Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Headlines
A Letter from Steve Wolf

October 3, 1997

Dear Fenway CDC member:

As you probably know, the Mass. Turnpike Authority hopes to enter into agreement with a private developer, Millennium Partners, to build a complex above the Turnpike across from Tower Records. I'm writing to to bring you up to date on this proposal and urge you to spare no time in getting involved.

What's happened so far:

This past summer, the City of Boston and the Turnpike Authority signed a legally binding Memo of Understanding that set ground rules for the City's review of any development over the Pike that takes place inside city limits.

Two weeks ago, the Turnpike Authority and Millennium announced an agreement in principal on terms of lease and development of the "air rights" above the Pike. This agreement has yet to be reviewed and approved, but they're well on their way.

Within days of the memo's announcement, a working group of neighborhood organizations (FCDC, Fenway Civic, Fenway Studios, Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay) and elected officials requested a meeting with Mayor Menino and generated a good bit of press coverage in doing it to discuss the community review process the City has agreed to.

The working group developed a petition (enclosed) stating residents' opposition to the current process. Over 400 people signed the petition at Taste of the Fenway and the Fenway' Studios' Open House late last month.

Air Rights

Millenium

Why we need to be alarmed:
  • The community review process is weak. The big problems we see with the City of Boston/Turnpike Authority memo are:
  • It reaffirms the Turnpike's long-standing exemption from Boston zoning, health and fire codes.
  • It lets the Turnpike Authority appoint half of the members of a community advisory committee (CAC) that will review all proposals on behalf of nearbyresidents (that's us).
  • It gives the CAC a mere 21 days to review any proposal. By contrast, the established in the mid-1980s to review the redesign of the Prudential Center met regularly over several years and frequently commented on designproposals.
  • It stacks the deck against citizen concerns by sending any CAC disputes to an arbitration groups by real estate lawyers. Whose side are they likely to view more sympathetically?
  • The development is too big for the site. Millennium and the Turnpike Authority are talking about a huge development potentially 1 million square feet over 5acres comprising retail space, a cinema complex, condos, hotel and parking. By comparison, that's only half the size of the Hancock tower.
  • Think of the traffic! Regardless of whether there is parking on-site, the Fenway will be deluged with traffic. Cars bound for the new megaplex will come via Mass Ave., Huntington Ave., Boylston Street west and the Riverway all of which are already busy throughout the day.

What you can do today:

Millennium is a powerful and clever developer. It rammed through a huge project on New York's Upper West Side, past all community and political opposition. As Edward Wallace, a lawyer who fought that project, told The Globe, "if you want to have something to say, start saying it now!"

Write or call both Mayor Menino and Acting Governor Cellucci today. They need to hear your concerns about the scale of the project and the lack of community process. Be aware that with no opponent in the November election, the mayor is feeling pretty confident about getting his way these days. The governor, who won't face the voters for another 14 months, needs the money this project will generate to help bail out the Big Dig.

Mayor Tom Menino (635-4500) Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci (727-3600)

Get involved in the new Advisory Committee on the Mass Pike (ACOM). An information and strategy meeting is being planned for mid-October; if you want to attend, please call the Fenway CDC at 267-4637, ext. 20.

Sign and circulate the enclosed petition. Get your neighbors and friends to sign. Make additional copies if you need, or call us for more. Return completed petitions to the Fenway CDC; we'll consolidate them with those circulated in the Back Bay and deliver them directly to the mayor.

An organized and vocal Fenway can make a difference! We'll do our best to keep you informed of the latest developments. Feel free to call us at 267-4637. Thanks for your concern and participation. '

Steve Wolf
President, Fenway CDC

Petition Regarding Mass. Pike Air Rights Development

Millennium Partners, a New York-based real estate developer, is currently in negotiations with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority for the right to build a one million square foot project over five acres of the Turnpike between Massachusetts Avenue and IpswichStreet.

We, the undersigned, believe that a development of this size should not be built on the site. It would seriously undermine the enormously successful residential, business and cultural communities of the Fenway and Back Bay, and further exacerbate transportation, parking and other logistical problems in the area.

We call upon Governor Cellucci and Mayor Menino to: join us in our opposition to the proposed project; ensure that any project for this site be in scale and consistent with the adjacent communities; guarantee that development will be subject to community approval.

Signature

Name (Print)

Address

Phone

Jointly circulated by the Fenway Civic Association, Fenway Community Development Corp. and the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.

Please return to NABB at 337 Newbury Street, Boston 02116, Phone: 217-3961.