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Boston Edison Plant: City Councilors Flaherty and Flynn weigh in

Last week, Senator Nick Collins and State Rep. David Biele filed legislation that would require the state Legislature and state inspector general’s office to complete a full review before any housing be built on the old Boston Edison site on Summer Street – basically halting the process to take a closer look.  This week City Councilor at-Large Michael Flaherty and City Councilor Ed Flynn are joining in.  The local politicians are not happy with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) and the developer for moving ahead with the large scale L Street Station project without the right agreements in place.

According to the Boston Herald, on Wednesday Flaherty and Flynn asked the Boston City Council to hold formal discussions with the developers, Massport, residents and local businesses to talk about halting the BPDA review process – called Article 80. 

The councilors believe the Article 80 process doesn’t need to happen due to the fact there’s an existing deed restriction in effect on the parcel. 

Back in 2017, Hilco and Redgate filed plans with the BPDA to turn the old power plant into a $700 million mixed use development including 1344 residential units. 

Flaherty told the Herald that the fact that there’s a rush to approve this project with the BPDA for a development that Massport might never be allowed to build is what’s wrong with the system.  “The BPDA works for the residents of Boston not Hilco or Redgate,” Flaherty told the Herald. 

Flaherty went on to describe the process as equivalent to a person looking to building something on their property when they don’t actually have the right to do so but is going to try and go through the Article 80 process in the hopes it will they’ll get the permission to build anyway. Flaherty stated that when it comes to development, “the anxiety level in the neighborhood has reached an all-time high.” 

On a site note, the International Longshoremen’s Association believes the housing development plan – which is right next to the Conley terminal could have an negative impact on the port’s shipping business.

So looks like our local politicians are digging their heels in when it comes to the L Street Station development.

To read more about this, visit here.

And here’s an editorial in the Globe calling out our local pols for housing hypocrisy.

You decide.

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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.

Comments

  1. I complain when they (politicians in general) don’t do enough so I am also going to give a pat on the back when I think they get it right. Thank you to Nick and Michael for doing exactly what was called for here. The process got caught with it’s pants down, the analogy Flaherty made is correct. How on earth could BPDA even entertain an article 80 process when the deed says it’s prohibited. It should have been a non-starter. Lots of double speak from BPDA as to why they did. The answer they gave was like watching a comedian bomb out on stage…I felt bad for them reading it. (Hey Meuller, we have another project for you when your ready–BPDA)

  2. This bravado about luxury residents is just a smoke screen. Look the only projects Mr. Collins has supported have all had Massport components to them, either air rights or land lease. This development has neither. Which makes Massport upset, and it is they who are pushing this silly agenda through their lackey Nick Collins, The Deed restriction negotiated with the former owner Excelon and Massport, was Massports methodology to curtail development on the site. The Massport could not afford the property when offered for sale so tried to make sure that the property could be perceived as in buildable. They Massport quite honestly thought that having this property included in the designated port area they were protected from the site being used as proposed now. Massport missed the boat when the continued to expand beyond the DPA boundaries and never asked that the boundary be re-drawn. So When Redgate asked for an evaluation of the DPA boundary it was found that even with the removal of the Edison site (15 acres) from the area, Massport DPA still had a net increase to the DPA. It is their own incompetence in real-estate management of the DPA which landed Massport where it is. So now as usual Nick Collins is doing just what Massport asks of him, By opposing the project on silly grounds of housing cost disparity. Sure the process should be slowed down as the council members have suggested. There is still lots of work to be done with Redgate on housing that is affordable and family friendly. One good thing Nick has done as of late is file for a comprehensive transportation study of the area, But this is long over due and been asked for by all of Southie for more than 5 years.

  3. This action by the Southie elected officials would have more credibility if they would get serious about improving transit options. I’m talking specifically about bus lanes. Southie needs them. They work really well in other parts of the city and can be dedicated just for rush hour. There is no reason to not do them in Southie. You cannot stop new housing even if you want to nor should you. The release valve that Southie needs is available – bus lanes – if the elected officials would get behind them.

  4. The Senator is incorrect. According to BPDA there currently is no under lying zoning. The previous zoning was indeed part of the designated port area (DPA). Last year the Coastal Zoning Commission, removed this 15 acres from the DPA. The primary reason being that due mostly to the now physical barrier of the Conley terminal haul road this parcel no longer meets the criterion to be included as part of the designated port area. When the coastal zoning commission re-drew the boundary in South Boston (Conley Terminal) the DPA saw an increase in acreage, in spite of the removal of this 15 acres. Massport has simply been annexing adjoining parcels at Conley for years, with out having Coastal Zone Management redraw the boundaries. This incompetence or mismanagement of Massport assets is what has caused this situation. Massport creation of the haul road is a welcome change for the residents on first street. From the information I have seen this entry relocation has increased the efficiency of the terminal truck turn around time. So truly a win win Massport has better access and better efficiency and the residents of South Boston have safer streets, as well as an added bonus of cleaner air which Massport monitoring has revealed. Now the haul roads impact on the DPA was obviously not fully thought out. The Edison plant site, now just doe not meet the criterion to be included in the DPA. I believe that the deed restriction was predicated on this parcel inclusion in the DPA. It is true that residences are prohibited in the DPA, which isa fairly reasonable restriction. Since the Edison site is not part of the DPA the restriction no longer is warranted. This parcel now is just part of the greater South Boston zoning area. BPDA has stated that the most efficient manner to impose zoning on the site is through a planned development area. I support this regulatory move. I am solidly in favor of developing this site. I do not agree with the plans currently on the table from Redgate. The city councilors Flaherty and Flynn have called for a slow down of the BPDA process which I fully support them in this call. The Senators previous endorsements of multiple massive projects in the Seaport and in Fort Point have and will continue to impact the terminals operations far more than this project. I would agree that the state should have some oversight of the project. That being the road ways and intersections that handle the truck traffic in and out of the terminal. This is important to the region and will help mitigate the mistakes made by Collins in supporting all the seaport projects, with out a single thought paid to the terminal access. Collins him self has realized what a mess he helped create and has called for a full transportation study of the area…Long over due.. How Collins can look the residents in the eye after taking more than 6 years to file for a transportation study after continuous outcry’s from the community. But took only two months to pull together this bill. This is a Boston development and does not require the full legislator to determine the content and use of privately owned buildings and property.