All major Boston development is threatened by Chapter 91.

Chapter 91 is “the Commonwealth’s primary tool for protection and promotion of public use of its tidelands and other waterways.”

The problem is, not only does the regulation protect tidelands, it protects land within 1,000 feet of tidelands (that’s three football fields).

So, basically, any land in downtown Boston is subject to this regulation. It requires an extensive review of the project over and above what is usually required.

The trouble is, anti-development forces can use the regulation to delay construction, to the point that it is easier for the developers to cancel their plans than go through the process.

Currently, at least two major development projects are being delayed by the regulation. Avenir Boston, near North Station, is now subject to the extensive review, as is NorthPoint, the $1 billion mixed-use condo project under construction in East Cambridge.

In the Globe today, you can see, those challenging developers have no interest in protecting wetlands, they’re simply trying to get as much money or benefits as they can from them, and/or want to stop the projects, completely.

The Cambridge opponents want NorthPoint developers to provide more public amenities. They are looking for an improved park and better drainage of an area in NorthPoint that was formerly the Millers River and is now filled in. They also would like to see compensation to the public for the elimination of the river, so the land could be used as a railroad yard.

This is definitely a case where the interests of the few (or one) outweigh the (best) interests of the many (or all).

Read on: Bill may stall Bullfinch Triangle project – By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., The Boston Globe

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Updated: 1st Q 2018

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