Coletta Offers Working Session To Discuss City-Wide Planning Process for Boston’s Waterfront

Boston City Councilor Gabriela Coletta will hold a working session to discuss a comprehensive city-wide planning process for Boston’s waterfront on Tuesday, September 19, at 2pm in the Piemonte Room, Fifth Floor of Boston City Hall. 

“As Boston continues to see the growing effects of climate change and disproportionate impacts citywide, immediate action is needed to address our vulnerability and strengthen our coastal resilience.District 1 faces unique pressure as a coastal district, with our neighborhoods being hit first and worst,” said Councilor Coletta. “The time to find solutions that protect our waterfront from existential coastal flooding is now. I look forward to the upcoming conversation with colleagues and advocates to explore coordination, collaboration and public investments for coastal protection.” 

Last September, Councilor Coletta held a hearing to discuss a comprehensive city-wide planning process for Boston’s waterfront. During the hearing, Councilor Coletta and advocates emphasized the urgent need to protect the city’s waterfront for climate change’s immediate and long-term effects and work on a holistic approach rather than parcel-by-parcel.

Those invited include: 

• Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open-Space for the City of Boston

• Aimee Chambers, Director of Planning for the Boston Planning and Development Agency

• Christopher Osgood, Senior Advisor on Infrastructure for the City of Boston

• Jill Valdes Horwood, Director of Boston Waterfront Initiatives at the Barr Foundation

Highlights of the Order Include:

“WHEREAS, District One faces unique challenges as East Boston, Charlestown, and the North End are coastal communities bearing a significant burden of intentional and generational environmental injustices; and

WHEREAS, Boston’s waterfront is a historic and treasured resource that is protected for all residents by the Public Waterfront Act (Chapter 91). As we prepare for sea-level rise due to climate change, we must prioritize waterfront planning and development that incorporates resilience, equity, accessibility; and

WHEREAS, According to a report from the First Street Foundation, Suffolk County faces the greatest risk of flooding with more than 45% of our critical infrastructure at risk, including hospitals, police, and fire stations. This is expected to increase by 20% by 2051; and

WHEREAS, Coastal flooding due to storm surge has increased on a more frequent basis and affects property owners and tenants alike. Severe flooding will result in the displacement of thousands, predominantly those who are low-income and people of color, renters in basement or first-floor level units within the flood zone; and

WHEREAS, Boston has a significant role to play to protect our waterfront without depending on investments from private entities or developers. Taking a parcel-by-parcel approach to fortifying our coastline will not adequately address the urgent threat of coastal flooding. We must be able to meet the sea, on a district-wide scale, use both passive and active permeable landscapes;” 

The working session will be held under the Committee on Planning Development and Transportation, chaired by Councilor Frank Baker. This working session will not include a public comment period although folks are encouraged to attend.

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