News & Updates

Mayor Walsh, BPDA announce South Boston IPOD extension

Feb 20, 2018

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Planning & Development Agency today recommended a one-year extension of the South Boston Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD), a tool that is being used to balance the demand for new growth while maintaining the character of the neighborhood.

“We launched the South Boston Rezoning Initiative as a result of the South Boston community’s desire to ensure that future development fits within the fabric of the neighborhood,” said Mayor Walsh.  “The extension of the IPOD will give us another tool to measure if the zoning is working the way it is intended to.

After a comprehensive public process that began in 2015, last year the BPDA recommended dimensional changes to the South Boston zoning code to align the code with the existing buildings in the neighborhood.  Shortly after these changes were adopted, the BPDA instituted an IPOD to maintain an opportunity to measure proposed projects against their immediate surroundings and to examine how they would fit within the neighborhood context. An IPOD is a temporary measure when reviewing zoning for potential changes. The combination of these two zoning changes has yielded effective results. Projects that are consistent with the recommended dimensional changes and fit within their immediate surroundings have progressed, while the IPOD has provided a mechanism to identify projects that need adjustments to better fit within the properties around them. 

The community of South Boston has seen significant investment in recent years. The planning department at the BPDA has, and continues to utilize significant resources in order to deliver a neighborhood-wide plan that respects the community character of the neighborhood.

“The zoning changes made to the code were guided by the average building dimensions in Southie, which, through the community process, we determined to be appropriate scale for future housing,” said Mark McGonagle of the BPDA, who facilitated the neighborhood zoning dialogue. “However we have heard from the neighborhood that this scale may not be appropriate in all cases. The extension of the IPOD is an effective way to continue to examine these issues as they arise.”

“As both Chief of Staff for the Mayor’s Civic Engagement Cabinet and a lifelong resident of South Boston, I am pleased with the level of engagement both the BPDA and our office has tried to provide when it came to the community process,” said Edward McGuire. “I know Mayor Walsh and the BPDA will continue to make smart growth and community engagement a priority in South Boston.”

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