Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chamber Testifies on the Shadow Bill

This afternoon, the Chamber's Jim Klocke and Erin Trabucco were present at the State House for a hearing on H.1169, An Act Protecting Sunlight in Certain Parks.

The Chamber is concerned about the negative impact H.1169 will have on development in Boston. H.1169 would block important development projects by prohibiting construction or redesign of many structures that would cast a new shadow on a number of public parks in and near downtown Boston. The language of the bill prohibits all new shadows between the first hour of sunrise or 7am and the last hour before sunset. As a result, any development or redevelopment project that casts a slight shadow for only minutes beyond the designated time frame during the shortest days of the year could not be built. Many potential projects would be blocked – resulting in lost jobs, lost property taxes, and less housing.

Additionally, H.1169 would set a bad precedent for ceding local municipal control to the Commonwealth. Local authorities are best suited to weigh the needs of the community while making decisions on proposed development projects. New development projects may be used to bring much needed revenue to cities and towns. City officials should be able to determine whether or not the benefits of a proposed project outweigh any negative impact. For example, property taxes collected from new construction may be used to maintain public parks. Under this legislation, a proposed project that could bring much needed revenue to the city and directly benefit public parks may not be built if it cast a slight shadow on one of the named parks. Such shadows include even those that would go unnoticed by park visitors, and those that would have no detrimental effect on the growth or longevity of the parks.

The Chamber is also concerned about the potential impact H.1169 will have on the environment. If development height is limited, development will be spread out, leading to less open space. Additionally, this bill could limit new housing developments. An expansion of available housing within the city would lead to less traffic congestion as more people will be able to walk to work or utilize public transportation.

1 comment:

  1. The Shadow Bill should be refered back to City of Boston for hearings in front of the City Council,where it should be dismissed or defeated in home rule fashion.

    Louis Covino
    Louis W Covino Associates