July 11, 2018 (BOSTON) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts today for diminishing the public’s right to the use of Boston’s waterfront. The lawsuit challenges the approval of the city’s Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) and the municipal harbor planning process, claiming that the Commonwealth ignored laws and processes put in place to ensure public rights on the waterfront.
“This plan unlawfully puts the interests of developers ahead of the public’s rights on the waterfront,” said CLF President Bradley Campbell. “Approval of this plan not only violates decades-old laws governing the waterfront, but also sets a dangerous precedent by signaling to developers that they can buy their way out of rules that have balanced public and private development interests for years. The state must stop disregarding the public’s rights when it comes to waterfront development.”
In his April 30th decision, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton acknowledged that the City of Boston failed to take the considerations of stakeholders and the public into account during the Downtown MHP process, which should have triggered a denial of the plan. The plan also arbitrarily abandons principles that have been in place since 1990, particularly standards that ensure waterfront buildings step down in height as they approach the water’s edge, and that developers provide ample waterfront space and facilities for public use and enjoyment adjacent to new developments.
CLF experts are available for further comment.