Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Boston City Council Looks At COVID-19, Zoning, Development Along Parks & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. Here are some highlights from February 26 and March 3, 2020:

COVID-19 Epidemic: We voted to adopt Councilor Flynn’s resolution supporting our Chinese and Asian Communities during the COVID-19 Epidemic, acknowledging misinformation and racism that has been impacting local small businesses and the community.

100% Renewable Energy Act: We voted to adopt the resolution that Councilor O’Malley and I filed in Support of the 100% Renewable Energy Act at the State House. Boston is already feeling the impacts of the climate crisis, with rising sea levels, intense storms, and heat waves. The 100% Renewable Energy Act (H.2836), filed by Representative Sean Garballey and Representative Marjorie Decker would power Massachusetts with 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and 100% renewable energy for other sectors, including heating and transportation, by 2045. 


COVID-19 Preparedness: Councilors O'Malley, Flynn & I called for a hearing to discuss the City of Boston's preparedness to handle the growing epidemic of coronavirus strain COVID-19. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The Boston City Council has taken steps to provide accurate information about COVID-19 to residents in multiple languages, as well as emphasizing the need to temper misinformation that encourages stereotypes and discrimination toward Asian American residents, small businesses, and communities. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Health for a hearing.

Zoning Variances: Councilors Breadon & Edwards called for a hearing on Zoning Variances. The Boston Zoning Code creates the rules for development in a neighborhood, but the Zoning Board of Appeals can grant a variance from parts of that code to allow for projects that do not match the limits and rules. In 2019, the ZBA granted 900 variances.The Councilors hope for a hearing to discuss the process and standards of permitting variances. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation.
Development along Parkways and Park Land: Councilor Breadon called for a hearing to discuss potential restrictions on development abutting park land and parkways. She emphasized that green spaces need to be protected as development continues in Boston. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development & Transportation.

UPCOMING HEARINGS (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch online.

Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, March 11th at Noon

For complete notes of Boston City Council meetings, visit or sign up to receive these notes automatically.     

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