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Councilor Flynn Files Hearing Order to Discuss Zoning and the Community Outreach Process for Life Science Laboratories   

This hearing comes in the wake of so many “life science” buildings are being proposed in the neighborhood including this large scale project on Morrissey Blvd. 

See press release below

BOSTON – Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn is filing a hearing order at this week’s City Council meeting to discuss the zoning and the community outreach process for proposed developments of life science laboratories. As more life science laboratories are being proposed and built in the city, a thorough community review should be part of the zoning process.  This hearing order aims to discuss how the city’s zoning code can ensure that our community has a role with laboratory developments, and that our neighbors have a way to voice their input in the process.

In recent years, Boston has become a hub for the science and technology industries, and there are multiple proposals from various companies that hope to construct life science laboratories in the City of Boston. The recent development boom has brought changes to the landscape of our neighborhoods, and areas currently zoned for industrial and manufacturing uses may now be directly next to residential areas. This may become an issue when life science laboratories are able to bypass a community process when it is built in an area that is currently zoned for industrial and manufacturing uses, even if the area is actually next to a residential area.

This was recently an issue when a life science laboratory began construction right next to a residential building without a thorough community process in the South Boston Waterfront, because the laboratory was in an area zoned as Restricted Manufacturing and was deemed zoning compliant. As a result, this proposal was not required to go through a thorough community process. Residents have expressed concerns about the lack of a community process with such projects, especially during a pandemic and residents unaware of the types of testing that would be conducted in the laboratory.

“It is important for residents of a neighborhood to have input on proposed developments and what takes place in their community, especially if it is a laboratory that can potentially impact public health and safety in the area,” said Councilor Flynn. “The zoning code should be written in a way that would allow for a thorough community process and our residents to have the opportunity to offer feedback when a laboratory or similar development is being proposed in their area. I look forward to the discussion at this hearing.”

For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 and  Ed.Flynn@Boston.gov.

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Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.