Attempting to resolve areas of disagreement between the BRA and South Boston political leaders, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino signed an executive order last Friday to accomplish the following:
- The South Boston Seaport District is officially renamed the "South Boston Waterfront"
- Seaport District residential development will be limited to 4000 units over the next 10 years (the BRA Master Plan envisioned 5,000 - 8,000 units). This residential development limit is eliminated after 10 years.
- New Northern Avenue is renamed "Seaport Boulevard"
SAND has discussed and commented on these issues over the past months.
Regarding Naming Conventions: Identifying the South Boston Seaport District as the "South Boston Waterfront" will serve to confuse everyone involved in the planning discussion -- lumping waterfront discussions together from Fan Pier to the Marine Industrial Park to the L Street Community Center. When a hotel on the South Boston Waterfront is proposed, any one of these areas may be mistakenly considered. SAND has used the name "South Boston Seaport District" to identify the undeveloped waterfront area.
Regarding Residential Development: SAND has actively encouraged residential development at the western portion of the waterfront, especially with the notion of mixed affordability and in conjunction with other mixed-use projects. Housing would help create an interesting Boston neighborhood and would alleviate the intense pressures on South Boston's existing community. Although City Council President Jim Kelly has moved from his initial position of "no new residents," and although 4000 units may be reasonable over a 10 year timeframe, the imposed limits on housing may stifle community debates with developers, slowing momentum created by the Public Realm Plan in achieving a waterfront neighborhood.
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