Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chamber Recommends Changes to State Requirements for Waterfront Development

Chapter 91, the state waterways licensing program, regulates development on the Commonwealth’s waterfronts. While it seeks to promote public access to the water, Chapter 91 includes unnecessary restrictions that hinder waterfront developments. Those hindrances are especially pronounced in Boston.

To address them, the Chamber recently submitted testimony in support of S. 371, An Act to Revitalize the Commonwealth’s Waterfronts. Chapter 91 requires ground floor space of waterfront buildings to be reserved for facilities of public accommodation (FPAs) regardless of how much foot traffic is drawn to the site. Studies have shown that the public space required by Chapter 91 far exceeds demand. S. 371 would allow local zoning to regulate ground floor uses, enabling local planning and development professionals to shape the requirement to better meet local needs. In addition, S. 371 would change the calculation of FPA space, making the FPA requirement more workable in small development projects.

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