State Issues Draft Waterfront Development Regulations

The view from the Boston Harborwalk near the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Jerry Monkman

May 14, 2021 (BOSTON, MA) – As a result of a lawsuit won by Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Massachusetts officials have released new draft regulations concerning waterfront development. The rules propose to retroactively codify the state’s seventeen municipal harbor plans in an effort to correct legal deficiencies in the program uncovered by CLF’s lawsuit.

“These regulations impact everyone in Massachusetts,” said Peter Shelley, Senior Counsel at CLF.  “The State can’t just rubber-stamp its way out of this problem and ignore the tidelands development principles it broke. The public needs to be involved in every step of this process and officials must offer more than just two public meetings. Access to the waterfront is enshrined in Massachusetts law and it must stay that way.”

CLF’s recent lawsuit challenged Boston’s Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan after state officials ignored decades-old rules governing public waterfront access in approving Boston’s plan. A judge ruled in favor of CLF in April.

CLF experts are available for further comment.