News & Updates

BPDA announces more than 105 community engagement events one-year into PLAN: Mattapan process

Nov 12, 2019

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) will mark the one-year anniversary of PLAN: Mattapan on Wednesday, November 13 at 6:00 p.m. at the KIPP Academy in Mattapan. The anniversary meeting will build on more than 105 community engagement events that the BPDA’s planning staff have facilitated and participated in since the planning study launched last fall.  Guided by Imagine Boston 2030, the first city-wide plan in over fifty years, PLAN: Mattapan’s goal is to create a comprehensive vision to shape inclusive growth and investment throughout the neighborhood.

“PLAN: Mattapan is one example of how under the leadership of Mayor Walsh, we are executing the goals outlined in Imagine Boston 2030,” said Brian Golden, Director of the Boston Planning & Development Agency. “At the core of this plan, and all of the planning studies underway across the City, is community engagement. We are appreciative of the hundreds of residents that have participated thus far and encourage those who are interested to become involved in shaping the future of your neighborhood.”

PLAN: Mattapan works closely with the community to create a shared vision to guide inclusive economic growth that will create housing at a variety of income-levels and increase access to opportunities and jobs, while preserving the neighborhood’s character. In addition to planners, the PLAN: Mattapan team includes a community engagement manager, Kenya Beaman, who focuses on building relationships and reaching out to new voices in the community.

Over the past year, these engagement opportunities have included:

  • 55 Neighborhood Association Meetings attended by BPDA staff to update residents on the ongoing planning process.
  • 15 Chat with a Planners, including a Popsicles with a Planner series, facilitated by BPDA staff. This series provides residents of all ages with an informal setting to ask questions and provide feedback on the planning study.
  • 12 Neighborhood Events attended by BPDA staff, including an informational booth at the Mattapan Farmers Market and Mattapan Jazz Festival, and a visit to the Mattapan Teen Center.
  • 10+ One-on-One Meetings between BPDA staff and residents.
  • 7 PLAN: Mattapan Workshops facilitated by BPDA staff where residents participated in interactive activities related to housing, workforce development, transportation, arts & culture, and open space.
  • 6 Neighborhood Walk Alongs led by BPDA staff around specific areas of the neighborhood, including River Street, Edgewater Drive, Blue Hill Avenue and Cummins Highway. Each walk-along provided residents with an opportunity to share their experiences of the neighborhood and to continue focused dialogue with residents about priorities that will shape PLAN: Mattapan.
  • 1 Haitian Community Conversation and Update conducted entirely in Haitian Creole. This meeting provided Mattapan’s Haitian community, the third largest in the country, with a unique opportunity to engage with the planning process.

“It is essential in any planning process that the voices and ideas of residents are included and incorporated at every stage. It has been encouraging to see the PLAN: Mattapan team using multiple strategies for community engagement from civic meetings, to pop-ups, to Haitian-specific outreach to attempt to capture all the voices of Mattapan; a neighborhood where residents' voices have often been unheard,” said City Council President Andrea Campbell.

“I believe a neighborhood plan should reflect all voices in its community. With over 100 PLAN: Mattapan events, the BPDA has been intentional about bringing everyone into the conversation - especially our immigrant community,” said Representative Russell Holmes. “By providing translated materials, interpretation services and hosting a meeting entirely in Haitian Creole, they have ensured that all Mattapan residents can help shape the future of our neighborhood.”

Neighborhood residents and stakeholders are encouraged to attend the one-year anniversary meeting on Wednesday, November 13, from 6:00 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. at the KIPP Academy at 37 Babson Street in Mattapan. The meeting will update the community on the work to-date and discuss a roadmap for the future of the planning study. The PLAN: Mattapan team will also provide the community with an existing neighborhood conditions summary, detailing data about people and place. Consistent with all previous PLAN: Mattapan public meetings, interpretation services and translated materials will be available in Haitian Creole and Spanish.

