February 3, 2005

Secretary Ellen Roy Herzfelder
100 Cambridge St. Ste 900
Boston, MA 02114

Regarding: EOEA 12433-FEIR and Chapter 91 Pier 4 Project, South Boston

Dear Secretary Roy Herzfelder:

Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND) is a group of residents and business owners interested in the evolving development of the South Boston Waterfront. We advocate for development of the Waterfront as an urban neighborhood, with an eye towards public realm, civic and cultural uses, and the evolution of a vibrant mixed of uses including a significant residential component.

Members of SAND had an opportunity to review comments regarding Pier 4 FEIR made by the Boston Harbor Association (letter from Ms. Vivien Li dated January 21, 2005). The Boston Harbor Association’s comments closely echo concerns raised by members of our organization.

Among other issues raised by TBHA, we are concerned about the proposed placement of civic/cultural space on Seaport Boulevard, away from the water’s edge. Secondly, we do not support the use of 2nd floor space for the placement of civic/cultural space. An examination of existing waterfront projects that use upper floors have proven to fail in public use as originally proposed. Upper floor public spaces at Rowes Wharf and at the Modern Continental’s office tower on New Northern Avenue fall far below anticipated usage.

Two additional issues are noted:

1) The proposed number of residences on Pier 4 falls far short of the BRA’s stated goals for activation of a waterfront neighborhood. The South Boston Seaport Public Realm Plan suggests that 4000-8000 residential units will be needed on the waterfront for an evolving neighborhood. Considering all proposed, existing and already-approved projects, the waterfront will accommodate only 50% of stated goals. An analysis of this projected shortfall is published on our website at www.seaportalliance.org.

2) In his decision on the Municipal Harbor Plan, Secretary Durand required the creation of a citywide civic/cultural board to help determine the efficacy of civic and cultural sites on the waterfront. To date, only a handful of non-profits and property-owner-controlled organizations have been active in shaping the outcome of important public spaces. Greater Boston’s cultural community remains largely disengaged from directly benefiting from civic and cultural opportunities created through Chapter 91.

Attached please find a letter sent to the BRA in 2004 regarding EOEA’s stated expectations regarding civic and cultural opportunities.

Thank you for consideration of our comments.

Best regards,

Steve Hollinger
on behalf of Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND)

Your comments as a visitor to the SAND website would be appreciated and forwarded for discussion.