Downtown Waterfront Planning Initiative

Description:

The Downtown Waterfront Planning Initiative is the next step in the implementation of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway District Use and Development Guidelines, which were adopted by the BRA in 2010 to preserve and activate the Greenway’s open space resources and enhance connections between the Downtown’s neighborhood districts and waterfront.

The Greenway Guidelines will serve as the master planning framework for the development of a new Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) which will harmonize the Guideline’s recommendations with the state’s Waterways Regulations. The planning effort will also involve the development of a Waterfront Activation and Public Realm Plan, and zoning recommendations for the Greenway District corridor.

All of the waterfront parcels within the Greenway District are subject to the state’s Waterways Regulations, Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L.) Chapter 91, which establishes specific building design and use requirements to ensure new waterfront projects serve a proper public purpose and support water-dependent uses. The Waterways Regulations include provisions that allow for municipalities to deviate from these requirements to accommodate local objectives through the development of municipal harbor plans. The Guidelines provide the necessary analysis of the built environment and potential densities that are required for the development of a MHP.

To facilitate the harbor planning process a range of public benefits and mitigation offsets need to be advanced for projects that propose building metrics that do not conform to Chapter 91 standards. A Downtown Waterfront Activation and Public Realm Plan will be developed as part of the planning effort to assist in this endeavor. This plan will inform the MHP process through the establishment of guidelines and priorities to further activate the watersheet and water’s edge.

The initiative will also review existing zoning and land use controls that relate to the full extent of the Greenway District corridor, from Chinatown to the North End, and develop recommendations that will serve to implement the Greenway Guidelines and the Downtown Waterfront District MHP. Please visit www.downtownwaterfrontplanning.org for all current updates.

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