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association, I’ve seen many changes in the neighborhood,” said Renee Scalfani. “Thank you to Mayor Walsh and the BPDA for listening to residents and business-owners and establishing this PLAN: East Boston initiative. This is something that will help the neighborhood tremendously and working with the City on this issue will be beneficial for all the residents of East Boston.” 

PLAN: East Boston

PLAN: East Boston will work with the community in the existing neighborhoods in East Boston that are facing increased development pressures to determine a shared vision for the future of the neighborhood. Community discussion will focus on preservation of the existing residential fabric, enhancement of the vitality of existing residential communities and businesses, anti-displacement strategies for residents and businesses, connectivity along the waterfront, mobility, and flood protection and climate resiliency. 

The BPDA is exploring moving forward with an East Boston Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) for East Boston’s existing residential neighborhoods, an interim zoning tool that is used to maintain increased public review and community voice in the evaluation of proposed new development during a planning process.