City Councilor Lydia Edwards and organizers of the 02129 Neighborhood Alliance are calling for initial support this week to the City’s announcement of a comprehensive, neighborhood-driven Master Plan – going along with the stated support of Rep. Dan Ryan last week.
The Alliance leaders, Amanda Zettel and Julie Hall, conducted a meeting with Mayor Martin Walsh and senior staff at the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) on July 22, along with Edwards and Rep. Ryan, to hash out the details and relay the support for a planning process in Charlestown.
While there might have been some disagreement about the semantics of calling it a Master Plan, the overall concept seems to have support, Edwards said.
“First, the goal is to have a community driven comprehensive plan for Charlestown that respects the core, understands the need for renovation and growth, and looks for opportunity to zone to current needs and desires of the Charlestown community, for example a laundromat, post office, or grocery stores,” she said. “Overall, we need a process that not only involves but is led by everyday Charlestown residents and the BPDA has committed to meeting them in coffee shops, at the T, at bus stops and at other gathering spaces… I know that the details may change but I do hope the overall theme is common narrative we can adopt.”
However, Edwards also said she believes that the BPDA needs to rope in other City agencies like Boston Public Schools and the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) to make sure the planning process addresses the ancillary needs of the community that comes with further development.
“There are several facets of the plan and overall vision that require other city departments to listen, to learn and to demonstrate how their plans complement this overall vision,” she said. “For example, Boston Public Schools needs to account for the redevelopment of Bunker Hill housing and the growth of our child population and how both are planned for in BuildBPS.”
That, as well as traffic issues within the BTD – such as the construction on the North Washington Street Bridge, need to be included in any planning process for Charlestown.
Both Zettel and Hall issued a letter late last week to their membership indicating that the battle has been won even if the BPDA is hesitant to call it a Master Plan. They said the momentum of the people of Charlestown in calling for the planning process will push the City to produce what the community wants.
“Whether this process is called a ‘Master Plan’ or not should not be the issue,” they wrote. “The take away here should be that we the people of Charlestown have come together and demonstrated our collective strength and unified voice to collaborate with and proactively work with the Mayor and the BPDA. We will all continue to be positive and collaborative, looking for the best in each other, assuming positive intent, knowing that we all have Charlestown’s best interest in mind.”