News & Updates

Planners, community tackle zoning updates in South Boston

Mar 08, 2016

UPDATE: Please see the map and text amendments for the South Boston Rezoning Initiative which passed at the October 20, 2016 BPDA Board Meeting.

An effort to update South Boston’s zoning kicked off on February 29, 2016 when the Boston Redevelopment Authority sponsored a community meeting, attended by approximately 100 people.

The main goal of the South Boston Rezoning Initiative is to fix shortcomings that currently exist within the neighborhood’s zoning code. In order to accomplish this, the BRA will work with the community, elected officials, businesses, and other neighborhood stakeholders to come up with new dimensional regulations regarding building height, density, setbacks, and so on, that are in tune with the historical character of the neighborhood.

South Boston’s zoning dates back over 50 years to the creation of Boston’s first zoning code. The current regulations are restrictive to the point that they cause homes that have historically been considered appropriate for the neighborhood (i.e., triple-deckers, multifamily, and in some cases even single-family homes) to instead be deemed unacceptable today. Through a community process, updated zoning will make these historically acceptable types of housing feasible again while also protecting against overdevelopment.

The South Boston Rezoning Initiative is primarily an opportunity to fix outdated dimensional regulations. This initiative will complement another BRA effort known as PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avenue, which has been underway since July 2015. PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avenue is a comprehensive planning effort. It will create a vision with the community that establishes guidelines for a comprehensive plan that will inform new zoning for future development.

These two major planning initiatives have, and will continue to, inform one another. For example, something that has been articulated quite clearly from the community and its respective civic associations is an overarching desire to control the amount of large scale development in the traditional residential areas of South Boston. The BRA’s robust planning and rezoning efforts within the neighborhood will result in new zoning for most of South Boston, not including the South Boston Waterfront, by late summer 2016.

Keep an eye out for upcoming community meetings and workshops, for each of the initiatives, on our events calendar.

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