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News & Updates

BPDA Board adopts PLAN: Newmarket planning initiative

Aug 17, 2023

Draft zoning for the plan released today

The Boston Planning & Development Agency Board of Directors adopted PLAN: Newmarket at their monthly board meeting Thursday. The plan lays out a vision and the tools for Newmarket to serve as a key center of industrial activity and employment for Boston residents, and as an area primed to attract the industries of tomorrow. Overlapping the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, South Boston, and the South End, the Newmarket industrial zone acts as an economic engine for the City of Boston, and this plan supports the enhancement of that role. The goals of the plan are to: maintain traditional industrial jobs, attract new industries, promote job equity and access, and support the growth of the creative economy. By affirming Newmarket as Boston’s industrial center, it will allow the city to unlock the potential of other parts of the city to host much needed transit-oriented housing, and mixed-use development. Draft zoning implementing the plan was released today for a final round of public comment and is projected to go to the BPDA Board next month.

“I am excited about advancing this plan to reaffirm Newmarket as one of Boston’s main hubs of economic activity and development,” said Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison. “By using this plan as a guide, I am confident we can enhance this area and strengthen it for Boston’s workforce of today, tomorrow, and beyond.”

PLAN: Newmarket responds to stakeholder feedback about the built environment through a long-term focus on land use, public realm, climate challenges, and transportation needs in the coming decades. The community engagement process that shaped the plan began in 2019, and included more than 23 public meetings and dozens of stakeholder interviews, open houses, and informal “chat with a planner" events. Roughly 19 percent of people who work in Newmarket live in the adjacent neighborhoods. Because of this high concentration of local employment, additional outreach focused on residents of the neighborhoods along the MBTA Fairmount line, including those which comprised the highest percentages of people working in Newmarket.

“I believe that the planning principles and zoning changes recommended in the PLAN will bring about a real increase in development while also protecting the industrial backbone of the District,” said Sue Sullivan, Executive Director of the Newmarket Business Improvement District. “Most importantly, the PLAN opens the door to Newmarket’s future as Boston’s center of innovative industry.”

The plan prioritizes preservation and production of new ground floor spaces that serve Newmarket’s traditional industrial users, specifically businesses focused on: production, distribution, repair, and the creative economy. The plan also provides a framework for a safe and resilient public realm that balances the district’s industrial uses with the needs of other users including employees, visitors, and nearby residents.

The impact of Newmarket’s concentration of service providers is a primary and urgent concern for neighborhood stakeholders. As such, the policy goals of PLAN: Newmarket are intended to work in concert with the programs of City departments, working on the front lines of public safety and quality of life issues in this neighborhood. Given the gravity and immediacy of the current challenges, PLAN: Newmarket team members staffed the City's interdepartmental task forces focused on immediate needs including: the Mass and Cass Task Force, Mass/Cass 2.0, and the Mayor's Office Coordinated Response Team. The work of these groups and the Business Improvement District focuses on public safety and law enforcement, emergency medical services, street cleaning, as well as the provision of services at the City of Boston’s Atkinson Street Engagement Center, a low-threshold daytime space for individuals navigating homelessness and substance use. As these elements are built into PLAN: Newmarket, it makes the plan a foundational tool for improving the area overall.

Under the direction of Mayor Wu, the BPDA continues to complete neighborhood planning initiatives that began over the last several years. In South Boston, the South Boston Transportation Action Plan (SBTAP) is an ongoing transportation planning process that will culminate in Fall 2023. There are also neighborhood planning studies being completed in Charlestown, Downtown, and East Boston.

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