By Seth Daniel
The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) announced on Wednesday that it will grant the 90-day moratorium on Development Review of the One Charlestown project, a request made by the project’s Impact Advisory Group (IAG) last month and supported by a wide-swath of the Town.
A spokesperson for the BPDA said they will grant a delay, but that they plan to continue sorting through the many comment letters that came in before the Nov. 23 cutoff. However, the review will be delayed and there will likely be no public meetings until April 2017.
“The BPDA is granting the One Charlestown Impact Advisory Committee a 90-day delay regarding further public review of the One Charlestown Redevelopment Plan, which will last from January 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017,” wrote Spokesperson Bonnie McGilpin in a statement. “The IAG and the BPDA plan to resume public meetings and discussions regarding the project in April 2017 in order to continue open review and to ensure that the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s review of the project continues on a timely and responsible basis.”
Members of the IAG almost unanimously said the announcement took a lot of pressure off of them and off of the community. The redevelopment project of the Bunker Hill Housing development is the largest building project in the history of the Town, and the greater community only began reviewing the project in October.
“I am glad to hear that news,” said IAG member Billy Kelly, who hand-delivered the request letter to Mayor Martin Walsh in November. “This gives us all a chance to take a deep breath and say, ‘Ok, what’s happening here.’ This was all happening pretty fast. We want to work with Corcoran. We just need some time.”
In a statement earlier this week, One Charlestown said it is committed to working with residents and won’t be looking for any final approvals for many months.
“One Charlestown is committed to working with the residents of the Charlestown community,” read the statement. “We are currently undergoing a very extensive process of public input and review. The feedback we get in early 2017 from the BPDA will guide the development team in updating the proposal for One Charlestown. Following that a draft response will be issued by the development team and the Boston Housing Authority. Altogether this process will encompass several months before any final determinations are made. “
While residents of Bunker Hill have been involved in an internal planning process with designated developer Corcoran/SunCal for more than a year, the greater community only started getting details about the redevelopment in October.
The first IAG meeting – which was the first public meeting for the community on the project – took place in mid-October.
Many in the Town have expressed being overwhelmed with the size and scope of the project, which seeks to replace 1,110 public housing units and add more than 2,000 market rate units in a brand new 13-block neighborhood. All of the current public housing buildings would be demolished and a new buildings would be constructed. There would be a total of 3,120 new units constructed with two new public parks and several internal open space – with all of the parking being underground.