IMPORTANT: BRA Public Meeting & Vote on Copley Place

BostonUrbEx

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The most critical upcoming meeting is the BRA Board Meeting at which this project will be reviewed and voted.
The BRA Board Meeting is now scheduled for
Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm
9th Floor of City Hall.
Note that the plaza entrance to City Hall closes at 5:30 pm. After this, entry is to the first floor level on Congress Stree

We hope that you will join us and bring at least one neighbor.
EVERYONE make an effort to go and show support when they allow public comments. This is a good project and I'm sick of NIMBYs thinking they live in their little entitled world. Support it any way you can, "Yay, more property taxes", "Yay, it just looks cool, I want it to happen", "Look, because of x, y, and z, this is an excellent project."
 

BostonUrbEx

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I hope some of you plan on attending. I hope to participate in any public commenting period. These Tent City people sound like a rabid bunch of NIMBYs.

I think the worst that could happen is we shrug them off thinking, "Oh, there's no way this can be stopped, it's too good and the unions will pick it up." If they show up unopposed, it will look like everyone is against it. We know that's not the case, so let's give some pointers on why this project is good for the city.
 

Shepard

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As a graphical reminder of what's on the docket tonight (and a good roundup of development overall):

 
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JohnAKeith

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Perhaps someone here could eloquently explain why a 47-story tower should be built on the borders of two of Boston's most historic and lively residential neighborhoods. Do rational people have legitimate concerns over this project? If so, how do you explain your support? I ask purely for argument's sake.
 

Shepard

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Wow, the way you asked this question is really loaded.

Perhaps someone here could eloquently explain why a 47-story tower should be built on the borders of two of Boston's most historic and lively residential neighborhoods?
Two comments on this...

First, let's reframe the question. Why should a 47-story residential tower NOT be built on a relatively desolate corner adjacent to one of the city's major transit hubs? If ever there was a location that could support density without greater traffic or congestion concerns, this is it. Considering the environmental benefits of residents living close to where they work, considering the tax revenue to the city that the building will generate, considering the liveliness the building will contribute to the entire area... I would think that it would be downright irrational to leave that corner as it is.

Second, the way you've framed your question sets up an implicit straw man: that the tower will make the two "historic and lively" residential neighborhoods less historic and less lively. Both are untrue. As your question even says, this is the border between the two neighborhoods - meaning that this tower isn't replacing a historic townhouse on Marlborough Street and ruining the character of a historic stretch of brownstone. This "border" is an area that has little history other than as train yards. Since the mid 20th century this corridor has been designated as the "high spine" - meaning that tall buildings are explicitly expected to rise here. So again, rephrasing your question: why should a 47-story tower NOT be built on the border between two residential neighborhoods which has been explicitly singled out for high rise development?

So, the tower is not out of historical context. And, as I already mentioned, more residents will mean a more lively Back Bay and South End - shoppers, restaurant patrons, eyes on the street, and so forth.

Do rational people have legitimate concerns over this project? If so, how do you explain your support? I ask purely for argument's sake.
Well, if I were living in a high floor of Tent City and having my view blocked, I suppose my opposition could be called "rational." But would that opposition be serving the city's best interests? No. It would be purely NIMBY. Rational, perhaps, but NIMBY nonetheless. Every time NIMBYs loudly oppose Boston development, then development in this city becomes even more difficult. And with many areas of this city still underdeveloped relative to their transit-supported potential (Fenway, West End, Greenway, Seaport, etc) that's a very dangerous precedent to set. To those who aren't about to lose views, the tower should, in my mind, be unobjectiionable. And to those who lose their views, ultimately this is to be expected in a city - a location that you move to for its dynamism and propensity to change and surprise.
 

whighlander

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Wow, the way you asked this question is really loaded.

.... Why should a 47-story residential tower NOT be built on a relatively desolate corner adjacent to one of the city's major transit hubs?
.....This "border" is an area that has little history other than as train yards
......why should a 47-story tower NOT be built on the border between two residential neighborhoods which has been explicitly singled out for high rise development?

.....So, the tower is not out of historical context. And, as I already mentioned, more residents will mean a more lively Back Bay and South End - shoppers, restaurant patrons, eyes on the street, and so forth.

.....To those who aren't about to lose views, the tower should, in my mind, be unobjectiionable. And to those who lose their views, ultimately this is to be expected in a city - a location that you move to for its dynamism and propensity to change and surprise.
Shep well said

I would just ask: How much of the same type of comments were addressed against the construction of the mostly ugly tower housing Sorellina {1 Huntington Avenue} looming directly over the iconic Mead, Whte, McKim BPL?

The answer was not so much -- why?

No one had their view compromised -- except tourists staying in the Westin looking N and readers in the BPL looking S

This is the worst kind of NIMBYism -- very simple answer -- wait until a "room with a view" opens in the same building and then move
 

JohnAKeith

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I was attempting to write that on an iPhone rather than a BlackBerry and the lack of a keyboard was making my head hurt.

The opposition fell into two camps: 1) the original plan for Copley Place required that any residential housing built as part of project must include 25% affordable, so Simon Properties must have 25% affordable - and it must all be on-site; 2) shadows and wind.

I don't even want to go into the specifics of the arguments. In truth, the argument about the 25% affordable might have some merit, if it was actually promised. I don't agree with affordable set-asides but the law's the law. However, Simon Properties says that the previous owner of the mall settled this issue (financially) in 1986, so they have no legal requirement to build 25% affordable (rather than the city-mandated 15%) and they have no legal requirement to build it on-site.

The developer says it will include 48 units of affordable housing as part of the ~310 unit project. Ten units on-site, 38 units in the Back Bay or South End. If it can't find a suitable piece of property in either of those two neighborhoods, it will include them all on-site.

The wind and shadows issue, we all know that argument.

I wish I could speak without being nervous, because I had lots I wanted to say. I did speak up in support of the project but also criticized the developer for showing a mock-up of the city skyline with the Copley Tower positioned in such a way that the Hancock and Prudential buildings look fifty stories higher even though the Prudential is only ~10 stories taller.

The whole Winter Garden thing seems weird to me. I guess they have to build some sort of public access as part of the original Copley plan or something. I don't see how it will work in that space and I have to agree with the opponents, there's no way it's going to be "public" except in name only. It's not like kids are gonna be running through it.
 

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