Civic group wants answers as building boom hits Morrissey

Dorchester Reporter | By Jennifer Smith
September 15, 2016

morrisseyWith a number of large projects in the pipeline around Mount Vernon Street and Morrissey Boulevard, the city’s inconsistent application of the Columbia Point Master Plan was once more a source of neighborhood frustration as a Boston Redevelopment Authority spokesperson addressed the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association planning board on Tuesday.

The civic group is grappling with the effects on its neighborhoods of the Boston-wide development boom and asking the city to clarify its positions on the master plan, the result of a three-year process during the Menino administration that laid out a neighborhood-approved vision for the Point and much of the surrounding area, including the Globe site and what is now the Herb Chambers property next door to the newspaper plant.

Taking a macro-view of the future of the area has the potential to rectify major traffic artery issues as well as set a cohesive tone to development, said Don Walsh, who headed up the master plan team.

Incorporating the master plan into current planning is “a tremendous opportunity for the city of Boston to do something that’s planned, that’s large-scale,” he added. “You can do something, because you can think large. Is there someone in the city’s that’s doing that?”

Michael Christopher, the deputy director of development review for the BRA, said a lack of broad planning by the agency has been “one of our weaknesses” historically.

A key reason for revisiting the master plan now, members of the association feel, is a proposal from Chambers for his Boulevard lot that features a large Land Rover/Jaguar dealership on the site. He agreed last month to hold off on moving ahead with his plans until the nearby neighborhoods were given some clarity from the city and the Globe on the future of its 16-acre plant site.

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