Boston Mayor to file plans to amend city’s Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan

by Liz Hughes

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has announced plans to file an amendment to the city’s current Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP). She will also be seeking to launch a municipal harbor planning process for East Boston. 

Wu’s amendment would seek to further refine that plan and address issues she said were raised through analysis and feedback received since 2018. It does not specifically state what the amendment would entail. 

The MHP was approved by state officials in 2018. Since its approval, the city of Boston has continued to analyze and implement plans in the area including completion of the Coastal Resilience Solutions Plan for downtown Boston and the North End, beginning the process of planning for the Downtown Waterfront Design & Use Guidelines and the beginning of the Article 80 process for two area development projects. The Article 80 process looks at a potential project’s effect on everything from the environment to transportation and historic resources. 

Wu said since Boston is a coastal city vulnerable to rising seas and extreme weather, it “must be a national leader in driving a just transition to a thriving, green economy.” 

“We have to get this right on the waterfront and truly plan for equitable access and climate resiliency in this critical area of our city,” she said in a press release. “That’s why we are officially taking on our Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan and the East Boston harbor planning process with these goals guiding our engagement.” 

Wu also announced starting a municipal harbor planning process for East Boston to implement that community’s desire for a resilient and equitable waterfront, she stated in a letter to Lisa Berry Engler, director of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management about her proposed amendment. 

Led by the Boston Planning & Development Agency, PLAN: East Boston is a community-driven, neighborhood-wide planning initiative to create a framework to predictably shape the area’s future. It’s focused on expanding affordable housing opportunities, climate preparedness, transportation connectivity and supporting neighborhood economies. 

The East Boston planning process would develop recommendations, “that will shape the municipal harbor planning process, and codify and implement the community’s desire for a resilient and equitable waterfront,” Wu said.

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