With the chairmanship in her possession of a powerful Council committee, Councilor Lydia Edwards has quickly advanced her Home Rule Petition in that committee, a petition that calls for sweeping reforms to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).
Edwards announced that the hearing will take place in her Government Operations Committee on Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. in the Iannella Chamber. The Home Rule had been presented to Council in January and referred to Committee at the end of that month. The reforms come after Edwards and other councilors battled with the administration and the ZBA on appointments and reforms to the Board – which was embroiled in controversy through 2019 over a bribery scandal and a questionable marijuana dispensary approval in East Boston
Any Home Rule Petition voted out of the Committee would have to be approved by the full City Council, and then sent to the State House for approval of the State Legislature.
Some of the key changes would be appointing many more people who would serve as needed in a pool form; establishing a report of variances by neighborhood and zoning district; prohibiting real estate professionals and architects on the ZBA from practicing in Boston; and having a five year “cooling off” period for people who leave the ZBA, keeping them from working in the City until those five years have expired.