By John Lynds
With the developers of a 355 foot building on Tremont Street near the Public Garden and Boston Common slated to be voted on by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the Friends of the Public Garden sprung into action to oppose the project and last week asked residents to write letters of opposition to the BRA.
The BRA has not yet published the public comments opposing or supporting the project as of deadline. The deadline for comments was Monday, June 6.
In December 2014, TD Street LLC and Center Court Partners LLC teamed up with Maurice Dabbah of Switzerland to buy a 17,752-square-foot office building at 171-172 Tremont St. and convert that building into condos according to BRA filings. The plan called for the development team to build a 355-foot, 31-unit boutique luxury condo building. This project is currently under BRA review. The developers are asking for the BRA to lift current protective zoning that regulates the height of developments in the mid-town area bordering Boston Common and the Public Garden.
“The BRA will be making a crucial decision about the proposed residential development at 171-172 Tremont Street,” the Friends of the Public Garden said in a statement recently. “As it is currently proposed, the project will exceed current protective zoning and set a harmful precedent by opening the door for more development exceeding the height limit in the mid-town area bordering Boston Common and the Public Garden.”
Since the 1970s, the Friends of the Public Garden has continuously advocated for protecting the Common from excessive shadow and wind resulting from development projects that would have a damaging impact on this vital and heavily used historic urban park.
“We advocate for compliance with both the 1990 Shadow Law and Boston’s zoning code’s provisions protecting the Common as well as the Public Garden,” the group said.
The group supplied residents with a form letter they could simply copy and sign and send to Golden.
The sample letter read:
“I am asking that the BRA comply with the existing laws, the 1990 Shadow Law and Boston’s zoning code’s provision protecting Boston Common and the Public Garden that limits the height of buildings in the Midtown Cultural Zone to 155′ and not approve the 171 Tremont St. project as presently proposed. Boston Common is the most heavily used greenspace in the entire city. It has served the city at-large for 382 years as a gathering place for celebrations, special events and demonstrations, but also as the neighborhood park for over 35,000 residents. I urge the BRA not to approve the additional new shadow on Boston Common the 171-172 Tremont project will incur. A harmful precedent will be set for more buildings to exceed the height limit. Shadows negatively impact the health of the park’s trees and grass, and also significantly affect my, and other people’s enjoyment of the park.Please let me know that you will not approve the project until it complies with existing laws protecting Boston Common.”