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Last night, the BRA hosted the 52nd meeting of the combined Fort Point Advisory Committee and Fort Point Working Group.
The Summer 2005 series of meetings has concluded.
Summary of changes to 100-Acres Plan: No changes to the 100-Acres plan have been made or presented during this summer series of three public meetings and one meeting of the Fort Point Advisory Committee (not open to the public). The 100-Acres plan, as published in June 2005 remains the same in September 2005, despite three more months of feedback, letters and meetings.
(click here for notes from the prior meeting in the Summer 05 series).
Advisory Committee Update: A new organization, Fort Point Neighborhood Alliance, has joined the Advisory Committee and introduced its mission (click here to visit FPNA website).
The BRA presented a the history of the planning process, to demonstrate how the plan has evolved since 2002.
100-Acres circa 2002
BRA releases update on proposed public realm / open space.
100-Acres circa June 2005
BRA releases proposed massing and floor-area-ratio (FAR) numbers for 36 acres — 6 million square feet.
100-Acres circa September 2005
No change to June DRAFT, despite three months of Fort Point Advisory Committee meetings calling for changes to massing/height/density, and 4 years of Fort Point Advisory Committee and Working Group meetings calling for changes to open space scheme.
The BRA stated that the changes to the plan since 2001 included the increase in the size of the recreational park in the BRA plan (seen at far left of 2005 plan, 1/2 mile from Summer Street). Other changes in the plan, according to the BRA, were a reduction in density to 6 million square feet from 8 million square feet originally proposed by Gillette and USPS
HISTORICAL NOTE: The forum for the BRA’s so-called "original" proposal of 8 million square feet by Gillette and USPS remains unknown to members of the Fort Point Advisory Committee -- the first public discussion of massing within the 100-Acres presented by the BRA commenced in June 2005 with the release of the Draft 100-Acres Plan. As of February 2004, Fort Point property owners and other interested stakeholders were not provided with height/density numbers during the BRA-hosted public Open Space Charrette — despite SAND and FPAC's repeated requests for access to this critical data during the Charrette.
The Chairman of the 100-Acres Advisory Committee, reported to the BRA on behalf of the entire committee that the 100-Acres plan was unworkable, and that the plan as drafted represented Gillette's unfettered development goals (sic). With a majority of Advisory Committee members present at this meeting, there was not a single objection or abstention from the Chairman’s comments.
It was noted that the 100-Acres plan proposes more density per square acre than proposed and approved on Fan Pier. Fan Pier, as approved by the BRA, will include 2.8 million square feet of density on 21 acres (a difference of only .3 msf from originally proposed by the Fan Pier development team, despite a popular misconception that community activists and environmentalists significantly altered Fan Pier's massing plan). The 100-Acre plan proposes 6 million square feet of new development on 36 acres, a marked 25% increase in density per acre (6m/36) above Fan Pier’s density per acre (2.8m/21).
NOTE: In its 6 million sf of new development, the 100-Acre proposes a segregation between office buildings and residential uses (no mixed-use buildings), a wall of office buildings along A Street, with no discernible, visible references to the Fort Point Channel for nearly one mile — from A Street to Broadway — except for "view corridors" (i.e. streets perpendicular to the Channel).
There was a strong showing of support by the Advisory Committee for the recreational park as has been advocated by members of the Fort Point community for eight years (see community plan here). Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, a member organization that had not registered opinion on this park before this evening, added its strong support for this park at this meeting. The Boston Society of Architects, an Advisory Committee member organization that had collaborated with the Fort Point community on the original design of the park in 1998, renewed its support for the park at this meeting. The newly formed Fort Point Neighborhood Alliance stated that it had received over 250 signatures on a petition in favor of the park plan. Click here to read a timeline of Fort Point greenspace planning.
The BRA restated that the property is private, and it is difficult for the BRA to impose a plan on a private property owner. Advisory Committee representatives reminded the BRA that its 100-Acre plan proposes an approximate doubling of the development density on Gillette and USPS property, so there should be strong support for a well-designed urban plan that included a signature park highlighting one of the world’s most beautiful waterfronts.
The BRA reported that Gillette has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (no longer referred to as an MOU, Memorandum of Understanding), but USPS has not signed it. The BRA indicated that Archon, the new owner of many Boston Wharf Co. properties, is in a "due dilligence" phase of review.
During Advisory Committee discussions, it was clear that the upcoming State Chapter 91 process would be a critical juncture in improving the 100-Acres plan. It was also noted that the BRA is moving forward with a PDA District Master Plan, and that must be addressed by the Advisory Committee prior to the State process.
The Advisory Committee has asked the BRA to withdraw its draft, consider the Committee's input, and return to the Advisory Committee in 1-3 months with a revised draft.
Your comments as a visitor to the SAND website would be appreciated and forwarded for discussion.