What is Development Review?

Large Project Review

Large project review applies to virtually all major projects in Boston, including projects that add at least 50,000 square feet of gross floor area, projects of varying size near Boston Harbor, and large projects that involve a significant change of use without new construction. During the large project review process, the BPDA, guided by comments from the public, examines the impacts of a project on its immediate neighborhood and on the city as a whole. Depending upon the project’s impacts, the BPDA may require the developer to modify the project’s design or to take other measures to reduce or mitigate those impacts.

Depending upon the project’s size, location and use, the review process may address the project’s impacts in a variety of areas, including:

  • transportation,
  • environmental protection (wind, shadow, noise, air quality, solar glare, et c.),
  • LEED compliance,
  • urban design,
  • historic resources,
  • and infrastructure systems,
Large Project review is a multi-step process which involves input from the BPDA's Economic Development, Urban Design, and Planning departments; the public; and external departments including the Boston Transportation Department, the Environment Department, and the Landmarks Commission.

The major steps in the Large Project Review are as follows. Opportunities for public comment are afforded throughout the process.

  1. Applicant files Letter of Intent (LOI) describing the project.
  2. Applicant files a Project Notification Form (PNF) which further describes the project and is available for public comment.
  3. If required by the BPDA, applicant may need to submit a Draft Project Impact Report (DPIR), which provides additional analysis and is available for public comment.
  4. If required by the BPDA, applicant may need to submit a Final Project Impact Report (FPIR) to provide additional analysis. This addresses concerns raised by the DPIR and is available for public comment.
  5. Once review of the FPIR is complete, the BPDA will issue a final directive called and Adequacy Determination, which requires a vote of the BPDA Board. The Board may choose to approve a project, not approve it, or approve it with conditions.
If you are a developer looking to begin the development review process, please find information in the Development Review Guidelines.

For more information, please contact Jonathan Greeley, Director of Development Review, by email or by telephone at 617.918.4486.
  • Boston Planning & Development Agency
  • One City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
  • Tel: 617.722.4300  Fax: 617.248.1937
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