Open Space Requirements of Pier 5

Open Space Requirements of Pier 5

Historic Pier 5, at the Head of Boston Harbor in the Charlestown Navy Yard, is owned by the BPDA and has been neglected for decades.  In September 2020, an RFP was issued by the BPDA for redevelopment of Pier 5.  Only three proposals were received, all for residential housing which is not an original M.G.L. Chapter 91 water-dependent use.  None of the three met the Open Space requirements for waterfront development.  If any one of these proposals were to go forward, one of the last remaining open piers in the Boston Harbor will be closed off for public use.  We, the Pier 5 Association, believe this beautiful, historic and prime location can have new life as a public open space for the entire community to enjoy.   Fortunately, with the latest announcement from the BPDA and tremendous support from the entire Charlestown community, this vision moves one step closer to reality.

Regulations and Climate Resiliency:   Pier 5 is located on flowed tidelands and is regulated by M.G.L. Chapter 91 which promotes public use and access.  The prior residential proposals did not live up to the letter of this law with regard to open space requirements, nor to original water dependent use requirements.  The adjacent watersheet is used by the Courageous Sailing Center, a non-profit organization that provides free sailing lessons to the children of Boston, and will be encroached upon in violation of Chapter 91.  Municipal Harbor Plans have been used as planning guidelines for what is allowed for waterfront development.    A challenge to the Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan was recently held up by the Superior Court calling all Municipal Harbor Plans into question.