News & Updates

State approves six year extension of Boston’s urban renewal plans

Aug 08, 2016

After more than a year and a half of robust public engagement and vetting at the state and local and levels, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) received approval from the Commonwealth’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) last week for a six-year extension of the agency’s urban renewal powers, a set of crucial tools for planning and economic development purposes. The state’s affirmative decision represents the final hurdle in the approval process, following a similar vote by the Boston City Council that occurred at the end of March.
In a letter transmitted to the BRA on Wednesday, August 3, Undersecretary for DHCD Chrystal Kornegay writes, “After considering both the oral and written comments received, and the documentation submitted by the BRA, DHCD has determined that the proposed [urban renewal] plan amendments…will be approved” following certain conditions.  Those conditions are reflective of the two-year action plan that the BRA discussed implementing with both the City Council and DHCD to address concerns related to the oversight of urban renewal.
Over the next two years, the BRA will catalog all Land Disposition Agreements within the 14 urban renewal plan areas that are being extended, a process that, for the first time, will allow the agency to have a comprehensive grasp of the agreements governing properties in those areas. Alongside this process, the BRA will document in a digital database all of its land holdings (both vacant and occupied) across the city. These efforts are already underway, and senior staff from the BRA will present an update on their progress to the City Council in the fall.
The cataloging of Land Disposition Agreements and BRA owned land will help inform a future analysis that could lead to modifying the boundaries of urban renewal plan areas to better suit current conditions, as the boundaries have remained unchanged since the inception of the plans decades ago.
As a continued resource for updates and information for the public, the BRA will maintain the website it created for urban renewal at the outset of the public engagement process in December 2014.
To read the full text of DHCD’s letter, please click here.

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