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Zoning charges spur city to hire outside lawyers to review how development projects are approved

Boston is hiring Sullivan & Worcester LLP "to ensure that best practices, including strong internal protocols and policies, are in place to best serve applicants in a way that is transparent and accountable to the public," the mayor's office announced today.

The mayor's office released a press release on the hiring that extensively quotes Mayor Marty Walsh on the need for transparency and accountability in zoning matters but never once mentions the reason why now might be a good time for such a review: Last week's announcement that a mid-level BPDA executive had agreed to plead guilty - and to accept a prison sentence of between roughly four and five years - to accepting bribes from a developer to ensure a small South Boston project got an extension the developer needed to sell the whole thing.

The release quotes the mayor:

Boston is a city that is booming with economic development, from new companies moving to our city and the creation of housing being at an all-time high-record. The pace of our growth is unparalleled to any other time in our city's history, which is a tremendous economic boon for our city, but also brings its own set of challenges. Through this review, I want to make sure that our agencies and staff are best equipped with the knowledge, tools and training they need to do their jobs effectively and to the standard of which they are held. ...

Since taking office, my Administration has worked to level the playing field in the development process in Boston, emphasizing transparency and ensuring broader access and input from the community. I recognize that there is always more work to be done to make the business of city government more accessible and transparent to everyone. I am hopeful that we will learn from the findings of this review how else we can better serve our constituencies and implement best practices used in the field.

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Comments

too late for all those permits and housing built without getting proper variances and public notification. we have a new house on a lot that needed at least 3 variances, permit given without variance, without public notice. Lot cleared and foundation poured. Neighbors and abbutters need to threaten lawsuit. hearing and oh gee they should not have gotten teh permit. It was a mistake. But the foundation is poured what can we do. Builder will make the porch smaller and plant some trees. This is considered a win by our elected representative. Lot is and was sold as undersized. Complete joke Mr Mayor

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Other cities and towns have no problem forcing a property owner or contractor to tear down non-compliant work. House built 2" over the setback line and variance denied? Too bad, whole thing has to be torn down.

This is what happens when you have a mayor in the developer and construction unions pocket. The rule of law is toilet paper and permits are pouring out like shit through a goose.

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Somebody

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(deep breath) bahahahahahahahahahahahahaa
(wipes tears from eyes)
Oh man they get to waste taxpayer dollars hiring lawyers and forming subcommittees to study the corruption! Love to see who they hire for the job. Marty's cousin? Speaker Deleo's mistress. Oh man, what a gas!

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So, can the BPDA pay for this using funds from land sales? and yes, too little, too late, too expensive. And, btw - there are also projects breaking zoning by a magnitude of 10.

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if there's ever been a more tired, worn out, & laughable corporate phrase, I have not heard it.

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Maybe Marty will review selective enforcement by ISD and the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission. 4 Pinckney made massive additions visible from Joy St and expanded into the public sidewalk on Pinckney without building permits or BHAC approval. Neither ISD nor the Landmarks Commission is doing anything about it.

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The rest of us can’t get a new doorbell past Landmarks if it’s visible from the street.

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Exactly how special do you have to be for Landmarks, ISD and DPW to all look the other way?

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another reactionary response disguised as genuine concern from Mayor Marty after shit hits the proverbial fan and flies in his general direction. Surprise.

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should be put on hold until all the players are identified and weeded out.

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And screw over the countless homeowners and property owners who have waited months to get a hearing on mostly innocuous stuff like a rear porch extension? No. Don't punish the little guy for what some rogue developer may have done here. If you delay a hearing, you push those people back into next year since the ZBA schedule is booking out months in advance.

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According to Adam Reilly at WGBH:

What he's apparently referring to (in article)

https://www.americaninno.com/boston/boston-calling-extortion-arrests-ken...

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