Pier 5 Project Main Focus of CNC Meeting

April 14, 2011
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With the Pier 5 RFP about to be put out to potential developers by the city – and at $10,000 for the RFP packet – which means only real players need apply, this development project will be the one to watch closely.

A lot is at stake for the potential developer, for the neighborhood in general and obviously for those in and around Pier 5.

Some petition work has already been done by some residents. Some perceive it as a cute move. Others believe the petitioner’s concerns are relevant.

Whatever. This project has come under the sharp purview of Congressman Mike Capuano, the Charlestown Neighborhood Council and the city of Boston.

An earlier meeting of the Neighborhood Council discussed the project.

The following re the notes on that meeting.

Future meetings are imminent. The Patriot-Bridge will be on hand for those meetings.

CNC Development Committee  Pier 5 report

Meeting Summary Notes:

The Pier 5 meeting was held as a joint meeting between the CNC, the Friends of the Navy Yard and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The meeting was intiated based on an indication from the BRA that an RFP would be issued for developers interested in purchasing and redeveloping the pier. The preliminary indication from the BRA was that the RFP would be relatively general in terms of requirements, uses, or terms. The stated goal of the meeting at the onset was to provide the community with an opportunity to hear the basic factual information regarding Pier 5 from the BRA and to provide an opportunity for the

community to have input into the RFP and BRA redevelopment process.

The BRA presented a basic history of the Pier to date and indicated that an RFP was being developed to be issued shortly, seeking any group interested in proposing a redevelopment project for the parcel. The BRA indicated that they would look most favorably on proposals which resulted in net income to the BRA, but would accept proposals which resulted in no net gain, or a cost to the BRA, including non-profit organizations with realistic proposals for redevelopment, as green space or other uses. It was indicated that the BRA would entertain and evaluate any realistic proposals received in response to the RFP.

A brief dialogue regarding the structure of the pier occurred, indicating that significant investment (millions of dollars) would be required for infrastructure improvements. It was noted that the existing physical components of the pier do not have to be preserved, but that rules exist regarding the area of pier that can be built. Any use, including greenspace, would require demolition and redevelopment of the physical pier given the very poor existing pier structural condition.

The areas of concern regardng redevelopment of the pier included:

1) Development denisty, height and volume. Concern was expressed regarding limiting the volume of development.

2) Traffic access to the site across the Harbor Walk. The BRA indicated that the walk would go around the edge of the pier and therefore not technically be crossed by vehicle traffic accessing the project.

3) Limitation of the conversation to residential uses. Concern was expressed that as such a critical site, that the BRA, as planning agency for the city, should look more broadly at uses and ideas for this location.

Concern was expressed that the conversation appeared to be limited to residential uses. It is worth noting that the concern regarding limiting traffic to the site is somewhat contradicted by a suggestion of nonresidential uses, as residential use historically represents the lowest traffic/access impact type.

4) Community Input. The community expressed an expectation that the community would be engaged in the process for reviewing the RFP prior to issuance and reviewing responses to the RFP prior to designation of a developer. Further, it was expressed that the community would expect any designated developer to engage the community extensively in the development process.

A potential follow-up meeting / design charette process was discussed. A request was made that the BRA provide staffing for a design charette work session to look at the potential opportunities for redevelopment of the pier.

The community specifically requested that the BRA delay the proposed issuance of the RFP (initially scheduled for end of November 2010) until additional opportunity for community engagement and input were scheduled.

Warren Green LLC Committee Report

Meeting Summary Notes:

Warren Green LLC, the developer tentatively designated by Mass DOT, presented development plans for the CANA Parcel 3 site. The developer submitted completed Development Summary Forms in advance of the meeting, and these are attached as part of this report.

The meeting was attended by approximately 30 residents, mostly from Park and other directly affected streets. The main focus of this first meeting was to review the basic development components including density, parking, site configuration, vehicle and pedestrian access and egress, and similar basic development design issues.

This project is subject to small project review at the City of Boston, with a MEPA review based on State ownership of the property. The developer indicated that they are currently going through the community review and permitting process, that a timeline has been suggested by MassDOT, and that they have the ability to ask for extensions as necessary to allow the community review and permitting process to proceed as required.

The main issues raised by the Council and abutters were as follows:

1. Union and local construction hiring. The developer confirmed that the project will be built union. The developer was advised that the CNC will expect to have a conversation regarding local (02129) hiring of construction work forces as an additional requirement under the Boston Jobs Policy.

2. Private open space for Public Use. The developer indicated that they will research and provide the documents developed at The Nautica relative to deed restrictions / covenants ensuring public access to the proposed open space, in perpetuity. Additionally, language will be provided for review relative to the condo association paying for upkeep and maintenance of the open space.

3. Vehicle access and egress. The site will be accessed and egressed from Warren Street, adjacent to the Tobin Bridge tunnel walls for all regular vehicle trips. Roll-over bollards or other physical barriers to standard vehicles will be placed to eliminate access and egress to the site by any vehicle other than emergency services (fire department).

4. On Street Parking loss. Concern was expressed regarding loss of on-street parking adjacent to the site due to curb cuts and fire hydrants. The developer indicated a potential for 3 to 5 spaces to be lost on the street for parking. No change of on-street parking designation (2 hour) was indicated.

5. Storm Water management. Strong concern was expressed regarding current storm water run-off from the site, the potential for ground water flooding of neighbors, and potential de-watering or sump pumpingrequired in the future development. Test borings indicated ground water at elevations below the proposed basements and foundations and no permanent sumping or ground water removal is anticipated. The site design includes an expectation of ground water recharge and delay discharge to the storm sewer system.

The engineering study for this is not yet completed. The developer indicated that all civil engineering, geotechnical, site boring, traffic, and similar reports or studies would be files at the Charlestown Library for public review.

6. Construction Impact. Concern was raised regarding construction impact, damage to abutting property, and insurance for abutters. The CNC advised the developer that they would be expected to participate in ongoing construction update meetings with the abutters, coordinate by the CNC Representative for the area (Judy Brennan). These meetingw would continue throughout construction and be modelled on the meetings currently occuring with Spaulding in the Navy Yard. Additionally, the developer was advised that the CNC would expect inspections and documentation of neighbor property in advance of constructon commencing and post-construction, for the developer’s and neighbor’s benefit.

7. Construction Mangement & Traffic Plans. The developer indicated that a traffic plan would be developed by Howard, Stein Hudson and provided to the community. The traffic plan would include a recommendation regarding right-turn-only exiting from the site. A Construction Management plan will also be required and provided by the developer prior to completion of the approval process.

8. Mitigation Funds. The developer presented a development package which in part referenced $40,000 of funds for “mitigation” or “neighborhood projects”. the developer was advised that the parcel is subject to the mitigation fund reimbursement process, similar to the balance of previously developed CANA parcels and a separate conversation would be conducted regarding the value of the mitigation funds and the dispersment of same.

In summary, the meeting was generally supportive of the development concept, with an expectation for additional detail and review in upcoming meetings.