On February 8, 1999, SAND filed an update to its comments to reflect progress made during a meeting with Mr. Jim Jensen of Harborlights on January 26th.

SAND addressed these comments to:

Secretary Robert Durand
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street
Boston MA, 02202
Attention: MEPA Unit
Mr. Robert Baldwin
Deputy Director of Industrial Development
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02201
Mr. Greg Carrafiello
Acting Program Chief
Waterways Regulation Program
One Winter Street
Boston, MA 02108

February 8, 1999

Mr. Greg Carrafiello
Acting Program Chief
Waterways Regulation Program
One Winter Street
Boston, MA 02108

Re: ENF/PNF/WRDA for Harborlights Pavilion

Dear Mr. Carrafiello:

In December 1998, our community group submitted ENF/PNF/WRDA comments [copy attached] during a public comment period regarding the siting of Harborlights on Wharf 8.

Following this filing and the subsequent EOEA decision regarding Harborlights, we met with Jim Jensen of SFX/Harborlights on January 26th to discuss and resolve our issues. This meeting was extremely productive and encouraging. A number of issues, however, remain unresolved.

We ask you to consider this SAND update as other Harborlights matters are resolved in your office.

Update Regarding 5-year Term

SAND continues to support Harborlights for a 5 year term on Wharf 8. Harborlights is an excellent temporary use of the site, especially because the tent does not demand the extensive construction of a permanent foundation - it can effectively be dismantled and reconstructed once a more suitable location is found.

SAND continues to support and encourage the land-banking of underutilized maritime property within the Marine Industrial Park for future maritime-related commerce and development. SAND would not support an extension of Harborlights' term on Wharf 8 if a maritime industrial use required resources available on the property or adjacent berth (assuming the two uses were mutually exclusive).

The Harborlights organization should actively pursue potential relocation sites, and SAND has asked Mr. Jensen to develop a site selection schedule which would identify a new location two years before the Wharf 8 term is expired - perhaps your agency will also seek this commitment.

Whether or not Wharf 8 is vacant at the end of Harborlights' term, SAND will vehemently oppose conversion of Wharf 8 into any permanent non-maritime use (i.e. hotel, retail, office). The resources available on Wharf 8 for maritime use may be critical to the long-term vitality of the City of Boston, and should not be developed to provide "water views" for short-term revenue generation.

Update Regarding Transportation

SAND members were encouraged by recent commitments made by Harborlights to increase public transportation and to discourage vehicular traffic near the MIP.

Mr. Jensen reported that Harborlights will provide free shuttle service for access to the venue, South Station and the Seaport Hotel. Parking will be available for a fee in the Seaport Hotel and EDIC garage. SAND is supportive of all of these accommodations made by the Harborlights organization.

Update Regarding Public Access

Harborlights is sited on public land and is often billed as a public or civic venue. In fact, however, a Boston resident may either not be able to afford an event, or at most attend a few concert evenings each season. This essentially restricts the "public-ness" of Harborlights on the majority of summer nights.

For this reason, SAND continues to stress the importance of the "public" and "civic" aspects of Harborlights. These include access to Harborwalk and occasional public uses of the facility during the concert season.

Access to the Harborwalk surrounding Wharf 8 as proposed is overly restrictive, especially considering that evening walks along this perimeter would not be permitted for more than half of the summer. SAND requested of Mr. Jensen that Harborlights provide alternative egress for its patrons and alternative security measures for concert talent, rather than closing Harborwalk to pedestrians.

The Harborlights organization has not substantiated a claim that the number of pedestrians on the Harborwalk, if added to the number of concertgoers, would exceed capacity limits for safe egress.

SAND requests a commitment to full-time, full-season public access to the Harborwalk. We do not support "flexible" guidelines for the Harborlights organization to determine the fate of Harborwalk. We would, however, consider a documented commitment to ensure unfettered public access with only few, extreme exceptions.

Update Regarding Civic Use

Harborlights must be required to produce a number of free, public events and a number of events for the benefit of the South Boston community. If Harborlights is to be considered a "civic" space by all Bostonians, then all Bostonians should be invited to share the space during a few evenings each summer.

Update Regarding Noise and Air Traffic

Jim Jensen demonstrated a number of measures that have been taken to protect the South Boston community from concert sounds and traffic noise. These include a more enclosed tent and appropriate management of sound levels.

Mr. Jensen has also stated that the Harborlights organization will not and can not request the FAA to make changes to flight patterns to accommodate the Harborlights schedule. SAND has requested that Harborlights regard community impacts of even minimal changes in flight patterns or times.

In summary, the Harborlights organization has recently enacted a number of positive measures to ensure a successful term on Wharf 8. We are confident that the Harborlights organization, working with your office, will be responsive to the needs of the impacted constituents surrounding the venue.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Steve Hollinger
On behalf of:
The Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND)
c/o FPAC, 300 Summer Street, Boston, MA, 02210, 617-423-4299
cc: SAND Membership