Hearing Regarding the Coordination of Construction and Utility Permits Held

Boston City Councilor Gabriela Coletta and City Council President Ed Flynn held a hearing on Tuesday, April 19 regarding the coordination of construction and utility permits in compliance with minimal impact to residential life last Wednesday.

 “I have heard from many residents about the need for better coordination, maintenance of sites, and notification of neighborhood street work. Holding this hearing with Council President Flynn was vital as our city grows. We have dense neighborhoods with a lot of activity that requires street digging and the temporary loss of parking spaces. There is road work taking place at the same time within a 100 ft radius due to a lack of coordination,” said Councilor Gabriela Coletta. “There is more work ahead; these things affect residents’ lives every day. I look forward to continuing the conversation with utility companies and looking at how we, as a City, can invest in resources to modernize the permitting system and ensure that residents are informed about what is happening in our neighborhoods. ” 

Councilor Coletta and Councilor President Flynn put forward the hearing given the frequency in how neighborhood streets get closed down, trapping residents due to multiple utility companies conducting work within a 100 ft radius due to lack of coordination.  

“One of the top constituent issues my office receives is about the coordination of construction and utility permits in the neighborhood. With the growth of development projects and the frequent utility maintenance and build outs across the City, it is important that we work together with the construction and utility companies to improve neighborhood outreach and coordination so that residents can have ample time to plan ahead and around these work.” said Council President Flynn. “Often, residents are finding out about these projects as they are going about their day which can be very disruptive to their quality of life.”

Representatives from the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, National Grid, Inspectional Services Department, and Boston Transportation Department were present to share the permitting process and community outreach process. During the hearing, Councilors could ask questions and gather information to fully understand the internal machinations of interdepartmental approvals for street occupancy, excavation permits, permit approving system, how COBUCS works, and the potential to modernize the system.

The Councilors look forward to continuing the conversation with more hearings to be scheduled and with utility companies and residents to ensure that street work permits are coordinated and residents’ quality of life is minimally interrupted.

Highlights of the Order Include:

“WHEREAS: Both residential construction work and public utility work can have a significant impact on residents’ quality of life; and

WHEREAS: These quality of life impacts are multiplied if there are numerous projects happening in a small geographic area; and

WHEREAS: As more development projects are approved and begin construction, there are increasing examples of both utility and construction permits being issued sometimes on same residential block;

WHEREAS: This leads to negative impacts to the overall quality of life for residents due to a lack of parking availability and detour delays, especially if they haven’t received adequate notice; and

WHEREAS: The Boston Transportation Department and the Department of Public Works issue the permits necessary for these projects and could issue them in such a way that would minimize quality of life issues and overlap of projects;”

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