As the The South Boston Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) was about to expire, the deadline was extended until October 31st at Thursday’s Boston Planning and Development Board meeting.
So what exactly is the IPOD?
The South Boston Interim Planning Overlay District is intended to advance the City’s housing-creation goals within a zoning code framework respectful of the day-to-day living conditions of South Boston residents who have been significantly impacted by a period of unprecedented neighborhood development, residential expansion, and growing traffic congestion.
Important but slightly boring background information:
A while back, Article 68 expanded to all of South Boston. This was intended to stop systemize new development rules that would be fair to neighborhood residents, property owners, and developers. The new zoning hoped to level the development playing field by regularizing the rules to allow for reasonable growth, while at the same time eliminating the need to resort to variances and the unpredictability of the zoning appeal process.
Article 68 basically eliminated minimum lot size requirements and replaced previously existing low-density use restrictions with a single all-encompassing multifamily district. And here’s the loophole – large lots, where development had been limited by use or minimum lot size requirements, can now become the sites for development projects that don’t really fit in the neighborhood. Fore example, remember the house on M Street.
From this example, City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty urged the Boston Planning and Development Agency to create the IPOD –“ in order to subject certain higher unit count proposed projects to increased public review, while the BPDA staff assesses the strengths and weaknesses of Article 68 as implemented.” Sort of like a neighborhood watch dog.
So now instead of exiting, the IPOD will be extended until October 31st.
Last February, City Councilors Flaherty and Ed Flynn held a hearing to discuss.