Letter to the Editor

Opposed to Winthrop Square project height as proposed

Dear Editor:

We are writing to express our opposition to the Winthrop Square project, as currently proposed, as well as any amendment to the State Shadow Laws to facilitate such a project.

We are both parents of two children – two now grown, but born and raised here; and two born in Boston and enrolled in school here, one in a neighborhood independent school and one at the Boston Latin School. We are taxpayers, voters – yes, even in the primaries. We know our city councilors and state senators and representatives. Together we represent decades of service on boards such as the Learning Project Elementary School, the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, The Garden Club of the Back Bay, The Friends of the Public Garden, The Friends of Copley Square. Our volunteering and advocacy for greenspace is well known.  However, today we are writing as private citizens.

The redevelopment of any underused parcel in downtown Boston is admirable and should be pursued. The apparent consideration by the BPDA and the Mayor of projects that are in violation of state laws is not in any way acceptable. Taking a cue from variance requests, financial arguments are never appropriate when trying to circumvent a law, zoning or otherwise.  If a project cannot be profitable without violating laws, then the project should be either scaled back or scrapped.  We would never condone theft, since stealing breaks a law, even if the theft is more profitable than plain hard work.  The precedent the allowance of such a blatant transgression of the shadow laws would set is frightening.

We understand there is, in fact, no identified major office tenant for the building. The specious financial case appears hinged on the high margin luxury units, which in turn, are dependent on their high elevations to return maximum selling prices. The final payments to the city rely on the sale of these residential units, possibly to investor purchasers who do not live and work in Boston, contributing little to the fabric of life here, other than real estate taxes.  Should permitting for this monstrously high tower be denied, Millennium can build something or somewhere else (but probably not in San Francisco, where insufficient studies are also to blame for the catastrophic results of their leaning tower). The parks and the parks users will lose forever if this project goes forward. The shadows can never be mitigated. Wind, as well, is damaging to our parks and to our quality of life.  We have not yet heard of any wind studies conducted.

Francine Crawford, Esq., Boston

Catherine Bordon, Boston

 

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