PLAN: Mattapan builds on the comprehensive community planning that has taken place under Mayor Walsh. Each strategic planning effort is guided by Imagine Boston 2030. Imagine Boston 2030 prioritizes inclusionary growth and puts forth a comprehensive vision to boost quality of life, equity and resilience in every neighborhood across the City. To achieve this vision, Imagine Boston identifies places for growth and enhancement that will help the city achieve its goals of becoming more equitable, improving the quality of life, and preparing for climate change.

Ongoing Planning Initiatives

PLAN: Glover’s Corner

Over the past two years, the BPDA has facilitated a comprehensive, robust planning process with over 40 public meetings looking at PLAN: Glover's Corner. Based on feedback from the community, draft guidelines have been released, which will:

  • Maintain housing for a range of incomes, with a high proportion of income-restricted housing.
  • Promote the establishment of a new mixed-use district between Freeport Street and the MBTA Red Line tracks.
  • Create an active, people-centric district by improving the street grid to provide capacity for inclusive growth.
  • Plan for a climate-resilient neighborhood with quality open space.
  • Support local businesses, preserve and grow quality jobs. 
  • Support the cultural diversity of the neighborhood.

BPDA staff is currently incorporating the feedback received from the community on the draft guidelines into a Draft Plan Document in anticipation of releasing the Document later this fall. Once released, the public will be able to review and provide feedback.

PLAN: East Boston

One year into the planning process, PLAN: East Boston is shifting focus from neighborhood-wide topics to specific types of areas within the neighborhood such as residential, mixed-use corridors and waterfront industrial areas. The BPDA has put into place an East Boston Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD), an interim zoning tool that is used to maintain increased public review and community voice in the evaluation of proposed new development during a planning process. On Thursday, November 21 from 6:30-8:00 PM, BPDA staff will host PLAN: East Boston Waterfront Industrial & Economic Development Areas to better understand the neighborhood’s priorities in these areas. All meetings include interpretation and translated materials for Spanish speaking residents.

PLAN: Downtown

A Downtown planning study was identified in Imagine Boston 2030 and through the community process for the 115 Winthrop Square project. The primary goal of PLAN: Downtown is to develop a new framework for the preservation, enhancement, and growth of Downtown Boston. With public engagement kicked off in late 2018, the planning study is looking at the Financial District, Downtown Crossing, Midtown Cultural District and Chinatown. On Wednesday, November 20, from 6:00-8:00 PM, BPDA staff will host the seventh PLAN: Downtown Advisory Group Meeting focused on development scenarios. All meetings include interpretation upon request and translated materials in simplified Chinese.

PLAN: Newmarket, The 21st Century Economic Initiative

As identified in Imagine Boston 2030, this comprehensive plan highlights Newmarket, located on the Fairmont line, as a place for potential preservation of critical industrial uses, increasing job density and strengthening connections to Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods.  Community engagement for PLAN: Newmarket, The 21st Century Economic Initiative began in June and continues into the fall with a Chat with a Planner series. The plan will work closely with local stakeholders to develop a vision for the area as a jobs center for the 21st Century economy. With land use as its primary focus, the initiative will also consider public realm, mobility, arts and culture, climate resilience, public health, and open space contributions to a successful future jobs center.

Western Avenue Corridor Study & Rezoning - Allston-Brighton

The Western Avenue Corridor Study & Rezoning initiative is addressing the increasing development pressure along Western Avenue by engaging local stakeholders and community members to inform recommendations for new or modified zoning. The study also considers public realm improvements in the area. This effort will work in conjunction with the ongoing Allston-Brighton Mobility Study to explore transportation enhancements to serve this growing corridor. The community engagement process for this initiative began earlier this fall and has included interactive workshops and a walking tour and bicycle tour of the study area.

PLAN: Charlestown

PLAN: Charlestown, the planning effort along Rutherford Avenue will focus on the publicly-owned parcels along the corridor, leading a robust community discussion about their future use. The strategic plan will aim to preserve the historic residential core of existing Charlestown by focusing new growth on underutilized properties along the Rutherford Ave Corridor. The formal public process for this effort is expected to begin in early 2020. BPDA staff has begun engaging local stakeholders, including community members, in order to develop a better sense of what the strategic plan will need to cover.

Planning guidelines have been passed for PLAN: JP/Rox, PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avenue, and PLAN: Dudley Square.

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