Representatives Marty Walz (D-Boston – Back Bay) and Byron Rushing (D-Boston – South End/Roxbury) have filed House Bill No. 853 which would “protect certain public parks”.
But, in reality, it would stop any and all significant development from happening anywhere in the downtown Boston area, bringing the city to a standstill and potentially damaging prospects of future growth.
Wait, maybe that’s their goal?
In other, more pertinent ways, it would irrevocably change the city’s dynamics, for the worse.
It would set precedence that Commonwealth state legislators can, at will, write and enact laws that negatively affect cities and towns. By passing laws such as this one, they are taking control out of the hands of residents of the city. We have representation at City Hall, in our councilors and our mayor, who should rightfully expect that laws regarding our neighborhoods be made locally, not by legislators near and far.
It’s bad enough that we, in Boston, have to work through (and around) the Boston Redevelopment Authority. But, at least they are a part of “the city”.
There’s separation between church and state. There should also be separation between city and state.
My opposition is from the point of view of a resident of the city as well as someone who cares and loves living here.
This law would be too restrictive in its reach. I can understand (and support) protecting the Esplanade (although, what are the chances anything would ever be built facing it, considering it’s in the Back Bay, a ‘protected’ district). Likewise, the Christopher Columbus Park.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway, though, is in the midst of the city’s financial district. Wouldn’t it make sense to have tall buildings, at least on the city-side? There are already buildings there.
(Keep in mind, it looks as if the proposed legislation would be so restrictive that, if someone proposed tearing down a 10-story building – that casts shadows, today – to replace it with a new 10-story building, the creation of shadows would make it illegal.)
Regarding the Copley Square “park”: the legislation seems written solely to restrict the rights of one developer and one developer, alone; Simon Properties, who has proposed a high-rise tower for land next to and above the Neiman-Marcus store.
However, it would, probably, also restrict or outlaw any development on the Prudential Plaza.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority, the city of Boston, and its residents, all have a vested interest in what gets built there. They should retain control on making the decisions on what’s best for us, on a case-by-case basis.
I will be there on Tuesday to voice my opposition (each person gets three minutes to speak to the committee). I hope you will be there, too!
Below is an email sent out to neighbors in the Back Bay of Boston by the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay. For some reason, they support the proposal, wholeheartedly.
Important Hearing on House Bill No. 853: An Act protecting certain public parks
House Bill No. 853: An Act protecting certain public parks Tuesday, December 15 at 11:00 am in State House Room A2.
Dear NABB member,
As you may know, Reps. Marty Walz, Byron Rushing, and Senator Anthony Petrucelli sponsored a bill to prevent additional shadows from being cast on the Charles River Esplanade, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Copley Square Park, Christopher Columbus Park, Magazine Beach Park, or Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway (House Bill No. 853: An Act protecting certain public parks). We are excited about this legislation, which will be critical in protecting our historic parks from shadows cast by excessively tall buildings.
However, passage of the bill is far from a sure thing. People who care about their environment will need to make their voices heard if the bill is to have any chance of success.
Fortunately, there is an opportunity for us to do just that.
The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture is holding a hearing on this bill on December 15 at 11:00 am in State House Room A2.
Public testimony will be taken, although speakers are limited to three minutes. It is critical that we collect as much written and oral testimony as possible. I hope you will support this bill forcefully with your presence and your letters.
Please attend the hearing if at all possible. It is very helpful if you let the office know that you will be attending, in case we need to reach you about any last-minute changes.
If you cannot attend, send a letter in support of the legislation to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee Co-Chairs:
Senator Anthony Petruccelli
State House, Room 413-B
Boston, MA 02133
Representative William Straus
State House, Room 473-F
Boston, MA 02133
Send emails (with paper copies following) to Committee Co-Chairs:
Anthony.Petruccelli@state.ma.us and Rep.WilliamStraus@Hou.State.MA.US.
Copy Rep.MartyWalz@Hou.State.MA.US and Rep.ByronRushing@hou.state.ma.us
Please forward this email to others concerned with the issue, encouraging them to attend and/or write. A copy of the legislation is attached. It is also posted on the web at http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/hous…df/ht00853.pdf.
I also attach “Sunshine or Shadow?” by Marty Walz which was written after filing the bill.
I know that this is the worst possible time of year to ask you to spend time influencing public policy, but the government doesn