SAND has filed the following letter during the public comment period for the approval of a Waterways License Application filed by the Fan Pier Land Company.

To read SAND's past comments on the Fan Pier project, click here.


Ms. Sharon Pelosi, Program Chief
DEP Waterways Regulation Program
One Winter Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

re: Fan Pier Project Waterways License Application #W02-0404-N

Dear Ms. Pelosi:

The Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND) would like to commend the work of all participants, including the proponent and particularly the staff of the environmental agencies of the Commonwealth, in advancing and improving the design of the Fan Pier complex and reducing and mitigating the impacts which development might have had on this critically important site. With the granting of the Waterways license the final adjustments will be made to all of the preceding effort, and it is necessary that the terms of the license be clear, equitable, enforceable, and able to secure the public benefits which we all look forward to.

SAND continues to advocate and stand by the concerns and recommendations which we have raised over the course of the permitting process, and we encourage DEP staff to review those comments and to incorporate elements into the terms of the License. While we have been pleased by the level of quality and thoughtfulness which characterizes the open space and activation planning for the public realm of Fan Pier, we have some concerns about timing and implementation which we feel are appropriate to focus on at this point:

Open Space development and public amenities should be scheduled to begin construction at the earliest possible date. It is essential for the public to be able to enjoy the benefits of public waterways. Access to the waterfront should always be available regardless of the construction sequence or other activities scheduled on site. Open space and park areas must begin construction prior to any buildings. Any open space should not open for use by the public any later than the conclusion of construction at an adjacent building. If necessary, a bond or other surety may be required to secure the prompt construction and opening of public open space elements. Supporting infrastructure and amenities should likewise be required to be installed and operation at the earliest time possible.

Similarly, milestone dates should be set for the elimination and eventual cessation of on-surface parking. This use should be restricted and curtailed along the waters edge as an initial reduction. The current parking uses are not compatible with public and recreational uses of the waterfront.

Maintenance and operations policy and oversight should include members of the immediate community and area non-profits which are concerned with the public realm, the waterfront, and recreation. Such a group should be able to make recommendations and to hear reports on a regular basis from the operations entity. It is essential that the open space uses be available to the public on a 24 hour a day, seven day a week, basis, and that these provisions be monitored with provisions for enforcement and remediation if necessary.

Considering the importance of bringing additional people to the water at the earliest time possible, and with the best amenities achievable, we ask that a residential housing component be required in any initial phase of the construction sequence. A great part of the incentive to approve this project and accept some of the impacts generated are the benefits which additional housing will provide on this site and for this district. Equally important is that the lower floor of commercial buildings, as well as the ICA building be able to be rapidly made available for the non profit uses that have been designated.

We assume that the form and substance of your determination on this application will be consistent with other recent waterways licenses issued by DEP in the Boston area.

SAND looks forward to its continuing involvement in the planning and design of Fan Pier and the South Boston Waterfront area, and even more so to being able to use and enjoy these new open spaces, water access, public amenities, and the significant and highly desired new structures of the district. We thank you for your perseverance and fortitude in securing our public trust.


Jon Seward, on behalf of

Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design

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