Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
January 24, 2017
The Walsh administration is committing to a planning study to guide future downtown development as part of efforts to win support for a state shadow law exemption for Millennium Partners’ proposed $1 billion redevelopment of the old Winthrop Square garage.
The study would look at “big-picture” planning and updates to antiquated zoning rules, according to Jonathan Greeley, director of development review for the Boston Planning & Development Agency.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh plans to file a home-rule petition which, if approved, would exempt Millennium’s up to 775-foot mixed-use tower from state laws governing new buildings’ shadow impacts on Boston Common and the Public Garden.
It would also eliminate the remaining quarter-acre in a “shadow bank” that developers can tap for new Midtown Cultural District buildings that would cast shadows after 10 a.m.
The shadow law has been effective in guiding development, but Millennium’s project — which falls outside Midtown and has more stringent shadow limitations — “offers a unique opportunity for public benefits and capturing the value of the development site,” Greeley said.