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City, developer once again at odds over Aquarium-garage project

NorthEndWaterfront.com reports BRA Director Brian Golden is saying he can't deal with Don Chiofaro and his proposed towers anymore. In a letter to a waterfront advisory committee, Golden says the BRA and Chiofaro are at an impasse on the size of the towers.

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Comments

I can't imagine having to deal with Chiofaro's whinging that zoning regs shouldn't apply to him.

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The zoning regs for that area do not reflect the reality on the ground. Most of the buildings along the Greenway are taller and have less parking than the zoning would require. Also, not sure if you noticed, WE HAVE A HOUSING SHORTAGE. Telling a developer they must build *less* housing with *more* parking when we so desperately need more places for people to live just makes no sense at all from a policy perspective.

Also, building taller buildings on the waterfront means that more people will live there, which means fewer people are going to be forced to live in the suburbs and forced to buy a car to buy groceries, get to work, bring the kids to soccer practice, and whatever. This would be a win for just about everyone but the folks in the existing Harbor Towers whose view is threatened. And we'd be fools to side with them.

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There are other areas where a large tower could be build which won't impact the harbor walk and Greenway the way this big ass tower would. And again, he was given some variances but he wants even more or $30m in tax rebates to make it more profitable for this guy.

We need lots of density (like the Fenway) more than we need developers to build their personal monument in one specific spot.

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The Aquarium are being unreasonable babies about this too. They say the new tower would make it harder for people to find parking. So now we are basing city planning around people from the suburbs who don't like taking the T the 2 times per year they come into Boston?!? I could have sworn there was a T stop right around there that they could use...maybe on the blue line...can't think of the name of it though...

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"building taller buildings on the waterfront means that more people will live there, which means fewer people are going to be forced to live in the suburbs"

You are very naive. People who want to live in the suburbs will live in the suburbs, people who want to live in the city will move closer to the city. Many people who do live in the city will still end up moving to the suburbs eventually.

"Also, not sure if you noticed, WE HAVE A HOUSING SHORTAGE."

That we have a housing shortage is not a reason to throw away most zoning regulations. Boston is one of the nicest cities in the country in large part because it's not full of boxy boring development like so many of the cities that the transplants left.

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You are very naive.

And you have no data to back up your assertions.

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As if people commonly post data to back up their assertions here. You are selectively applying that demand.

Since you ask:

theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/01/young-americans-yearning-for-the-suburbs-stuck-in-the-city/384752/

Also, you don't need data to know that Boston is one of the more architecturally interesting cities in the country.

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That was one of the most speculative articles I've ever read. The use of the word "might" is off the charts! It also has the completely mind-blowing information that people who spent a lot of money to live in suburbs generally want to live in suburbs.

There's no exploration of what city and suburb mean. Maybe everyone wants to live in a place like JP or Somerville, which are in one sense suburbs, but also very much urban. (it's also illegalto build places like that in most of the country, because of minimum lot sizes, setbacks, and off-street parking requirements.) There's no explanation of trade-offs. Owning a couple acres might be nice (I didn't see any suggestion of "yearning" for that), but is it worth the difficulty in getting to the grocery store, restaurants, friends, etc.? Is it worth putting money into that extra car (or two or three) and the tailpipe emissions from driving them everywhere? People weigh these things, and come to the best decision they can with the resources available, will be quite happy with the trade-offs they make.

On a further note, even supposing there are a lot of people who do want to leave Boston for Burlington, there are plenty who want to move in, and no reason to prevent the market from providing them housing.

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The article is very clear and contains data which show that more young people than not would like to eventually end up owning place in the suburbs. The distinction between the city and suburbs is really not as small as you are making it out to be. It's really not that complicated, people like to live in the city for a while then eventually leave, especially if they were raised in the suburbs.

"no reason to prevent the market from providing them housing."

This does not mean that zoning regulations should be removed at the expense of neighborhoods and preserving the interesting architecture of the city.

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The idea that Millennials only live in the city because they can't afford the suburbs is ridiculous. It costs far less to live in a 4 bed with 2 cars in Hopkinton than it does to live in a 2 bed with 0 cars in the North End, plus you get space, a lawn, and a nice school district. So why the hell are people jumping all over themselves to live in the downtown neighborhoods, Cambridge, and Somerville? It sure as hell isn't because it's cheap.

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You don't have any data to back up your post, as you've said before.

Anyway, it seems like you didn't even read article. The article provided data which shows that millennials will eventually want to be moving out to the suburbs after they live in the city for a while. You asked for data, and data was provided on that.

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The article provided data which shows that millennials will eventually want to be moving out to the suburbs after they live in the city for a while.

Data can't tell us what people will want to do in the future. It can suggest, if we agree with the assumptions.

Data is historic. It can suggest the future, it can predict the future, but it doesn't prove the future.

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That's the way the BRA works. Under-zone everything to force developers to come begging to you...

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This was a brilliant plan for the seafood industry's economy on the South Boston Waterfront.

Check out this video:
www.AmericanSeafoodExchange.com

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It has to be tiring, listing to Don chip away over the years on this. Boston is not a place that needs super tall towers to make money. Considering what the site was procured at, virtually anything built over 10 stories is going to make returns. You don't need some middle finger sticking out of the skyline. Developers should stop trying to build [over 40 story buildings] downtown and instead concentrate on 5-10 story buildings in the areas of town that actually need more density and property. Just need to conversely make sure Brian is not declaring areas blighted to justify eminent domain and land giveaways. There is NO part of Boston that is blighted.

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Developers should stop trying to build [over 40 story buildings] downtown and instead concentrate on 5-10 story buildings in the areas of town that actually need more density and property.

What study/metric/logic is 5-10 > 40+ based on? Personal preference or a real reason?

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There is a housing shortage in Boston. You're not helping it if you're not building up the less dense areas with medium density projects. Where units stand a much better chance of being sold at reasonable prices, or as reasonable as is possible in this climate. That's not going to happen in a Chiafaro skyscraper for the 1%.

We need more of this instead:
http://www.universalhub.com/2015/new-balance-says-proposed-apartments-wi...

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Ah, got it. Personally, I 100% agree on building up density in the non-downtown residential neighborhoods, but I don't think it's a zero sum game of Downtown Towers vs Neighborhood Density. We can do both, and I don't think there's a housing or economic reason we shouldn't.

Re Neighborhood Density: I'm not even sure you need 5-10 stories. Look at cities in England, France, the Netherlands, etc. They all manage to get good density, and the buildings only tend to be 3-5 or so.

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But we also understand that a lot of the new luxury buildings (fenway) are close to half empty because the rents are not in keeping with the market. A huge tower on the waterfront is a screw you to the city--take a look at Chicago for an example of a dense city with good planning that has kept an amazing coast and created new high rise neighborhoods of great architecture. We could do it do, if we had a plan and made developers follow it. Instead it's whoever gets the mayors ear. same old same old.

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So you would rather some ugly parking garage that detracts from the neighborhood over much needed housing? This fear of height is irrational. This isn't Indianapolis, we need to take advantage of what little space we have.

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The BRA is being ridiculous. How does a 40 story tower block the view of the street of the harbor more than a 5 or 6 story parking garage? It doesn't. The proposal would allow more sightlines because the structures arent as wide, with public space between them, and unlike the parking garage, there would be spaces in the building the public could go to eat/drink and look at the water. Now only the parked cars have a good view.

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