After a series of successful community workshops that kicked off the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s (BPDA) initiative PLAN: EAST BOSTON, the BPDA announced they are seeking a consultant to help with the effort.
Over the summer Mayor Walsh announced Eastie was chosen as one of five neighborhoods that will be part of the BPDA’s planning initiative as part of an Imagine Boston 2030 effort to ‘preserve, enhance and grow’ the neighborhood.
The city plans to work closely with Eastie community groups, community leaders and other stakeholders to ensure decisions made by the city are following the guiding principles of “preserves wisely, enhances equitably, and grows inclusively.”
At its January board meeting the BPDA approved $250,000 to hire a consultant experienced in land use, urban design and market analysis to assist in the preparation of the PLAN: East Boston Land Use, Urban Design, and Market Analysis Study.
The BPDA expects that the land use and urban design professional will operate as the primary consultant for the Plan: East Boston study and the market analysis component will operate as a sub-consultant under the resulting contract for the study.
According to the BPDA, the selected consultant will help create massing options and development scenarios for four to six sub-areas within the neighborhood. The study calls for the selected consultant to work closely with BPDA staff to generate massing and land use scenarios, the impacts of which will be evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively.
These options will then be used for discussion in community workshops and, ultimately, to create recommendations, urban design guidelines, and to inform new zoning for future developments in Eastie.
The Plan: East Boston study will be a collaborative effort between the BPDA and several City of Boston Departments and other public agencies. Work on the study is expected to begin in April of 2019 and is anticipated to be completed within 24 months.
As part of the initiative in Eastie, comprehensive planning will include a focus on balancing contextually-sensitive development alongside preservation. There will also be a focus on supporting existing residents and businesses through increased access to opportunity, affordability strategies, and anti-displacement policies.
One of the highlights in Eastie will be improving the public realm and access to open space and neighborhood-serving amenities, addressing mobility challenges, and supporting neighborhood resiliency and preparing for climate change.
The city will work with the community in Eastie’s half dozen enclaves with a focus on the the neighborhoods here that are facing increased development pressures. Working with the community the city will determine a shared vision for the future of the neighborhood. Community discussion will focus on preservation of the existing residential fabric, enhancement of the vitality of existing residential communities and businesses, anti-displacement strategies for residents and businesses, connectivity along the waterfront, mobility, and flood protection and climate resiliency. Last year the BPDA approved an Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) for Eastie’s existing residential neighborhoods. An IPOD is an interim zoning tool that is used to maintain increased public review and community voice in the evaluation of proposed new development during a planning process.