Quiet South End Text Amendment Pulled Back for Public Meeting

By Seth Daniel

After the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) quietly passed a noteworthy zoning text amendment for the New York Streets area at its October Board meeting, it has slowed down the process in presenting it to the Zoning Commission, instead planning a public meeting on Dec. 5.

The matter had originally been scheduled for a hearing at the Zoning Commission on Nov. 9.

The new informational meeting will take place at Project Place on Monday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m.

“The South End Zoning Text Amendment Public Meeting scheduled for Monday, Dec. 5 is an informational meeting to discuss the proposed zoning text amendment with the community and share the ways the proposed zoning text amendment could potentially impact the north sub-district of the South End neighborhood zoning district,” wrote a spokesperson for the BPDA. “BPDA staff will also respond to any questions or concerns posed by the community.”

Those in that immediate neighborhood said they saw it as a victory for the voices in the newly-developed New York Streets, noting that there was some disappointment with the lack of a community process and that the BPDA had heard those concerns when voiced recently.

The amendment is isolated to the EDA North Zones 1 and 2, which encompass the area known as New York Streets – roughly Herald, Traveler, Harrison, Albany and Shawmut Streets – and is targeted to the Quinzani’s project on Harrison Avenue by Related Beale. It calls for taking the floor area ratio (FAR), a measure of the density, from 6.5 to 8.0 in Planned Development Areas (PDA) in that district. The quid pro quo is that anyone taking advantage of that would have to provide 20 percent affordable units within the development.

The change would also affect prime properties such as the Stanhope Garage site, Empire Loan storefronts, the Chinese supermarket, the Tufts parking lot, the old Medieval Manor building on East Berkeley Street and Planet Storage – to name a few.

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