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Legal, Environmental, Climate resilience concerns:
Objections to the BPDA Charlestown Navy Yard Pier 5 Development Proposals
Re: Objections to the BPDA Charlestown Navy Yard Pier 5 Development Proposals
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please accept this letter to express my strenuous objection to the 3 proposals currently being considered by the BPDA for Charlestown Navy Yard Pier 5 (hereinafter referred to as ‘Pier 5’) RFP. The objections are based upon the environmental concerns including impact on tidal lands of the Commonwealth and virtual elimination of public use of Pier 5 for marine dependent uses; damage to adjacent structures and uses, over densification of residential uses creating life safety access hazards to development and area residents, lack of infrastructure for development for residential services including trash, potable and waste water, parking and transportation and deliberate mischaracterization of ‘floating homes’ as a marine based use, which makes a sham of c.91, avoids real estate taxation and other zoning limitations which would otherwise strictly apply, only to create a new income source for the BPDA and to cover for its 40 year neglect of Pier 5.
Issues are as follows:
To Whom it May Concern,
Environmental 1. Rising Sea Level impacts on Pier 5, including severe exposure to winter storm conditions. 2. Limitations on the use of Tidal lands under M.G.L.c. 91 for water dependent uses only and the associated exclusion of public from East and West sides of Pier 5 and inaccessibility of the end of Pier 5 through a maze of housing units. 3. Demolition of Pier 5 which will uncover hazardous pollutants and waste likely to be found under Pier 5 based upon prior use as active Naval facility and historic use of lead, asbestos and other hazardous substances in connection with commonly used hazardous products. Release of these pollutants into the ‘clean harbor waters’ to the detriment of the public, marine and wild life.
Damage to adjacent structures 1. Destruction of Courageous Sailing and Water Dependent uses from increased footprint of Pier 5 reduction of Watersheet and Wind screen from the proposed developments. 2. Pier 5 demolition or dewatering and impact on adjacent foundation slurry wall of Flagship Wharf from both demolition and reconstruction or pile driving.
BPDA failure of stewardship of Pier 5 and resulting conflict of interest 1. BPDA and its predecessor have failed to demonstrate ownership of development rights, or recognize the development right limitations placed by BPDA predecessor BRA on Pier 5 development, which limits development to 15 townhouse units for the BPDA’s financial benefit. 2. BPDA’s failure to keep and maintain properties entrusted to its care based upon over 40 years of ownership of Pier 5 and its complete failure of maintenance and upkeep of Pier 5 (and other structures) based upon 30 year old studies which show required maintenance which were systematically and routinely ignored. 3. BPDA’s financial interest in development (overdevelopment) through linkage payments as a revenue source for operations and as a cover for its failure to maintain properties under its stewardship as noted above.
Engineering, design and regulations compliance concerns:
Re: Stop all RFP pending Comprehensive Cost/Benefit Studies of Pier 5 Restoration VS Demolition and other Site Conditions
Dear Director Brian Golden and BPDA Co-Ordinator McDaniels, This BPDA RFP for CNY Pier 5 has not been comprehensively and responsibly thought out prior to issuing the “AS IS” offering —which is excerpted here: “The Property is intended for disposition by a long term ground lease by the BRA pursuant to the RFP. The Property is being offered as is, without warranty of any kind, express or implied. If concerned about the Property’s condition, legal or physical access and the maintenance thereof, property lines or boundaries or any other matter affecting the Property, prospective developers should investigate and conduct whatever due diligence and inspection deemed necessary.”
This letter is to demand that the BPDA stop this irresponsible RFP process until all the information and determinations required are obtained, comprehensive studies made by independent third parties, and all options evaluated and properly priced, etc. Perhaps the most essential and fundamental of the multitude of questions that have been compiled in this comment period is —What are the costs, impacts and benefits of: Demolition, hazardous materials clean-up, and reconstruction of the entire pier for heavy multi-story construction and requiring transport and disposal of enormous volumes construction waste. VS Pier restoration and “Leeds” environmental re-use and audit to support a straightforward lightweight park platform for a public use pier using pile wrapping techniques use for underwater bridge foundations piers.
This Cost / Benefit conclusion would appear to be a no-brainer, especially when you enter in Leeds audit, loss of public amenity, loss of tourism, the legal determinations such as whether the demolition or change of shape of the pier is even permitted by the original agreement with the U.S. Navy, etc. In attempting to obtain answers, there is the hesitance of political pressure on engineers and contractors who are asked. The only way to by-pass this information blocking is to request an independent study financed by the BPDA prior to proceeding with any action on the current RFP.
It may be that the consultants needed for a true independent cost / benefit analysis might be from outside of the regional sphere of influence. What detailed engineering drawings, specifications and condition reports, both existing and proposed, are actually available in full? Is there any change in the existing structure under the crane track? Toxic waste removal situation? Archeological, environmental and biological resource assessments? Climate resiliency? “Highest and Best Use” Alternatives. What are the actual requirements of the U.S. Navy Transfer
Documents regarding demolition, restoration or any change of shape, size or structural configuration? Is there a comprehensive analysis of all the Piers in Boston Harbor to determine historic, structural, environmental, climatic resilience, urbanistic vista values and best uses of our “Harbor Fringe of Piers” ? This is required by any professional Planning Department. Why is Charlestown Navy Yard Urban Pier 5 referred to in the Request for Proposals (“RFP”) as “a ground lease of a vacant parcel of land”, when it is actually an historic pier structure over Ch. 91 MA flooded tidelands which could be demolished. Does this require a unique “air rights” lease over flowed waterways and how is that worded? To consider demolishing such a large and important historic structure asopposed to its environmentally responsible reuse is a reckless misuse of resources. The issuing of an “As Is” RFP with complications of this magnitude is disrespectful of both the Community and the Proposers and wasteful of everyone’s time and money —especially tax payers. Due diligence has not been done. ________________________________________________________ Here is a partial list of people and organizations who you should contact. Please, don’t wait and send your comments ASAP: Hints: * Make it short and straightforward, but explain why you oppose privatization * Explain what you would like to see in the pier and the area * Tell (or remind:)) the City/BPDA of their obligation to maintain public areas * Explain why you think it is important for the generations to come