Less Restaurants, More Childcare Could Come to Waterfront

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is undergoing a visioning and planning process for future development of Boston's downtown waterfront. A change to Massachusetts Chapter 91 could make it easier to include daycare facilities in waterfront developments.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is looking to change a state law designed to protect public access to waterfront buildings to allow the installation of childcare facilities on the ground floor of new waterfront developments.

Massachusetts’s Chapter 91 encourages the leasing of ground-level buildings located within 250 feet of the waterfront to restaurants, shops and other businesses that would be open to the public, according to a Boston Business Journal article. That requirement makes it difficult for developers to get state approval for projects that feature daycare services on the ground level, which could serve employees in that building.

The BRA’s director for waterfront planning, Richard McGuinness, reportedly testified on the matter before the state legislature earlier this month.

But others say daycare uses are already allowed in ground-level waterfront sites, after a complete review by the Department of Environmental Protection, and that changing the state law could encourage future developers to push for additional uses that would further limit public access, the BBJ reported.

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