Floating Home Fallacy

Floating buildings?

Some of these housing solutions appear in remote places, on lakes and other areas with some nostalgic value – not taking over an existing community waterfront. 

A recent RFP by the BPDA, called developers to submit the proposals, ignored the community and public interest

This is example of one of the proposals. Aiming to place floating buildings, blocking over 200′ of the currently open waterfront and privatize the entire use of Pier 5 AND over 50% of the existing water-sheet. 

The floating homes proposals of 6M and Navy Blue are not a water dependent use and preclude public access to Pier 5. The true intent of this mischaracterization as floating homes is to claim a marine uses to bypass zoning height, set-back, open space requirements and Chapter 91 water dependent requirements. While these floating housing units are water-adjacent, they are not water-dependent. The use of a ‘marine’ designation is a deliberate attempt to avoid otherwise applicable zoning limitations and calls into question whether such ‘floating homes’ will be subject to real estate taxes and land based linkage payment to BPDA which are significantly less for ‘marine structures’ v. real estate development. Will Boston real estate taxpayers be left holding the bag for the cost of infrastructure and emergency services without commensurate tax payments?

There are other significant regulatory issues and studies that are required before any further consideration of even the partial demolition of Pier 5 not to mention redevelopment, can be considered. There needs to be an environmental impact study, harbor floor core borings in consultation with the DEP and the EPA to determine pollutants and mitigation requirements for harbor pollution and marine and wildlife protection. Structural studies are needed to determine the impact of Pier 5 construction including even partial demolition and structural additions to Pier 5 and its impact on Flagship Wharf. Wind studies and proposals to protect Courageous Sailing. Emergency access and infrastructure studies are needed for fire and police emergency access, the handling of both potable and waste water, traffic and congestion studies to determine the impact on existing residents. Other State and Federal stakeholders and their permitting process and their regulatory interest have not been identified by BPDA not to mention even considered. (Dept of Navy, Coast Guard, Interior and National Parks, NOAA Coastal Zone Management, Fishing and Wildlife, EPA, DEP, Mass Dept. of Environmental Resources, Public Health, Mass Dept of Recreation and Conservation, etc).

Given the significant issues and the number of Federal and State agencies whose involvement is required, these Proposals must be summarily denied until such time as a full evaluation of the impact of demolition or proposed redevelopment of Pier 5 can be evaluated and protections existing uses and area residents can be put into place.

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