SAND testified at the 2nd Municipal Harbor Hearing on 8/9/00 at the 3rd Municipal Harbor hearing held on 9/26/00. Read more below...

This story ran on page B12 of the Boston Globe on 9/28/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

Foes of waterfront plan renew effort

By Steven Wilmsen, Globe Staff, 9/28/2000

A new wave of opposition to the city's master plan for development of the South Boston W aterfront has erupted from city councilors, neighborhood groups, and state lawmakers, which could threaten to delay construction of the first major developments.

The opposition is cropping up less than two months before state Environmental Affairs Secretary Robert Durand must decide whether to approve Mayor Thomas M. Menino's plan or send it back to the drawing board.

''This is a real outcry,'' said Vivien Li of the Boston Harbor Association. ''All of a sudden, we're hearing it from everywhere, very impassioned opposition and it's not just South Boston anymore. It's citywide.''

Yesterday, 10 city councilors decided to join together to ask Durand to scrap the plan and order the city to replace it with one that, in their words, will ''truly serve the public interest.''

''We are hearing from more and more people asking us to do something about this plan,'' said Councilor Maura A. Hennigan of Jamaica Plain, who said she hopes the request will be brought to a council vote next week.

''It's too tall, too dense, too much,'' Hennigan said of the plan. ''We just can't let it go forward like this.''

Durand, whose office signaled a few months ago that only minor changes to the plan were needed, said that renewed opposition is likely to bring more scrutiny from his office.

Durand said he was taken aback by the number and vehemence of protests at a public hearing Monday night over Menino's blueprint for a 1,000-acre mini-city of hotels, condos, and office towers.

''Given the force of the comments, we're going to have to take it very seriously,'' said Doug Pizzi, a Durand spokesman.

In the spring, the city's controversial waterfront plan was under attack by environmental groups for giving away huge development rights to developers who planned to construct office towers near the water's edge. The Conservation Law Foundation threatened to sue Durand if he approved it.

The plan was also at the center of controversy between the mayor and elected officials from South Boston over lucrative community benefits flowing from waterfront developers to the neighborhood. But the controversy had largely faded, and until last week many city officials thought the plan was in the clear.

This story ran on page B12 of the Boston Globe on 9/28/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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