City Responds to Development Planning Task Force For North End Waterfront Parcels

In an effort to avoid another war after the Lewis Wharf Hotel debacle, nine North End / Waterfront condominium boards reached out to city officials in a joint letter (pdf) to address the remaining open development parcels in the neighborhood. 

You can read the full story on North End Waterfront News here.

In an effort to avoid another war after the Lewis Wharf Hotel debacle, nine North End / Waterfront condominium boards reached out to city officials in a joint letter (pdf) to address the remaining open development parcels in the neighborhood. Specifically, the letter identified areas of development concern at Commercial Wharf, Lewis Wharf, Sargent’s Wharf, and vacant lots on Atlantic Avenue and at Clark Street and Commercial Street. Representing thousands of abutting residents, the group asked the Mayor’s Office and Boston Planning and Redevelopment Agency (BPDA) to create a task force that would “achieve the necessary and delicate balance between development and the needs of our historic neighborhood.” After the flooding that occurred on January 4th, the issue of future building has taken on a broader context given the emerging risk to North End/Waterfront properties.

The BPDA’s Director, Brian Golden, responded this week in a letter (pdf) agreeing to meet with the group for a further detailed discussion. In his letter, he also included a brief history and planning status for the North End waterfront. The last North End “Harborpark” analysis dates back to the late 1980’s. The zoning that came from that process eventually led to the construction of Battery Wharf, an expanded Pilot House, new Harborwalk at Sargent’s Wharf and Chapter 91 license amnesty for existing properties that predated the Harborwalk program. Yet, other plans for Commercial Wharf, Lewis Wharf, Sargent’s Wharf and nearby lots never came to pass.

While the BPDA has been working on a new Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan for Wharf District parcels including the Harbor Garage, Hook Lobster and Long Wharf, there has been limited recent planning attention to the North End waterfront. According to Golden, existing guidelines have been “adequate” to date. However, he highlights new findings from Imagine Boston 2030 and Climate Ready Boston where future proposals will have to address the risk of 40 inches of sea-level rise anticipated by 2070.

Active projects along the North End Waterfront highlighted in the letter include the expansion of the Eliot School at 585 Commercial Street, planning for the Nazzaro Community Center (potentially in front of Mirabella Pool), recently completed Lovejoy Wharf with connections to the North End, the Connect Historic Boston cycle track and plans to redesign Langone and Puopolo Parks. As for Lewis Wharf, Golden references the State’s Dept. of Environmental Protection interpretation of existing pile-supported structures and pile fields. Finally, the BPDA letter mentions areas where Ch. 91 compliance is lacking, including the incomplete Harborwalk at Commercial Wharf.


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