Wu Marks Creation of New City Planning Department at West End Ceremony

Standing behind the Last Tenement at 42 Lomasney Way – the only historic building from the old West End to survive urban renewal in that neighborhood – Mayor Michelle Wu signed an ordinance on Tuesday, April 2, which will allow for the creation new planning department in the City of Boston for the first time in 70 years.

​The ordinance restores planning as a core function of Boston city government, ensuring its inclusion in the city’s budget and allowing for the transfer of current staff from the Boston Planning & Development Agency  to the new planning department.

Mayor Michelle Wu joined residents and community leaders in the West End on April 2 for a signing of a new ordinance creating a City Planning Department.

​“Today we mark a long-overdue new chapter in Boston’s growth—grounded in affordability, resiliency, and equity,” said Mayor Wu. “This ordinance is the biggest step Boston has taken in 70 years to finally begin untangling a system of development rooted in an outdated ideology that left scars in our communities. I look forward to the work ahead with all of our residents to engage with this new Planning Department and shape Boston’s future.”

​Similarly, Arthur Jemison, the city’s chief of planning, said, “Today marks an important step in our work to truly transform planning and development in Boston and ensure we are speaking to residents with one voice as the City of Boston. Under Mayor Wu’s leadership, I’m looking forward to establishing a Planning Department that can tackle Boston’s greatest challenges and plan for a City that is more resilient, affordable, and equitable.”

​Besides creating the new department, as well as a pathway for the transfer of staff, the ordinance codifies the purpose of the department as “creating comprehensive plans for Boston’s built environment, a predictable zoning code and development process, urban design standards, and planning for the best use of publicly owned land,” according to a press release from the city.

The ordinance also formalizes the financial transfer between the City and BPDA so that the move will be cost-neutral to the city’s taxpayers. The ordinance, which was filed by Mayor Wu in January, was formally approved by the City Council on Wednesday, March 27.

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