Dear Build Boston Participant,
The Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design is a group of South Boston-based residents, business owners, artists and architects, advocating for the development of a residential neighborhood on the South Boston waterfront. We believe that the Seaport District, if conceived as a neighborhood rather than strictly as a commercial destination, could be populated by thousands of people willing to personally invest their futures in its growth and character.
SAND's members, all volunteers, have worked diligently with a number of groups -including the BSA SeaPort Focus Team, to listen and learn from various Seaport District constituencies, from the South Boston community to waterfront property owners, from Marine Industrial Park tenants to the state authorities that manage much of the land. We have been able to resolve the needs of many of these parties in the singular vision of a mixed use community - one that envisions the waterfront as an urban mecca of residents, pedestrians, visitors, bustling markets, maritime-related businesses and much more.
SAND supports the Boston Redevelopment Authority's inclusion of a significant residential component in its Seaport District master plan. We are also supportive of the BRA's consideration of mixed affordability throughout the district, allowing allow a broad spectrum of people to take part in its success.
While the master planning process has moved in a positive direction, we understand that issues requiring attention remain, among them:
- Residential development in the Seaport District will help alleviate the escalating demand for housing in existing South Boston communities, yet residential growth is opposed by members of South Boston's political leadership.
- State authorities (Massport, MBTA, Masspike) have been minimally cooperative in the long-term Master Planning process. Unregulated by City zoning regulations and full public review, these authorities use short-term self-sufficiency to justify the valuation and misappropriation of invaluable public resources. Consequently, 200-foot office towers are permitted on the water's edge; a highway ramp erupts with no discussion of decking and further development; a mass-transit system plan barely accounts for the most conservative projections.
- The public taxpayers' investment in Seaport District infrastructure and harbor cleanup is estimated at $8 Billion, yet public participation in the development dialog is often limited to patronizing public relations campaigns and appeasement through private mitigation negotiations.
- Neighborhood ideals including recreational open space, schools, meeting places, small service businesses, etc. require further attention in the planning and development effort.
- Without public oversight and left to prevailing market forces, the South Boston waterfront would be dominated by hotel/office and retail towers. The jobs, revenue and benefit provided by these projects would not substantiate the public investment in the district.
- Truck routes must be recognized and protected and mass-transit systems must be increased to prevent private vehicular traffic from limiting the expansion of the entire district.
Many of these issues will be addressed over the months to come. We appreciate your participation in today's Build Boston discussion and invite you join us in this cooperative effort.
Regards,The Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design www.seaportalliance.org