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Maybe time to start writing that BPDA obit

Mayor Wu is asking the City Council to begin deliberating the end of an independent BPDA - which she wants to subsume into a new Boston Planning Department completely under the control of the mayor and the city council - and with a new emphasis on urban planning and affordable housing.

In a proposed ordinance filed by Wu with the council today, she calls for a new planning department with teams dedicated to full-time "zoning compliance and comprehensive planning" separate from the overview of large development projects that is now the major focus of the BPDA. She adds that a home-rule petition now in the legislature would get the BPDA out of its historic role of urban renewal - its independent ability to declare whole swaths of the city as "blighted" and then try to remake them - letting it focus more on overall city needs, such as affordable housing.

The council will consider the measure at its regular Wednesday meeting - most likely by sending the measure to a council committee for a public hearing and further study.

Wu says the new department would also work to make development in Boston more predictable and transparent, by incorporating suggestions from a committee now looking at the process used to oversee larger development projects, known as Article 80. The current BPDA board would be renamed the Boston Planning Board and would continue to oversee such large projects.

The Zoning Board of Appeal, created by a separate state law, would continue to rule on smaller projects and some Article 80 projects - but using new zoning codes developed by the planning department, in part through the ongoing Squares and Streets effort aimed at re-doing zoning for city business districts.

Wu's measure would also create a planning advisory council of the heads of departments that might have a role in shaping the "built urban environment" - from Streets to Arts and Culture and Housing - to create a City Hall-wide emphasis on improving the city.

The mayor's proposal would also end the BPDA's current independent budget. The proposal includes ways to let BPDA employees covered by a separate retirement-fund system retain that if they don't wish to migrate their money into the city system.
Wu says

PDF icon Complete proposal filed with council276.63 KB


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The modern role of the BPDA is regulatory capture of a sort ... but why were they originally formed as separate from the elected governance?

Is this an anti corruption thing that became corrupted?

Voting closed 2


Boston was an economic backwater, think post Kodak Rochester with dirty salt water.

Much to be criticized but also brought us much of what we have today.

A primary concern is that people don't seem to realize it would be easy to slide back there.

If I had a dollar for each time I have heard of its obit, I'd have enough for a Dunk's latte.

Voting closed 4