Letter to the Mayor, North End Waterfront Planning

December 11, 2017


Mayor Martin Walsh
1 City Hall Square, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02201-1020
mayor@boston.gov
 
Mr. Brian Golden
Director, Boston Planning & Development Agency
1 City Hall Square, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02201-1020
Brian.Golden@boston.gov

Dear Mayor Walsh and Mr. Golden,

As Boston residents representing constituents living in the North End/Waterfront neighborhood, we are writing to request your support of a community-led planning process for Boston’s downtown and North End/Waterfront. There has not been one since the Urban Renewal Plan of the 1960s, which restored the essential residential character of the area. We cannot afford to wait for developers to decide the future of our neighborhood – famous for its history and charm and home to generations of families. We respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss assembling a task force to create a development plan for the North End/Waterfront.

Today, there are multiple precious waterfront parcels under consideration for development in our neighborhood: Commercial Wharf, Lewis Wharf, Sargents Wharf, and vacant lots on Atlantic Avenue and at Clark Street and Commercial Street. The upcoming North Washington Street bridge construction and other planned developments in our area also are of great concern to those who call the North End/Waterfront home.

Our neighborhood also has real concerns about unchecked development that will create additional burdens on our already taxed infrastructure, more congestion on our already clogged roads, loss of housing stock, and adversely impact public access to the Harbor. We also are wary of the interplay between waterfront development and the problem of climate change.

As Boston prepares to review development plans in our neighborhood, the City has the opportunity to utilize the latest methods to protect the waterfront from rising tides. The City’s Climate Ready report predicts regular flooding in as little as 12 years. We do not want to see the Boston Planning and Development Agency defer vital planning responsibilities to developers.

Many of us have met with you in the past and voiced concerns about the impact that development will have on the quality of life in the North End for residents, businesses and tourists. We have additional concerns because the Department of Environmental Protection is concerned only with water-dependent uses and not with protecting the character of established neighborhoods. It has repeatedly failed to recognize the transformative public purpose that was served by the City of Boston’s Urban Renewal Plan. The Boston Planning and Development Agency’s mission is to work with residents to shape the future of each community. We need the City’s help so that the voice of the neighborhood is taken into account during the planning process. We look forward to working with you and the BPDA to develop a progressive planning process that strikes the delicate balance between development and the needs of our historic neighborhood and creates a more open and resilient waterfront for everyone to enjoy.

We ask you to help us work toward and achieve the necessary and delicate balance between development and the needs of our historic neighborhood.

We can be reached via Cheryl Delgreco at 617-723-4004, cdelgreco@comcast.net and remain eager to meet with you to discuss a North End/Waterfront development task force in further detail.


Sincerely,

Trustees of Battery Wharf Residential Condominium Association
Trustees of Burroughs Wharf Condominium Association
Trustees of Commercial Wharf East Condominium Association
Trustees of Lewis Wharf Condominium Association
Trustees of Lincoln Wharf Condominium Trust
Board of Managers of The Mariner Condominium Association
Trustees of Prince Building Condominium Association
Trustees of Union Wharf Condominium Association
Residents at 145 Commercial Street

cc:  Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, Sen. Joseph Boncore, Councilor-Elect Lydia Edwards, Councilor Sal LaMattina, Councilor Michelle Wu, Councilor Michael F. Flaherty, Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, Councilor Ayanna Pressley, Neighborhood Liaison, Maria Lanza