BPDA approves new affordable housing in Charlestown, adopts PLAN: Charlestown
Sep 28, 2023
Board makes childcare an allowed use in zoning code throughout city
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors Thursday approved two new development projects representing approximately 1.4 million square feet (SF). The new projects will create 629 residential units, 126, or 20 percent of which, will be designated income-restricted, and will support approximately 1,323 construction jobs and 2,076 permanent jobs. These projects will make Boston a more resilient, affordable, and equitable city.
Planning & Zoning
PLAN: Charlestown adopted by BPDA Board
The BPDA Board of Directors adopted the PLAN: Charlestown planning initiative at a board meeting Thursday, after four years of work and engagement with the public. The plan includes: an analysis of neighborhood needs and recommendations to improve access to services, new zoning for existing industrial parts of the neighborhood to encourage more housing and retail options, and urban design guidelines to govern future development in the former industrial area and in the Original Peninsula. The implementation of this plan will deliver new zoning, along with the resources, amenities and modifications that residents have been advocating for such as diverse housing options, open space, historic preservation tools, and transportation infrastructure.
BPDA amends zoning code to make child care an allowed use in all Boston neighborhood districts
The BPDA Board approved an amendment to the zoning code to make child care an allowed use in all Boston neighborhood districts. This amendment will make it easier to create child care facilities to meet the high demand for child care in the City of Boston. The Boston Zoning Code currently designates day care centers and “accessory family day care homes” as conditional or forbidden land uses in many neighborhoods that have been identified as having high child care demand by the Mayor’s Office of Early Childhood and the Boston Opportunity Agenda. These restrictions, along with other requirements for day care centers, create barriers to the creation of child care facilities by child care providers and developers. Through coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Early Childhood, the BPDA’s Zoning Reform Team has edited or removed parts of the Code to allow child care facilities as principal and accessory land uses throughout the city. With these changes, following approval of the amendments by the Boston Zoning Commission, those interested in creating new child care facilities will not be required to go through zoning appeal processes to create child care programs.
One Mystic Avenue to bring new housing to Charlestown
Live: 503 residential units, 100 income-restricted units, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, ground floor retail, restaurant, and community space
Work: 432 construction jobs, 13 permanent jobs, Charlestown small business incubator subsidy
Connect: 40 percent open space, improved pedestrian access to Sullivan Square MBTA station, new bike lanes, 600+ bike parking spaces, 30 minute access to 850,000+ jobs
Sustain: Will be one of the largest Zero Net Carbon buildings in Boston, Passive House design, all electric building, LEED Gold, EV vehicle car sharing system for residents
In line with the PLAN: Charlestown planning initiative, this development will help to convert a formerly industrial area of Charlestown into much needed housing and retail, and aid in the revitalization of the Sullivan Square District. Within this 22-story development will be 503 residential units, 100 of which will be income-restricted. In addition, there will be a dedicated wing of this building for housing formerly homeless veterans. This will be a transit-oriented development, as it will improve access to the Sullivan Square MBTA station, provide an electric vehicle sharing service to residents, and create new pedestrian and bike infrastructure in the vicinity of the project. In addition, this project will include hundreds of new bike parking spaces, as well as a new Bluebikes station onsite. As outlined in PLAN: Charlestown, the project will also contribute annually to the operations of a privately funded, publicly accessible shuttle service for people in Charlestown. In support of small business and jobs training, this development will also fund an apprenticeship program for the professional development of union workers, and provide subsidized rent of the retail space to local Charlestown businesses. The project will also create new publicly accessible open space including a new dog park. In support of the city’s resilience goals, this will be potentially the largest Zero Net Carbon residential building in the City of Boston. This project adds significant square footage to the growing roster of Zero Net Carbon buildings that have been approved, are in construction, or are completed in Boston.
Project at 40 Roland Street to build, housing, life science, and retail space in Charlestown
Live: 126 residential units, 26 income-restricted units, $6.6 million in linkage payments towards affordable housing
Work: Approximately 891 construction jobs, approximately 2,063 permanent jobs, $1.2 million in linkage payments towards jobs training, retail space
Connect: Close proximity to public transportation, new Bluebikes station, $215,000 contribution to bikeshare program, $1.4 million in transportation infrastructure improvements
Sustain: LEED Gold, all-electric residential buildings, Zero Net Carbon ready
The 40 Roland Street development will consist of three new buildings on more than four acres of land including office/lab space, residential space, and retail space. The parcels are known as 145 Cambridge Street, 128 Cambridge Street, 89 Cambridge Street, and 10-40 Roland Street. The building at 145 Cambridge Street will include 52 residential units, 11 of which will be income-restricted, retail space on the ground floor, and 65 bike parking spaces. The building at 128 Cambridge Street will contain 74 residential units, 15 of which will be income-restricted, ground floor retail space, and 93 bike parking spaces. The 89 Cambridge Street site will be an entirely publicly accessible recreation space that will feature both active and passive spaces which will be programmed in coordination with the BPDA and Charlestown community groups. Lastly, the building at 10-40 Roland Street will be a nine-story office/lab building with ground floor retail space and 289 bike parking spaces. A maker space on the ground floor will also be available to the public for activities such as 3D printing, laser cutting, woodworking, coding, robotics and more. There will be free weekly public access hours to this space. This project is in line with the recommendations of PLAN: Charlestown. Through the plan, the Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue area of Charlestown is envisioned as an opportunity for higher-density growth, transit-oriented housing, improved active transportation connections, and new open space. As outlined in PLAN: Charlestown, the project will also contribute annually to the operations of a privately funded, publicly accessible shuttle service for people in Charlestown. During the course of this project’s review, planning staff ensured that it complied with the maximum height and density recommendations of the plan. This project will also improve the public realm with widened sidewalks, new publicly accessible open space, and new street trees. In addition, this development will advance the Mystic to Charles Greenway, which will create a multi-modal path for community use. In support of the bikeshare system, the project will contribute $215,964 to the Boston Transportation Department, and also provide space for a Bluebikes station on site. As part of the community benefits for this project, it will contribute more than $8 million in linkage payments towards affordable housing and jobs training. As this building is Zero Net Carbon ready, it will add significant square footage to the growing roster of Zero Net Carbon buildings that have been approved, are in construction, or are completed in Boston.