Connolly Wants Developers to Get Fast Track For Schools

John Connolly, candidate for Boston mayor, with supporters before the 20th annual Corrib Classic 5K Road Race on June 2, 2013.


Boston At-Large City Councilor and mayoral John Connolly proposed allowing a fast track permitting process for large developers, if they agree to build a school or fund any of the $ 1.8 billion in construction projects identified as needed for Boston Public Schools.

“We look at large school development projects and offer an option to developers to give them a fast-track permitting process. Keep it to six months, and still do the full-robust process, but get it done in six months – in exchange for building a new school or the adoption of a major school project,” said Connolly during the Boston City Council’s Wednesday meeting. He added that projects would still get rejected, and those developers would not have to build a school or adopt a project.

Through recent budget hearings, Connolly said that Boston Public School (BPS) long-term facilities plan “is in development”, and that $ 1.8 billion in new construction needs have been identified, as well as $ 640 million in needed renovations and repairs, and $ 500 million in deferred maintenance costs.

Connolly said that New York City has built schools on the site of developments through the NYC Department of Education Educational Construction Fund. He added that wasn’t supporting that idea, but that it was an option.

He added he’s talked to some developers who loved the idea of being able to go through a six-month process compared to a three- to five-year process, whether they get the project greenlit or not.

“…and red lights will still be given. And if given a ‘yes’ – they get a new school or a major renovation. That’s the way we should be doing partnerships with schools,” said Connolly.

The matter was referred to the Committee on Education for a future hearing. The Boston Redevelopment Authority, Department of Neighborhood Development, BPS families and staff, as well as developers, will be invited to speak at the hearing, said Connolly.

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