To the Editor,
On behalf of The Boston Area Steampunk Gatherings group, I wish to thank everyone at Blackmoor for the hospitality that you have extended towards us. We hope to spend many more Saturday evenings with you as our monthly meetups continue to grow. Your generosity has been much appreciated, and we highly recommend you to all of our friends!
Scott Silva and group members
Charlestown Neighborhood Council Votes to Oppose Plan Charlestown
To the Editor,
I want to extend my appreciation to the Charlestown Neighborhood Council for voting unanimously to write a letter to Oppose Plan Charlestown to Mayor Wu, elected officials, the BPDA and related stakeholders to stop overdevelopment in Charlestown. It is past time to protect the Charlestown community of 20,000 people who live on One Square Mile, surrounded by water, built on filled wetlands, with known flood zones, with only three exits.
At the monthly CNC meeting, I asked the Charlestown Neighborhood Council to endorse Charlestown Preservation Society’s recent change of position from support of the BPDA PLAN Charlestown to their call for community opposition of the plan. The community supports a Charlestown Comprehensive Master Plan Petition and has submitted to Mayor Wu and the BPDA over 4000+ signatures. We are requesting Mayor Wu endorse, support, and ensure Charlestown has a Comprehensive Master Plan, for all of Charlestown, to protect Charlestown’s historic character, environment, and our vibrant community.
PLAN Charlestown offers no solutions for the need for improved infrastructure, transportation, and services to accommodate a doubling of the Charlestown population. Our health is negatively impacted by the increased pollution, traffic, and congestion due to being surrounded by many roads leading into Boston.
Our town is losing vital open and greenspace which protects our community from the expanding heat island effect caused by these massive buildings with millions of square feet of impermeable surfaces, with the related destruction of our tree canopy and reduction of open space.
CNC President Tom Cunha chaired a robust discussion by the CNC members about the community concerns with the BPDA Plan Charlestown. CNC members highlighted the need for public hearings, not ZOOM meetings where the following occurs: The CHAT feature is shut off; residents comments are limited in time; residents are not listened to by the BPDA; and community concerns are not addressed. Members also commented about climate change with rising temperatures and the heat island effect negatively impacting public health and well being; transportation and traffic; and the massive buildings creating stormwater run off flood risks.
A Motion was unanimously voted for the CNC to write a strong letter to Mayor Wu to Oppose PLAN Charlestown, and to express the Charlestown residents displeasure with both the process and outcome.
Now is the time to act.
Thank you to the CNC for voting to support and protect our community.
Residents, please help, and email Mayor Wu at [email protected] and sign our petition bit.ly/3e7Cu3J to Oppose Plan Charlestown and overdevelopment of this historic town, a place that we call “home.”
Charlestown Civic Association
Readers Strongly Opposed to the Most Recent Version of plan
To the Editor,
We are writing to you in response the recent letter in the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge regarding the changes to PLAN Charlestown. We are both strongly opposed to the most recent version of this plan.
Donna and I have lived in Charlestown for 10 years and our daughter and family for 15 years. We moved here for the sense of community, diversity, history, small locally-owned businesses, and access to the greater Boston area.
By allowing building square footage to increase by 25%, allowing building heights to double and triple, allowing the demolition of historic buildings, and failure to plan for the necessary infrastructure does nothing for the community. It will only create more traffic and congestion (try to get through Sullivan Square anytime during the day), increase parking woes, reduce sunlight, change the historic character of the area, diminish views, and reduce the livability of the area for all residents.
In my businesses, aspirational goals were vital as part of the initial conceptual process, brainstorming and gathering varied ideas. From there we developed clear plans blending our business needs with the existing building and zoning codes as well as the needs of the greater community. When “aspirational goals” are used in the later stages of planning, unplanned and unwanted outcomes result. This essentially gives the developers permission to do whatever they envision, with no consideration to the larger community. The only goals that will prevail are those of the developers. They will be the only beneficiaries.
Having been involved in both distribution and commercial real estate throughout a lengthy career, we do understand business and business owners’ need and desire to profit. Giving developers and businesses approvals that exceed the original plans and stretch or exceed the zoning codes only enriches the developers. It does nothing for Charlestown as a community and historic area, nothing for the residents, and nothing for the livability of the area.
We both ask that you stop this new version and return to the original plans. Reduce the square footage, reduce the building heights, preserve the historic building, and respect our community.
Robert S. McKittrick
Donna T. McKittrick
In Person Meeting is Necessary
To the Editor,
On September 5, 2023, the Charlestown Community Council voted unanimously at their general meeting to object to the approval of the draft PLAN and the related zoning code changes before in-person community meetings are held in Charlestown. Our objection letter is available on our website: cnc02129.org
The council calls on the Mayor and the BPDA to create a community centered, transparent approval and close-out process by: attending community meetings in-person, in Charlestown where our neighbors can hear, see, and interact directly with the Mayor, BPDA Chief Jemison, their respective staffs, our elected officials and each other; revising the draft Plan approval schedule to a more realistic time frame that allows for meaningful community engagement; and providing thoughtful, transparent, and data driven answers to the community’s questions, especially concerning the origins of the unexpected building height increases along Medford St. and at the Bunker Hill Mall and how the draft Plan’s proposed growth will be supported.
The council believes that in-person community meetings are necessary given the significant, unilateral changes made by the BPDA in the draft Plan published on July 28, 2023 – which were never presented to the community, and which also violate the guiding principles of the Plan as communicated to the community by the BPDA over the course of countless meetings. The September 6th revised draft Plan and the September 11th close-out meeting hosted on Zoom by the BPDA did not allay our concerns regarding these issues. The council is offering to host one of the community meetings to provide a neutral forum that is not controlled by the proponents of the draft Plan and where all residents may speak.
The council has not been made aware of any circumstances requiring the immediate approval of the draft Plan and related zoning changes. Community members who volunteered any amount of their time, expertise, or community knowledge to the years-long Plan: Charlestown process and the entire neighborhood, deserve far better treatment from the administration and the BPDA than what we have seen in the BPDA’s hasty closeout and approval process.
We invite the residents of Charlestown join us in asking Mayor Wu and BPDA Chief Jemison to extend the PLAN: Charlestown comment period until in-person community meetings are held in Charlestown and significant open questions about the Plan are addressed. Be sure to copy the individuals listed below on your emails. Thank you for engaging in Charlestown’s future.
Mayor Wu: [email protected]
BPDA Chief: [email protected]
District 1 City Councilor: [email protected]
BPDA Community Engagement Manager [email protected]
ONS Charlestown Liaison [email protected]