Hood Park Listening, Community to Propose Its Own Zoning Amendment

After defeating a City-sponsored zoning amendment related to height limits at the Hood Park, many members of the community and Councilor Lydia Edwards are proposing to submit their own amendment.

Following the Zoning Commission’s rejection of the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s (BPDA) amendment on April 11, Edwards said she and some of those active in the process began to look at all of the options available.

That’s when they stumbled upon a little-known piece of Boston’s zoning regulations, a piece that indicated residents – not the BPDA – could submit their own amendments.

Edwards said that’s exactly what she intends to do if the BPDA doesn’t reach out to work with the community and her office.

“I want to be clear, we are not powerless, we can do more than oppose, we can and will propose our own zoning amendment on height restrictions and make our case to the Zoning Commission,” she said.

The rarely used section of the zoning code she is invoking allows for “any person who resides in Boston or owns property” to petition the Zoning Commission to adopt an amendment.

“I did my research,” she said. “I really want Charlestown to be leading and to be an example. I think it would be incredibly powerful for the community to submit an amendment. I can’t think of a more powerful example of community led development. But for now, let’s see if we can’t work this out.”

Councilor Edwards said she has already reached out to the BPDA to work together in a real community process to examine the height restrictions at Hood Park.

At Hood Park, Mark Rosenshein,                                                of Trademark Partners LLC, said they will continue to listen and respond to the community.

“The owners of Hood Park will continue to listen to and respond to the community concerns about future height at the park while at the same time balancing the needs of tenants and residents,” he said. “We have always indicated that we want to have an open dialogue about potential height at Hood Park, but currently are unable to do so because of the zoning cap. We look forward to continuing to work with the Zoning Commission and Boston Planning and Development Agency to further this conversation.”

The BPDA amendment proposed to the Zoning Commission on April 11 would have eliminated the 115-foot height limit in the Hood Park development area. Lifting it would have allowed the company to propose to the community taller buildings. Rosenshein had previously said they would like to have the flexibility to propose taller buildings in the future, perhaps as high as 300 feet. No such building, though, has been proposed at the moment.

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