April 26, 2017 – “The Council’s action today sets a precedent for future tradeoffs of money from developers for city approval of luxury skyscrapers that will cause damage to our landmark parks. It is naive to think that another developer won’t put millions of dollars on the table to entice the city into more exemptions to allow more shadows and cause more damage.
As stewards of the Boston Common and the Public Garden for the past 47 years, we have deep knowledge of the stresses on them. We find it disingenuous of the city to disregard our concerns and minimize the impact this building will have.
We support the revitalization of the Winthrop Square Garage site, but the proposed 775-foot skyscraper violates the shadow laws 264 days of the year on the Boston Common, and 120 days on the Public Garden.
The state’s shadow laws have worked for nearly three decades to strike an appropriate balance between allowing development to continue and protecting the Boston Common and the Public Garden. We will take our case to the State House to ensure this balance will not be jeopardized.”
Below is the list of emails (formatted so you can copy and paste) and phone numbers of the elected officials, City Councilors, and the Mayor.
Mayor Marty Walsh 617-635-4500 firstname.lastname@example.org
State elected officials:
Boston City Councilors:
|Annissa Essabi Georgeemail@example.com|
Downloadable Copy: Shadow Legislation Summary.pdf
Shadow Legislation Summary
Two State laws in place for the past quarter of a century have effectively protected Boston’s signature public parks from excessive shadowing, while still allowing for robust downtown development. The Friends of the Public Garden steadfastly supports these effective laws and opposes any erosion of these protections.
Boston Common Shadow Law (Ch. 362, 1990)
● This State law restricts new shadows on the Common to the first hour after sunrise or 7:00 a.m. (whichever is later) or the last hour before sunset, with different exemptions for buildings in the Midtown Cultural District, which lies east and south of the Common and Garden (see the attached plan).
Downloadable Copy: Fact Sheet on Proposed Winthrop Square Tower.pdf
Fact Sheet on Proposed Winthrop Square Tower
The Proposed Tower Violates State Laws
● The Friends of the Public Garden is committed to preserving sunlight and preventing shadow creep on the City’s landmark public parks, while also allowing development to continue in downtown Boston.
● Millennium Partners’ proposed 775-foot Winthrop Square development is in violation of existing laws designed to protect Boston Common and the Public Garden from shadow creep. These laws, in effect for a quarter century, have protected the City’s signature public parks while allowing a robust level of development in downtown Boston.
● If built, Winthrop Square Tower would cast a morning shadow stretching from Winthrop Square in the financial district, down the middle of Boston Common, through the heart of the Public Garden and onto the Commonwealth Avenue Mall – a distance of roughly one mile.
Now is the time to let the Boston Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) and your elected officials know your opinion about the Winthrop Square development proposal and the threat of shadows on our parks.
The deadline for BPDA public comment period on the Winthrop Square proposal is
January 16, 2017 now extended to January 20, 2017. Please email the Project Manager, Ms. Casey Hines, at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as call your elected officials including the City Council and the Mayor with your comments about shadows and our parks.
Individual messages are the most impactful, and please include your personal thoughts about these iconic parks.
The last few weeks have seen a significant increase in publicity around the proposed Winthrop Square development and its potential impact on Boston Common and the Public Garden, with four articles in The Boston Globe alone. The more light shed on this potential dimming of our parks, the more people will understand the importance of this issue.
At the same time, there are comment opportunities and government actions between now and the end of January that we want you to be aware of. We are eager to engage with city and state officials, other organizations, the development community, and citizens like you as we strive to ensure good public policy that allows development while protecting our parks.