BRA renews urban renewal powers

The Boston Redevelopment Authority voted to support staff plans to renew the urban renewal designations for the Downtown Waterfront, South End, Charlestown, West End, South Cove, a big chunk of Roxbury, most of Fenway and even a tiny bit of Lower Allston.

The gist of the staff presentation to the Board of Directors, which approved the plan unanimously, was that urban renewal is cool and vital and we’re totally not going to use eminent domain to demolish whole neighborhoods anymore, promise.

Not only are all they things they trumpet as urban renewal tools things done throughout the City and promoted by various agencies and associations. Not only that, but they said that they had big plans that would wow everyone and show them what urban renewal can do in this day and age — but those ideas won’t be released to the public until next year.

Several neighborhood associations and activist groups urged the board to adopt a shorter renewal of the designations than ten years in oreder to establish a record of transparency.

The BRA also approved Mayor Martin Walsh’s plan to change the inclusionary development policy and several development projects: the Harvard Business School’s Klarman Hall in their Allston campus, a 19-unit condo building in Roslindale, an expansion of Dorchester’s Epiphany School, an affordable housing development in General Heath Square in Mission Hill, a hotel in East Boston near the Airport station, and a project by the Archdiocese of Boston to renovate an historic building in Chinatown for affordable housing.

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