News & Updates

BPDA Covid-19 Response

Jun 19, 2020

When Mayor Walsh declared a public health emergency in mid-March, the BPDA paused the public review process for all development projects and planning initiatives. The BPDA has postponed all BPDA-hosted in-person public meetings regarding Article 80 development projects and planning studies until further notice.

As the BPDA’s response to Covid-19 continues to evolve, please check this page or follow us @bostonplans on Twitter for updated guidance. For more information on the City of Boston’s response to Covid-19, please check this page.

Will the BPDA be holding virtual public meetings?

After months of work by an interagency working group and with support from local community groups and elected officials, the BPDA will launch a pilot program to resume public meetings virtually for Article 80 development projects and planning initiatives later this month. The interagency working group consisted of City and BPDA employees across departments, and met regularly to develop best practices and test appropriate digital tools to host wide-ranging, engaging, and inclusive conversations with communities.

The BPDA will pilot a series of virtual public meetings via Zoom, all of which will include ways to participate via phone. There will also be an opportunity for public feedback and discussion, and community members are welcome to reach out to BPDA staff directly as well. Learning and feedback from the pilot will inform public engagement strategies during the pandemic and beyond.

Since April, the BPDA has successfully tested public participation through online platforms for monthly Board Meetings, Boston Civic Design Commission meetings, and Zoning Commission hearings, as well as weekly All Staff meetings with over 200 participants. Earlier this month, the BPDA also started hosting Chat with a Planner virtual conversations for PLAN: Mattapan and PLAN: Newmarket.

Resuming public engagement that is broadly accessible and equitable is critical in order to unlock the economic benefits of development, fuel Boston’s economic recovery post COVID-19, and facilitate community conversations about how our neighborhoods will evolve post-COVID.

The first virtual public meetings will be announced in the coming days, and will be posted here.

Will the BPDA Board meet as scheduled?

The BPDA held the April, May and June BPDA Board meetings remotely to ensure the safety of the public, BPDA staff, and Board Members. Items taken to the Board during these months did not require, or had already completed their public process. Please check this page for guidance on upcoming BPDA Board Meetings.

Are comment periods being extended?

Open comment periods will be extended until the public review process for Article 80 development projects resumes.

Is BPDA Design Review still ongoing?

The BPDA continues to review projects electronically. Plans can be submitted via email (hard copies cannot be accepted). During this time, the BPDA cannot issue design review approvals for plans but, as is possible, the BPDA Urban Design Department is queuing projects for design review approval for when the situation improves.

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