Last week we wrote about the Conservation Law Foundation filing suit against EOEEA Secretary Beaton and DEP Commissioner Suuberg for actions associated with the approval of an amendment to the South Boston Waterfront District Municipal Harbor Plan. In that suit, CLF alleged that the Secretary’s decision approving the plan was arbitrary and capricious.
This week, CLF is in the news again for sending a letter to Secretary Beaton requesting that he delay the state’s approval process for another Municipal Harbor Plan located just across the Fort Point Channel.
The City approved the Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan last week, covering an area stretching from Northern Avenue to Christopher Columbus Park, bound by the waterfront to the east and the Rose Kennedy Greenway to the west. The plan would approve new height limits allowing for the redevelopment of the Boston Harbor Garage property owned by Don Chiofaro.
In its letter to Secretary Beaton, CLF alleged that the Municipal Harbor Planning process seemed developer-driven. CLF suggested that if the Secretary approved the Downtown plan, CLF would add a challenge to that plan to its pending lawsuit on the South Boston plan. Instead, CLF recommended that Secretary Beaton wait until the South Boston lawsuit is resolved before starting the public review and approval process for the Downtown plan.
CLF appears fully committed to seeking to enforce its view of what Ch. 91 requires and has backing for this pursuit. The Barr Foundation awarded CLF $330,000 last year to “advance waterfront advocacy efforts”. Developers contemplating waterfront projects should count on CLF watching closely and prepare for potential challenges.