To the BPDA: You Reap What You Sow

To the Editor: The evening of the 21st of last week, I tuned in to a Zoom Plan Charlestown meeting hosted by the Boston Planning and Development Agency. The purpose of this meeting as touted by the BPDA was to discuss / address the concerns from previous surveys, a vision going forward and goals for the future of the Community of Charlestown. The hope is to set a planning framework for the available lots surrounding the core of Charlestown. As the meeting progressed, I could sense much displeasure as comments from the audience appeared on the chat screen. A “planner” from the BPDA chimed in to discourage any negativism, or disparaging comments or thoughts from the audience. It was evident that the participants were not buying into the BPDA’s claim that they listen to the community. May I remind the BPDA that the community of Charlestown presented over 2700 signatures in 2019 to the Mayor of Boston that Charlestown needs better planning via a Master Plan to tackle density, traffic gridlock, pollution and the safety and wellness of this community going forward. The concerns at that time were also to preserve the historic core and ensure responsible building in our one square mile. Mayor Walsh was in agreement and assured the citizens that a Master Plan was acceptable going forward. Less than 24 hours later, the BPDA announced there would be no Master Plan for Charlestown and there would be more traffic studies, focusing on the Rutherford Corridor. In their esteemed wisdom, the BPDA put forth “Plan Charlestown” and have been holding countless meetings, surveys and more studies. In the meantime, many bold, highly dense, and unacceptable proposals have been flooding our community currently battling a pandemic and now with the dire climate change forecast, we, the residents are forced to digest one proposal after another. Exactly what areas of Charlestown comprise Plan Charlestown? From what I understand, Plan Charlestown does NOT include, Bunker Hill Housing Development, Sullivan Square, Schrafft’s Center, One Mystic, Related Beal, Rise Development on Roland Street, the Hood Plant, Rutherford Corridor, The Bunker Hill Parking lot, and the 99 Restaurant. Where does the Navy Yard fit in this plan? These developments comprise 60 plus acres, thousands of units, and tall, dense buildings such as One mystic at 29 stories. The Charlestown Plan excludes all the above proposals and available building lots, I suggest Charlestown Plan has been a fraud perpetrated on the Charlestown Community. This fraud needs to stop. For two years the BPDA has been sowing nonsense regarding their plan. The bottom line is that by ignoring 2700 residents in favor of a Master Plan their credibility is non-existent and the agency is broken. We’ve lost two years of orderly planning. Going forward we must have a moratorium on building, regroup, and a Master Plan, a real plan should be put in place. Anything less is a recipe for disorderly development.       The people in Charlestown have spoken, orderly development, more open and green space, better infrastructure, less traffic gridlock, more affordable housing, clean air. In other words, the people are concerned for a better quality of life. To the BPDA, please stop with your surveys, countless meetings regarding what the people want. You have weaved a fabric of distrust and are reaping backlash from the community. We have lost two years of going forward, instead, we haven’t made any progress and won’t with Plan Charlestown. You have reaped what you have sowed. The seats at the table of the BPDA consists of developers and their proposals. It’s time the BPDA recognizes the community of 20,000 residents stuffed into one square mile and pays attention to their cry for a better quality of life. It’s time for the community to have a seat at your table. A new Mayor is forthcoming, please vote for the person that will not be satisfied with the status quo. One with a vision that includes and recognizes all the people that make up the wonderful City of Boston and deserve a better quality of life. Generations will be impacted by a careful and thoughtful process that we MUST not deviate from.   Ann Kelleher

Letters to the Editor