CityOfBoston Official An official website of the City of Boston

This is the website for the City of Boston’s new Planning Department, which launched on July 1. The staff and many responsibilities of the Boston Planning & Development Agency have moved to the Planning Department of the City of Boston including planning & zoning, urban design, development review, and real estate divisions. Please excuse any misalignment you may see on our site as we transition to the City. Learn more

Mitigation & Impact Advisory Groups

What is an Impact Advisory Group (IAG)?

The City recognizes that large-scale development projects can have both positive and negative impacts on the surrounding community. In order to balance out these impacts, the City works with developers to address the social and environmental impacts of the project by providing mitigation. An Impact Advisory Group (“IAG”) advises on both identifying the project impacts and determining the appropriate mitigation. The executive order relative to the provision of mitigation stipulates the role of the impact advisory group.

What is Mitigation?

Mitigation can include physical improvements that the developer will provide on-site or within the impacted area. For instance, mitigation could include a traffic study that results in a modified pattern of stoplights, signage, and crosswalks. Mitigation can also take the form of monetary contributions to local organizations, such as “The Friends Of” a park or a playground. Staff provides oversight of these funds to ensure that they are spent in the ways that are approved and agreed upon.

Who decides what benefits qualify for mitigation?

Mitigation is about creating a balance. To determine that balance, mitigation is agreed upon by the developer and the Boston Planning & Development Agency, with the input of the members of the affected community.

How does the City approach mitigation?

The lAG process was announced in October of 2000 as a way to standardize practices and clarify the framework for determining mitigation. The policy sets clear and consistent guidelines for all communities and developers.

Who determines the impacted area?

The BPDA is required to determine the impacted areas of development projects. Determining that area involves weighing elements such as location, size, mass, use, transportation, and existing and proposed infrastructure.

Why is an Impact Advisory Group appointed?

An lAG is a group of individuals chosen to formally examine the impacts of a proposed project and make recommendations on mitigation. An lAG is composed of up to fifteen (15) members, a majority of whom are residents, business owners, or designees of community organizations within the impacted area.

How are lAGs appointed?

The Mayor appoints the lAG, drawing nominations from the district City Councilor, State Representative, and State Senator, as well as recommendations from the at-large City Councilors and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

How does an lAG get assembled?

  1. The developer submits a Letter of Intent, to signal that informing the agency that the developer intends to begin the Article 80 process.

  2. Upon receipt of the Letter, the BPDA solicits nominations for lAG from the district. City Councilor, State Representative, and State Senator. The BPDA also seeks input from at-large City Councilors and the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services.

  3. After a period of seven (7) days, the Mayor appoints the project's lAG from assembled nominations and recommendations.
  4. The Article 80 review process begins when the Developer submits a Project Notification Form.

  5. The developer then adheres to all Article 80 public review requirements, including a community meeting within the impacted area.

  6. The lAG participates in a Scoping Session on the project and offers suggestions to the staff on the project impacts and appropriate mitigation.

  7. Prior to final execution, the staff provides copies of the draft Cooperation Agreement to members of the lAG for review and comment.

  8. After review of the Cooperation Agreement, the lAG‘s role is complete.

What if I am not on the IAG?

The IAG process does not restrict residents or local organizations from submitting comments during periods designated in the Article 80 process of development review. Community meetings and comments will still play the major role in any development review process. 

Does the IAG replace the established community voices?

The IAG does not replace or limit other community organizations. Every development project will continue to undergo the same thorough public review process. For instance, the BPDA will continue to require every developer to hold publicly advertised meetings for feedback from local residents. Every neighborhood or community organization will still have the option to comment officially on a project during the required comment periods. Many projects will require public hearings before the BPDA Board as well as other boards or commissions. IAGs represent a cross-section of individuals to provide greater public insight to the Planning Department in weighing mitigation.

For more information, please contact Casey Hines or Nupoor Monani, Senior Deputy Directors of Development Review.