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A letter from Mayor Marty Walsh to South Boston

Dear South Boston residents, 

Like many neighborhoods throughout Boston and major cities across the nation, South Boston is experiencing a period of rapid growth and change. In addition to the miles of active beaches and waterfront parks, South Boston’s vibrant commercial district, easy access to downtown and strong network of nonprofit and civic groups continue to make the neighborhood an attractive place to live for both new Bostonians and life-long residents. 

The community of South Boston has seen significant investment in recent years. In response, we continue to utilize significant resources in order to deliver a neighborhood-wide plan that respects the community character of the neighborhood. For example, after a robust community process PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avene guidelines were approved in 2016.  

The South Boston Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) is another one of these resources. This zoning tool has helped balance the demand for new growth while maintaining the character of the neighborhood. In February 2018, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) announced a one-year extension of the IPOD, allowing for additional community process for potential zoning modifications before it expires on October 31, 2019. 

While the IPOD was in place, we met with the community to understand their zoning-related concerns. We then used this feedback to help shape the proposed text amendment for the South Boston neighborhood, a long-term solution to protect the existing fabric of neighborhood structures and low-density housing stock. The text amendment addresses what we heard by:  

  • Creating a minimum lot size, preventing the building of larger, denser structures with an increased number of dwelling units. 
  • Preventing out of character demolition and re-builds, so the current building height on the parcel becomes zoning height if demolition is involved.
  • Preventing rear yard fill-ins that eliminate open space and block light and air from abutters

This amendment is the outcome of a multi-year planning process. We believe it responds to the advocacy of the community and the desire to have a review process even when projects are zoning compliant. We look forward to continuing to engage with the neighborhood, stakeholders and elected officials as we preserve South Boston’s history while responding to Boston’s growth. 

Sincerely,

Mayor Martin J. Walsh

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.